Minnesota

Driver and Vehicle Services Division
Department of Public Safety
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 190
St. Paul, MN 55101-5155
(651) 201-7000 | www.dps.state.mn.us/dvs

Minnesota State Patrol
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 130
St. Paul, MN 55101-5130
(651) 201-7100 | www.dps.state.mn.us/patrol

Minnesota Department of Transportation
Transportation Building
395 John Ireland Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55155
(800) 657-3774 | www.dot.state.mn.us

Title Application

The Department issues the certificate of title upon registration of the vehicle.

The application for certificate of title must be made on a form provided by the Department.

The application must contain the name, date of birth, and address of all owners, a description of the vehicle including the type of make, vehicle model, vehicle year, vehicle identification number, vehicle body type, the date of purchase of the vehicle, the names and addresses of any secured parties, the mileage on the vehicle, any sustained vehicle damage, and any other information that the Department may request.

If the application refers to a vehicle purchased from a dealer it must contain the name and address of any secured party holding a security interest at the time of sale.

If the application refers to a new vehicle it must be accompanied by a manufacturer’s certificate of origin.

If the vehicle was previously registered out of state, the application must be accompanied by any certificate of title issued by the other state, any other information the Department reasonably requires to establish ownership, or certification by a person from the Department that the identifying number of the vehicle was inspected and found to conform to the description given in the application.


Title Transfer of Ownership

An effective transfer of title requires the owner to do the following: (1) execute an assignment and warranty of title to the transferee; (2) state the actual selling price of the vehicle in the space provided on the certificate; (3) complete, detach, and return to the Department the postcard on the certificate entitled notice of sale or transmit this information to the Department electronically in a form acceptable to the commissioner; (4) the transferor shall cause the certificate and assignment to be delivered to the transferee immediately.

To receive a new certificate, the transferee must fill out and execute the application for a new certificate of title and mail it to the Department within 10 days of the transfer.

If a security interest is reserved or created at the time of transfer, a notification of the security interest must be delivered or mailed to the person who becomes the secured party.


Titles for Mobile Homes

Minnesota requires all mobile/manufactured homes to be licensed as a motor vehicle in lieu of paying a property tax. A manufactured home/mobile home title is transferred the same as a motor vehicle except that no excise tax is collected. Title fees and secured party fees are the same as for other transfers.

Registration Application

Application for an original or renewal registration and listing for taxation is made to the Department on a form provided by the Department.

The application requests the following information from the vehicle’s owner(s): (1) full name; (2) birthday; (3) the address of the primary residence of each owner; (4) the name and address of the person that sold the vehicle; (5) the make and year of the motor vehicle; (6) the manufacturer’s identification number; (7) body type; (8) the weight of the vehicle in pounds; (9) for trailer only, its rated load carrying capacity; and (10) any such other information that the Department may require.

Registration will be refused if the original identification or serial number has been destroyed, removed, altered, covered, or defaced unless the owner can prove in a manner sufficient to the Department that he or she is the owner.

There is a late registration grace period of 20 days for passenger vehicles.

The motor vehicle of any military person who is on active duty is exempt during the active duty time period, and for 30 days after active duty ends.


Registration for Non-Residents

A non-resident buyer of a motor vehicle in Minnesota can obtain a 31-day temporary vehicle permit. The vehicle owner does not have to pay any registration taxes.

Non-residents can register vehicles by submitting the vehicle title or registration card from the previous state in which the car was registered along with the title and registration application.

A valid odometer reading must be submitted with the application if the vehicle is 9 years old or newer.

Military personnel on active duty in Minnesota may maintain out-of-state vehicle registration if (1) the vehicle is properly registered in another state in the name of the owner and displays the license number plates or other insignia required by laws of the other state; (2) the owner is resident of the state in which the vehicle is registered; and (3) the vehicle is used only for personal transportation or for transportation of the owner or authorized agent’s personal property.


Registration Type

The following registration types are typical of passenger vehicles. Park trailer and mobile homes are not plated.

