North Dakota

Title Application

Every owner of a vehicle in North Dakota for which no certificate of title has been issued shall apply to the DOT for a certificate of title to said vehicle.

All applications for certificate of title must be made to the DOT and contain: (1) a full description of the vehicle, including the name of the manufacturer, either the engine, serial, or identification number and any other distinguishing marks; (2) a statement as to whether the vehicle is new or used; (3) a statement of the applicant’s title and any liens upon the vehicle; (4) the name and address of the person to whom the certificate must be delivered; (5) names and addresses of any lienholders; (6) note whether the vehicle is a specialty-constructed, reconstructed, or foreign vehicle; (7) the buyer’s state-issued driver’s license number or non-driver identification card number, street address, city, and county or township of residence; (8) damage disclosure information; and (9) odometer disclosure information.

Title Transfer of Ownership

The seller of a vehicle must endorse an assignment and warranty of title and include the name of the purchaser and the selling price of the vehicle before delivering the certificate of title to the purchaser.

The purchaser of a vehicle must present the endorsed and assigned certificate to the DOT within 30 days of receipt and make application for a new certificate of title.

Titles for Mobile Homes

The Motor Vehicle Department issues certificates of title for mobile homes.

Any person who has purchased a mobile home and is applying for a title must present, with the application, a certified statement of the full consideration paid for the mobile home. The State Equalization Board uses the statement to generate a report used by the State Tax Commissioner to determine the proper assessment of mobile homes for tax purposes.

Registration Application

All motor vehicles must be registered annually with the DOT.

Applications for vehicle registration must be made to the DOT.

All registration applications must be signed by the owner and contain the owner’s county of residence; address; a brief description of the vehicle including name of the maker, engine, serial, or identification number; whether it is new or used; the last license number known and state in which it was issued; and, upon the registration of the vehicle, the date of sale by the manufacturer or dealer to the person first operating the vehicle.

If the vehicle is being registered from outside the state, the owner must show the certificate of title and registration card or other evidence that satisfactorily proves ownership.

If the vehicle is new, the certificate of origin from the manufacturer must be attached to the application for registration or certificate of title.

There is no period of grace for late registration.

Registration for Non-Residents

Passenger motor vehicles registered in another state or territory and displaying current license plates from that state or territory do not have to be registered in North Dakota, provided that the owner or operator is not a resident of North Dakota for any purpose and is not gainfully employed or stationed in North Dakota.

Registration Type

The registration of a motor vehicle whose registered gross weight does not exceed 10,000 lbs. expires on the last day of the month which is the anniversary of the month it was originally registered and may be renewed annually. This excludes pickups with an open box-type bed not exceeding 9 feet (2.74 meters) in length. The registration of a pickup whose registered gross weight does not exceed 20,000 lbs. expires on the last day of the month which is the anniversary of the month it was originally registered and may be renewed annually.

Vehicle registration may not transfer upon ownership of the vehicle.

Temporary registration may be provided to the purchaser of a vehicle valid for 30 days.

Emissions Inspection

No statewide emissions inspections required.

Safety Inspection

No statewide periodic vehicle safety inspection requirement. The DOT may conduct random brake inspections on any motor-driven vehicle and may disapprove operations of any vehicle that is not designed or constructed to ensure reasonable and reliable performance in actual use.

Title and Registration Fees


Title Fee: $5.00

Registration Fee: $49.00–$274.00*


Title Fee: $5.00

Registration Fee: $15.00–$25.00


Plate Fee: $5.00

Registration Fee: Not to exceed $5.00

Driver’s License Fee: $8.00 if lost, mutilated or destroyed; $3.00 for a name or address or erroneous information change

Title Fee: $5.00

Special Plates: $25.00-100.00

*Annual fee varies based on weight and 1st year of registration.

Plate Disbursement

Two reflectorized number plates are issued by the DOT for each registered motor vehicle, and 1 number plate for each registered motorcycle, trailer, or housetrailer.

License plates that are marked to indicate the mobility impaired are available without additional charge upon application and payment of the regular license fee.

The color scheme for license plates is black on blue and gold.

Personalized plates with not more than 7 numerals, letters, ampersands, or combination thereof are available upon application. Personalized motorcycle plates may not contain more than 6 characters.

An annual registration tab or sticker for the current registration year must be displayed on each plate.

License plates are issued upon payment of registration fees.

