In North Dakota, all vehicle and license plate registrations are handled by the state's Department of Transportation via its Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). If you're moving in from another state and have a vehicle of your own, you'll need to transfer your out-of-state title and register your vehicle with the state DOT. If you're only working in North Dakota, you'll need to apply for a temporary registration for 6 or 12 months. You'll also need an active car insurance policy from a North Dakota-licensed insurance company.
If you're buying from a North Dakota dealership, they'll handle the paperwork for you. If you're buying from someone else, you'll need to submit the documents to the MVD.
An interesting note on North Dakota vehicle registration is that annual fees are based on when the vehicle is first registered and its weight (and any additional criteria ascribed by the DOT). Moreover, a 5% excise tax is also charged on "all vehicles purchased either in or outside the state of North Dakota for use in this state."
Vehicle registration is also exempted for military personnel and out-of-state students pursuing their studies in North Dakota. They can continue using their original out-of-state license plates.
Any inquiries on vehicle and title registrations can be directed to the DOT through their official line at 701-328-2725 or via email.
Where Is My North Dakota License Plate Number?
North Dakota license plates must be placed on the front and rear of your vehicle as per the North Dakota Century Code. If you need to lookup your vehicle's license plates but aren't currently with your vehicle, you can find it on your registration card or other legal documentation.
Getting a License Plate in North Dakota
You'll first need to register and title your vehicle before you can get license plates. For non-dealership purchases, all new applications need to be done at the nearest MVD center by appointment. The required items you may need to provide include:
- A completed Application for Certificate of Title & Registration of a Vehicle (Form SFN 2872)
- Identification card or driver's license
- Signed vehicle title (if applicable)
- Lienholder details (if applicable)
- Payment of all fees, including registration fees and the 5% excise tax
For non-residents moving in to North Dakota, you'll also need to furnish your out-of-state vehicle registration and title (if applicable) in person at an MVD site. Renewals and certain services are available online at the DOT's website.
Applying for temporary registration will be needed while you wait for your permanent plates to arrive. 30-day temporary registrations cost $60, while 60-day ones are $120.
Further information can be found in the DOT's freely accessible Motor Vehicle Registration Information manual.
License Plates Available in North Dakota
The standard license plate is the Sunrise plate, chosen in 2015 to replace the older design. License plates follow the format of six alphanumeric characters in the following arrangement: 123 ABC.
Other plates include:
- Personalized plates: These plates are available for almost any type of vehicle (except Antique and Collector vehicles). Besides the standard fees, there is an additional $25 annual fee, with the exception of certain plate types (e.g., POW plates).
- Antique plates: These are issued to certain vehicles that are 40 years or older. These are available as personalized plates, but have a one-time fee of $100.
- Collector plates: These are issued to certain vehicles that are 25 years or older and only for the purposes of special events and are not for daily driving.
- Veteran plates: These plates are issued to former members of the military, including disabled persons. They may also incorporate the distinctive insignia of whichever military arm they served with, or if they were recipients of a Purple Heart.
- Special interest plates: These cater to people affiliated with various causes, organizations or institutions (e.g., the Future Farmers of America, North Dakota State University, patriotic plates, etc.).
What's in a License Plate Lookup Report?
When you're planning to buy a used car, a license plate lookup report is going to be your lifesaver. Details you'll find in it include:
Market value: The estimated or actual market value of the car. Having this on hand enables you to determine if a seller may be selling that vehicle for more than its actual market value.
Previous owners: Find out the number of previous owners the vehicle has had and how long they've had it in their possession. It doesn't disclose any personal or sensitive information. It does, however, give you a sense of how they used the car before selling it to the subsequent owner(s).
Accident records: Find out if the car was involved in any road accidents. Some cars that were in an accident may not have had extensive maintenance performed to keep it roadworthy. You should always be cautious if you see such records; get an independent check done to look for potential problems.
Junk/salvage title check: This tells you if the car had previously sustained significant damage, and was declared a ‘total loss’ by an insurance company. This record indicates that the total costs to maintain or restore the car are far too expensive owing to the severity of damage it's sustained.
Lien records: Provides information on whether the car has been used in a lease, as collateral for a debt, as a rental car unit, etc. A car dealership (or previous owner) is legally obligated to repay any existing liens before selling the car. If they don't, you may end up becoming liable to repay the remaining amount.
Odometer records: Determine how far the vehicle has been driven. In many cases, fraudulent parties will alter odometer records to falsely claim the vehicle has been driven far less than it actually has. As odometer tampering is considered a federal offense, you should report the seller immediately to the relevant authorities.
Flood records: Note any damage to the car caused by floods. Floods can cause certain mechanical faults that can be missed without a thorough inspection. In some cases, you might not be informed beforehand by the seller, whether by accident or otherwise.
Why is the Report So Crucial?
While North Dakota in 2020 reported some of the least motor theft cases in the United States, motor theft (and fraud) still happens. You might not think it'll happen to you until it's far too late to stop it. As consumer education is always important to safeguard one's finances, the license plate lookup report is a simple, hassle-free way to protect yourself from potential fraudulent deals.
Dealerships usually issue a free report to potential buyers in hopes of attracting them to make a purchase. This is fine and dandy, but sometimes, unscrupulous parties intentionally alter details of these free reports to deceive buyers like yourself - you might be sold a defective vehicle with a host of maintenance issues that will end up costing you a huge sum over time. You don't want that to happen, don't you?
You can use VinFreeCheck's license plate lookup to access updated information on a vehicle easily. All data is sourced from reputable parties such as the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), to name a few. Just key in the license plate number into the field, and you'll get your report in just a few seconds' time. It's that easy!
So if you're handed a report by a seller, but something about it doesn't add up, get the license plate number and start looking up its information. A simple move like that could help you save tens of thousands of dollars from a scam.
Are Reverse License Plate Searches Legal?
Absolutely. Our services comply with the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), in which we don't disclose any personal information about a vehicle's prior owners. Our lookup system performs a reverse lookup that obtains the vehicle's VIN number and searches for its history reports. Nothing in our report is traceable to any particular individuals.
Additionally, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows any individual the right to access to information collected by the government. There's no reason for you not to give our auto license plate lookup tool a try. It's totally legal and FREE!
State Based Informational Guides
We have compiled a list of state specific guides for you. Feel free to check them out.