  • Pass – All passenger automobiles and vans, station wagons, ambulances, and hearses. Also all pickup trucks with a manufacturer’s rated capacity of 3/4 ton or less.
  • M – All motorcycles, motorbikes, mini-bikes, and motor-scooters.
  • Mp – All motorized bicycles, which do not exceed 50 cubic centimeters or 2 brake horsepower.
  • Rv – Self-propelled vehicle is a vehicle with permanently installed life support systems designed to be used for temporary living quarters while engaged in recreational or vacation activities which uses the public streets or highways incidental to such activities and is not used as the residence of the owner or occupant.
  • Rl – Towed vehicle used for temporary living quarters while engaged in recreational or vacation activities which uses the public streets or highways incidental to such activities and not used as the residence of the owner or occupant. Limited to trailers up to 102” in width and 45’ in length.
  • Ct – Trailer with a gross weight of more than 3,000 pounds (except those registered in the b (utility), recreational, farm, or semi trailer classes) or an equipment dolly used to transport the owner’s construction machinery, equipment, implements and other objects used on a construction project, but not to be incorporated in or to become a part of a completed project.
  • B – Trailer with a maximum gross weight of 3,000 pounds (except those registered in the recreational or farm classes). Permanent registration.

Emissions Inspection

No statewide emissions inspection requirement.


Safety Inspection

No statewide periodic vehicle safety inspection requirement.  Every municipality has the authority to set up, maintain, and determine rules for operating their own vehicle inspection stations.


Title and Registration Fees

AUTOMOBILE

Title Fee: $6.25

Registration Fee: $6.00 plate fee + registration tax system for passenger class vehicles. *

MOTORCYCLE

Title Fee: $6.25

Registration Fee: $4.50 plate fee + $10 tax

DUPLICATES

Plate Fee: $10.00

Registration Fee: $10.00

Driver’s License Fee: $14.75

Title Fee: $7.25

Special Plates: $10.00 – $14.00

* Tax is determined in part upon the base value of the vehicle as provided by the manufacturer when the vehicle was new, and the age of the vehicle.

Plate Disbursement

When the applicant pays the registration tax, the Department will issue reflectorized license plates bearing the state name and vehicle number assigned. The color scheme for license plates is blue on white.

Single plates for rear display are issued to trailers, motorcycle/mopeds, dealers in transit, collector classes, and vehicles that are of model year 1972 or earlier, not registered in Collector class, and used for general transportation purposes.

Single plates for display on the front of the vehicle are issued to tractors and truck-tractors, tractor-trailer combinations, and farm class vehicles.

If the vehicle is a trailer with 3,000 pounds or less GVW with lifetime registration, the numbered plate or sticker must be adhered to the side of the trailer frame tongue near the hitch.

All other classes are required to display registration and will be issued 2 license plates to be displayed on the front and rear of the vehicle.

License plates are validated with stickers.

Special license plates for the disabled are available upon application with doctor’s certificate.

Transfer of Plates

When a motor vehicle is transferred to another person, the plates stay with the vehicle unless they are personalized (e.g. personalized, critical habitat, veterans, etc.), in which case they stay with the owner.

The license plate must be surrendered to the Department within 10 days of the transfer.

When the Department has suspended a license plate because the transferee has failed to file the title certificate within 30 days, the transferee must pay a $10 fee before the registration is reinstated.

Driver’s License Examination

Every applicant for a driver’s license must include a test of the applicant’s eyesight (20/40 visual acuity required), ability to read and understand highway signs, traffic laws, knowledge of the effects of drugs and alcohol while driving, knowledge of a driver’s ability to safely and legally operate a motor vehicle, and an actual demonstration of the driver’s ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable care while driving the vehicle. The examination can also include anything else that the Department deems necessary.

The examination will be given either in the county where the applicant resides or at a place that is reasonably convenient to the applicant.