Mobility impaired placard or license plates are issued by the Motor Vehicle Division upon completion of Form SFN 2886.

Transfer of Plates

License plates must be retained by the owner and may be transferred to a replacement motor vehicle.

Driver's License Examination

Applicants for a driver’s license are required to take a written, road, and eye examination (20/40 visual acuity required). The written and road tests may be waived for an applicant who has successfully passed these tests in this or another state.

Graduated Driver's Licensing

North Dakota has a system of graduated licensing for novice drivers.

At age 14, individuals are eligible for an instruction/learner’s permit.

  • Permit holders under age 16 must accumulate 50 hours of supervised practice driving.

Individuals under age 16 must hold the learner’s permit for at least 12 months, and persons age 16 must hold the permit for a minimum of 6 months, before obtaining an intermediate license.

  • Individuals may only drive when accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 18 years of age and has had at least 3 years of driving experience and is occupying a seat beside the driver.
  • Individuals under age 16 may not drive between 9 p.m. (or sunset, whichever comes later) and 5 a.m., unless driving to or from home and a school, work or religious activity.
  • Individuals under age 16 may not carry more passengers than the vehicle manufacturer’s suggested passenger capacity.

At age 16, individuals are eligible for an unrestricted license.

Driver's License Issuance/Application

A person must be licensed to operate a motor vehicle in North Dakota.

Applications for a driver’s license must include the full name, date of birth, sex, social security number, residence, mailing address, and brief description of the applicant. Name and date of birth must be verified by a certified birth certificate or other satisfactory evidence.

The application of any minor for an instruction permit or driver’s license must be signed and verified before a person authorized to administer oaths or the director’s agent, and by the parent or guardian or responsible adult willing to assume obligation for the minor.

A driver’s license must contain a distinguishing number assigned to the licensee, a color photograph of the licensee, the full name, date of birth, residence address, a brief description of the licensee, and either a facsimile of the licensee’s signature or a space upon which the licensee must sign. The director may not issue a license number that is, contains, can be converted to, or is an encrypted version of the applicant’s social security number.

A licensee has 10 days to notify the director of a name or address change. A corrected license must be obtained in the event of a name change.

Driver’s License Renewal

A Class D driver’s license expires at midnight on the 6-year anniversary of the licensee’s birthday or the “duration of stay” date if an immigration document is presented for proof of identity. The licenses of drivers age 78 and older expire at midnight on the 4-year anniversary of the licensee’s birthday.

All applications for renewal of a driver’s license must be accompanied by a certificate from either the driver licensing or examining authorities or a physician or optometrist stating the corrected and uncorrected vision of the applicant.

A noncommercial applicant may apply by mail or electronically for renewal of a license during every other renewal cycle. The director may use vision information provided by the applicant to meet vision requirements for applicants under 65 years of age.

A North Dakota licensed driver who is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and stationed out of state may continue to use his or her non-commercial North Dakota driver license until 90 days after separation without renewing, provided the license is accompanied by military identification and has not been suspended, revoked, or cancelled. Upon return to state, leave or separation papers and the North Dakota license must be presented to obtain new license.  North Dakota military spouses may renew by mail.

Types of Driver's Licenses

A Class D license allows a person to operate any single vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,000 lbs. or less or any such vehicle towing a vehicle with a GVWR not in excess of 10,000 lbs. (note: must be at least 18 years of age or under farm exemption if combined weight exceeds 26,000 pounds). Trucks towing trailers over 10,000 pounds provided the combined weight does not exceed 26,000 lbs. Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR). A camper or a vehicle towing a travel trailer being used solely for personal purposes, emergency vehicle, or a vehicle driven by active duty member for military purposes may be driven with a Class D license.

A Class M license allows a person to operate a motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than 3 wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding motorized bicycles and tractors. A Class M vehicle may not be operated under a Class A, B, C, or D license.

A Class M endorsement, giving the holder the same privileges as a Class M license, may be issued to the holder of a Class A, B, C, or D license upon successful completion of an examination.

A person holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL) may drive all vehicles in the class for the license that is issued and all lesser classes of vehicles except motorcycles.

A Class A, B, or C license may not be issued to anyone under 18 years of age, except that a Class A, B, or C license specially restricted to use for custom harvest purposes may be issued to a person at least 16 years of age who satisfactorily completes the appropriate examinations.

A Class A CDL allows a person to operate any combination of vehicles with a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., provided the GVWR of the vehicles being towed is in excess of 10,000 lbs.