If the applicant has a valid driver’s license from a jurisdiction (including the U.S. Armed Forces) that gives a comparable driving examination, the Department can waive the requirement that the applicant demonstrate the ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable control in the operation of a motor vehicle.

A driver’s license can be renewed when the applicant has passed an eye examination.

The Department may require any examination to determine the incompetence, physical or mental disability or disease of any licensed driver, or any conditions which would affect the driver from exercising reasonable and ordinary control over the motor vehicle. If, as a result of the examination, the Department believes that the driver is an unsafe person to operate a motor vehicle, the Department may cancel the driver’s license.

No examination shall be required only for the reason that any licensed driver has attained a certain age.


Graduated Driver’s Licensing

Minnesota has a system of graduated licensing for novice drivers.

At age 15, an individual is eligible for an instruction/learner’s permit. A permit can be issued if that person meets the following requirements: (1) has completed a driver’s education course in another state, has previously been issued a valid license from another state, or is enrolled in a certified driver education program that includes classroom and behind the wheel training; and (2) has completed the classroom phase of instruction in the driver education program and has passed an eye examination, and has passed a knowledge test.

  • The permit enables a person to operate a motor vehicle, but the applicant must be accompanied by a certified driver education instructor, the permit holder’s parent or guardian, or another licensed driver 21 years of age or older. The adult licensed driver must be sitting in the passenger seat next to the permit holder.
  • Instruction permit holders must accumulate at least 40 hours (15 at night)  of parental/guardian certified driving.  Instruction permit holders must provide an approved supervised driving log, plus 10 additional driving hours unless the primary driving supervisor has a certification of supplemental parental curriculum.

At age 16, after holding the instruction/learner’s permit for 6 months, drivers are eligible for a provisional license.

  • Provisional license holders may not drive between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m.
  • Provisional license holders are allowed no more than 1 passenger under age 20 for first 6 months of licensure, and no more than 3 passengers under age 20 for the next 6 months. Family members are exempt.

A person under 18 years of age is eligible for a driver’s license under 1 of the following conditions: (1) the applicant has a valid license from another state; or (2) the applicant has held a provisional license for 12 consecutive months before the license application and has incurred no conviction for a crash-related moving violation, and not more than 1 conviction for a moving violation that is not crash-related; and the application is approved by a parent or guardian.

Driver education is required for all license applicants under age 18.


Driver’s License Issuance/Application

Every application for an instruction permit, for a provisional license, or for a driver’s license must be made on a form prescribed by the Department, and every application must be accompanied by the appropriate fee.

First-time Minnesota applicants must present a primary and a secondary form of identification to verify both identity and residency status.

Visitors who are in the U.S. as temporary residents will have the words “Status Check” and a visa expiration date on their state-issued cards. Proof of extended authorization to remain in the country will be required when the authorization date indicated on a card expires. Immigrants granted permanent or indefinite residency will not have a status check designation appear on their state-issued cards.

Social Security Numbers are not displayed on licenses.

License includes a color photograph. All applicants must have a full-face photograph taken, with the face unobscured, as part of the identification process. This does not require the complete removal of headwear. However, individuals are required to pull headwear back far enough so as not to obscure the face.

Out-of-state driver’s licenses are viewed as secondary identification documents.

An applicant who is over 18 years of age who received an instruction permit, and has not been previously licensed to drive in Minnesota or any other jurisdiction, must possess the instruction permit for at least 3 months.

Any valid driver’s license issued to a person on active duty with the U.S. Armed Forces, or the person’s spouse, is effective without requirement for renewal until 90 days after the date of the person’s discharge from the service.


Driver’s License Renewal

The license expiration date for drivers under the age of 21 is the 21st birthday of the licensee.

The license expiration date for drivers over the age of 21 is the birthday of the driver in the 4th year following the date of issuance of the license.


Types of Driver’s Licenses

There are 4 classes of Driver’s licenses: D, C, B, and A.

A Class D license holder can drive the following vehicles: (1) all farm trucks operated by the owner, an immediate family member of the owner, or an employee of the owner within 150 miles of the farm; (2) an authorized emergency vehicle; (3) recreational equipment that is operated for personal use; (4) all single vehicles except vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of more than 26,000 lbs., vehicles designed to carry more than 15 passengers including the driver, and vehicles that carry hazardous materials. The holder of a Class D license may also tow vehicles if: the towed vehicle(s) has a GVW of 10,000 lbs. or less; or (2) the combination of vehicles has a GVW of 26,000 lbs. or less.

A Class C license holder can drive the following vehicles: (1) all Class D vehicles; (2) Class D vehicles with a hazardous material endorsement; and (3) with a passenger endorsement, operating buses; and with a passenger endorsement and school bus endorsement, operating school buses.

A Class B license holder can drive the following vehicles: (1) all Class D and C vehicles; (2) all other single-unit vehicles including, with any passenger endorsement, buses; and (3) can tow vehicles with a GVW of 10,000 lbs. or less.

A Class A license holder can drive any vehicle or combination of vehicles.

Distracted Driving

Text messaging while driving is prohibited. Permit holders and provisional license holders are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving.  School bus drivers may not use cell phones while driving.


Emergency Radio/Cellular

Dial 911 for emergency service.


Headsets

Wearing headphones or earphones in both ears simultaneously for the purposes of receiving or listening to broadcasts or reproductions from radios, tape decks, or other sound-producing or transmitting devices, is not permitted while driving. Exempts the use of hearing aid devices.


Impaired Driving

All 50 states and the District of Columbia prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating beverages, with the illegal per se limit set at 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (.08 BAC). All 50 states and the District of Columbia set the legal drinking age at 21.

Every state’s chemical test law has ‘‘an implied consent’’ provision providing that any person operating a motor vehicle on a public highway, who is suspected of driving while intoxicated, consents to a chemical test to determine if he or she is inebriated. Failure to submit or pass such a test may cause the driver’s license to be suspended or revoked regardless of any court action finding the person innocent of the charge.

The most comprehensive resource on U.S. impaired driving laws is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Digest of Impaired Driving and Selected Beverage Control Laws.  NHTSA’s Digest is updated annually.

Minnesota requires the use of ignition interlocks for repeat and high BAC (.16 BAC or greater) impaired driving offenders only. Other first offenders have the option of using them.


Move Over Law

State law requires drivers traveling in the same direction to reduce speed and, if safe to do so, vacate the lane closest to stationary emergency vehicles using flashing lights, including towing and recovery vehicles and road maintenance vehicles.


Seat Belts

Seat belts are required for the driver and passengers age 8 or older.

Violations of the seat belt laws are standard offenses.

Riding in the cargo area of a pickup truck is permitted.


Child Passenger Safety

Children under age 8 and under 4 feet 9 inches are required to be in a child restraint.

Violations of the child restraint laws are standard offenses.


Railroad Crossing

When a stop sign has been erected at a railroad crossing, the driver of a vehicle approaching a railroad crossing shall stop or yield between 10 and 50 feet from the nearest track of the crossing and can only proceed upon exercising due care and when the roadway is clear of traffic so that the vehicle can proceed without stopping until the rear of the vehicle is at least 10 feet past the farthest railroad track.

When any person driving a vehicle approaches a railroad grade crossing, the driver must stop at least 10 feet away from the nearest railroad track if a clearly visible electric or mechanical signal device warns of the immediate approach of the railroad train, or an approaching train is visible and is in a hazardous proximity.


School Buses

When a school bus is stopped on any roadway and is displaying an extended stop signal arm and flashing red lights, the driver of a vehicle approaching the bus must stop the vehicle at least 20 feet away from the bus. The driver of the vehicle must not move until the school bus stop signal arm is retracted and the red lights are no longer flashing. School bus drivers may not use cell phones while driving.

Bumper Height

The maximum bumper height (measured from the bottom of the bumper to the ground) for any passenger automobile or station wagon is 20 inches.

The maximum bumper height of any 4-wheel drive multipurpose vehicle, van, or pickup truck is 25 inches.


Headlight Use

Headlights must be on from sunset to sunrise, in rain, slow, sleet, or hail, or when conditions of insufficient light/adverse weather limit visibility to 500 feet.


Hazard Light Use

Hazard lights are not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard.


Tire Chains

Tire chain usage is permitted for hazardous weather or other related incidents only, but may not damage the highway surface.


Studded Tires

Studded tires are not permitted, except for nonresidents, who may use them for 30 days. Full-time non-resident students and nonresidents employed within Minnesota are not permitted use of studded tires regardless of vehicle registry.

Rural mail carriers may use studded tires under certain conditions between November 1 and April 15.


Glass/Window Tinting

It is illegal to drive or operate a vehicle when any window on the vehicle is composed of, covered by, or treated with any material which has the following effects: (1) making the windshield more reflective or in any way reducing light transmittance through the windshield; (2) making the windshield have a highly reflective or mirrored appearance; (3) making any side or rear window substantially reduce the driver’s clear view through the window by having a light transmission of less than 50% in the visible light range or a luminous reflectance of more than 20%. This does not apply to the following: (1) glazing material which has not been modified since the original installation, or the original replacement windows and windshields that were replaced in conformance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 205; (2) windows tinted for medical reasons provided that the driver or passenger of the vehicle is in possession of a prescription or a physician’s statement of medical need; and (3) the rear windows of a pickup truck, the rear windows or the side windows on either side behind the driver’s seat of a van, the rear and side windows of any vehicle used to transport human remains by a funeral establishment holding a license, and the side and rear windows of a limousine.


Telematics

It is unlawful to drive a motor vehicle equipped with a television, or television-type equipment if the television or television equipment is located where the screen is visible to the driver.

It is legal to use a screen visible to the driver if the screen is part of a vehicle navigational system or vehicle control system.

It is legal to have a closed circuit video system used only to help the driver’s rear or side visibility.


Radar Detectors

Radar detectors are permitted for passenger vehicles but prohibited for use by commercial vehicles.


Windshield Stickers

The only stickers that can be placed on a windshield are transparent stickers or stickers required to be placed on the windshield by law, or authorized by the Director of Emergency Management or the Commissioner of Public Safety.


Other Equipment Rules

N/A.

Motorcycle Equipment

An operator of a motorcycle must ride on a permanent and regular seat.

Any motorcycle with a seat designed or suited for use by a passenger must be equipped with foot rests for the passenger, reachable by both feet.

A motorcycle operator must not carry more passengers than there are designated seats for those passengers.

Every motorcycle must be equipped with at least 1 properly adjusted rear view mirror that is adjusted to reflect to the operator a view of the roadway for a distance of at least 200 feet.

Anyone under the age of 18 riding a motorcycle and all operators of motorcycles with instructional permits must wear protective headgear.

All motorcycle operators must wear protective eye wear.

Every motorcycle must be equipped with at least 1 hand or foot brake.

Every motorcycle must be equipped with at least 1 and not more than 4 properly mounted headlamps.


Motorcycle Licenses

A person operating a motorcycle upon a roadway must be granted the rights and is subject to the duties applicable to a motor vehicle as provided by law.

No person can operate a motorcycle or motor scooter on any street or highway without having a valid standard driver’s license with a 2-wheeled endorsement.

A 2-wheeled endorsement will be issued if the applicant has a valid 2-wheeled vehicle instruction permit and has passed a written examination and road test administered by the Department.

If the applicant is under age 18, he or she must also successfully complete an approved 2-wheeled vehicle driver safety course.

The Department can issue a 2-wheeled vehicle instruction permit to any person over 16 years of age who is in possession of a valid driver’s license, is enrolled in an approved 2-wheeled vehicle driver’s safety course (if under age 18), has passed a written examination for the permit, and has paid all necessary fees.

A person who has an instruction permit cannot carry any passengers while operating the motorcycle, cannot drive the motorcycle at night, and cannot drive the motorcycle on any interstate highway.


Motorcycle Noise Limits

It is unlawful to operate a motorcycle in violation of the motor vehicle noise rules adopted by the Pollution Control Agency.


Mopeds & Other

Registration and license plates are required for mopeds.

Operators of mopeds must have either a valid driver’s license or a motorized bicycle permit. To obtain a motorized bicycle permit, applicants must complete an approved course, be at least 15 years old by the time the course is completed, and pass a written and a riding test (permit is void after obtaining drivers license).

Moped riders must wear eye protection at all times. All operators and riders under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet. The helmet can be a certified bicycle helmet or motorcycle helmet.

Mopeds may only carry related passengers and only when they are equipped with a passenger seat and foot pegs.

To operate a moped when it is dark outside, it must be equipped with a headlight that meets the standard set for motorcycles.

Mopeds may not be operated on any interstate highways.

Motorized foot scooters but not mopeds may be operated on bicycle paths, lanes, trails, and bikeways unless prohibited under local jurisdiction.

Trailer Dimensions

Total length: 75 feet (70 feet if an RV combination); trailer and motor home length: 45 feet (excluding bumpers up to 6 inches and aerodynamic devices); width: 8 feet 6 inches (excluding rear view mirrors and load securement devices up to 3 inches, and for motor homes, excluding appurtenance up to the width of rear view mirrors); height: 13 feet 6 inches.


Trailer Brakes

A trailer or a semitrailer with a gross weight of 3,000 lbs. or more, or a gross weight that exceeds the empty weight of the towing vehicle, must be equipped with brakes that can adequately control the movement of and stop and hold the trailer or semitrailer.

A trailer or semitrailer with a gross weight of 6,000 lbs. or more, must be equipped with brakes that are constructed so that they can hold the trailer or semitrailer if it becomes detached from the towing vehicle.


Trailer Hitch/Signals

The drawbar or other connection between the 2 vehicles must not be more than 15 feet.


Trailer Lighting

Every trailer or semitrailer manufactured after January 1, 1960 must be equipped with at least 2 properly mounted rear headlamps, and at least 2 reflectors. The rear headlamps must emit a red light for a distance of 500 feet. The reflectors must be mounted between 20 and 60 inches from the ground and must be visible from all distances within 50 to 300 feet from the vehicle.

Trailers or semitrailer manufactured before January 1, 1960 must be equipped with at least 1 properly mounted rear headlamp.


Trailer Mirrors

Every motor vehicle, which is connected with another vehicle so that it obstructs the driver’s rear view, must be equipped with a rearview mirror that enables the driver to see for a distance of at least 200 feet to the rear of the last vehicle being towed.


Trailer Speed Limits

Same as for passenger vehicles.


Trailer Towing

N/A.


Trailer Other Provisions

N/A.

Accident Reporting

Crashes are required to be reported in cases of death, injury, or when property damage exceeds $1000.00.

The deadline to file a report is 10 days.


Bail Bonds

State has general recognition of AAA club arrest bond certificate up to $500 with specified exceptions.


Liability Laws

State has compulsory/mandatory liability and no-fault insurance proof. State has non-resident service of process law; does not have guest suit law.

Every driver and every owner of a motor vehicle must carry evidence of financial responsibility in his or her motor vehicle at all times and be ready to present such evidence at the demand of a police officer.

Minimum liability insurance coverage must be at least $30,000 for bodily injury or death of 1 person as a result of any 1 accident, $60,000 as a result of injury to 2 or more persons in any 1 accident, and $10,000 if the accident has resulted in injury to or destruction of property, or $70,000 single incident.


Weigh Stations

All vehicles with a GVW rating in excess of 10,000 lbs. must stop.


Bicycles

Bicycle helmets are not required.

Drivers passing a bicycle must pass with a space of 3 feet between the motor vehicle and the bicycle.


Other

Minnesota is party to the Non-Resident Violator Compact.