A Class B CDL allows a person to operate any single vehicle with a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., and any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 lbs.

A Class C CDL allows a person to operate any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs. or less or any such vehicle towing a vehicle with a GVWR not in excess of 10,000 lbs., including vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, and vehicles used to transport hazardous materials that require the vehicle to be placarded under federal law.

Commercial endorsements include: (1) H, authorizing the driver to drive a vehicle transporting hazardous materials; (2) T, authorizing the driving of double and triple trailers; (3) P, authorizing the driving of vehicles carrying passengers; (4) N, authorizing the driving of tank vehicles; (5) S, authorizing the driving of a school bus.

Distracted Driving

Texting while driving is prohibited.  All wireless device use is prohibited for drivers under age 18.


No prohibition on wearing of headsets while driving.

Impaired Driving

Forty-nine 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). Utah’s per se limit is 0.05 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.

In North Dakota the use of ignition interlocks by any impaired driving offender may be required at judicial discretion.

Move Over Law

State law requires drivers approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights, including wreckers and highway maintenance vehicles, traveling in the same direction, to vacate the lane closest if safe and possible to do so, or slow to a safe speed.

Seat Belts

Seat belts are required for the driver and front seat passengers age 18 and older.

Violation of the seat belt law is a secondary offense.

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

Child Passenger Safety

Children ages 8 through 17 must be in an approved child restraint system or in a seat belt.

Children under age 8 and less than 4 feet 9 inches must be properly secured in a child restraint system.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Railroad Crossing

A person driving a vehicle must stop within 50 feet but not less than 15 feet from the nearest rail of a railroad, and may not proceed until he can do so safely, whenever: (1) a clearly visible electric or mechanical signal gives warning of the immediate approach of a train; (2) a crossing gate is lowered or when a human flagman gives or continues to give a signal of the approach or passage of a train; (3) a train approaching within approximately 1/4 mile emits an audible signal; or (4) an approaching railroad train is plainly visible and is in hazardous proximity to the crossing.

Driving through, around, or under any crossing gate or barrier at a railroad crossing while such gate or barrier is closed or is being opened or closed is not permitted. Driving past any human flagman is not permitted until the flagman signals that the way is clear.

A bus carrying passengers or any school bus must stop within 50 feet but not less than 15 feet from the nearest rail of a railroad to look and listen for signals indicating the approach of a train and may not proceed until it is safe.

School Buses

School Buses: When the flashing red lights or stop sign on the control arm of a school bus are visible, the driver of a vehicle approaching the school bus from any direction must stop before reaching the school bus and may not proceed until the school bus resumes motion, is signaled by the school bus driver, or the flashing red lights and the stop sign are no longer in use.

The driver of a vehicle on a divided road does not need to stop when approaching or passing a school bus that is on a different road.

Every school bus must have plainly visible “SCHOOL BUS” signs on the front and rear in letters not less than 8 inches in height, and be equipped with a stop sign on a control arm and red visual signals to be activated by the driver whenever the vehicle is stopped to receive or discharge children.

Bumper Height

The maximum bumper height permitted is 27 inches measured from a level ground surface to the highest point on the bottom of the bumper.

Headlight Use

Headlights must be used from sunset to sunrise, when visibility is less than 1000 feet, or when there is insufficient light/adverse weather.

Hazard Light Use

Hazard light use is permitted while driving unless otherwise posted.

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 permitted October 15 to April 15. School buses may use studded tires anytime during the year.

Glass/Window Tinting

No person shall operate a vehicle with any windshield tinting that has a light transmittance of less than 70% or window tinting with a light transmittance of less than 50%. Windows behind the operator are exempt if the vehicle has outside mirrors on both sides.

Video Screens

No statewide restriction.

Radar Detectors

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

Windshield Stickers

No person may drive a vehicle with any sign, poster, or other nontransparent material on the front windshield, side wings, or side or rear windows that obstruct the driver’s clear view of the road.

Other Equipment Rules


Motorcycle Equipment

A person operating a motorcycle shall ride only on the permanent and regular attached seat.

An operator may not carry more persons than the motorcycle was designed to carry. In the event a passenger may ride, it must be on the permanent and regular seat if designed for 2 persons, or on another seat firmly attached to the motorcycle at the rear or side of the operator.

A motorcycle must be equipped with footrests for each passenger not in a sidecar or enclosed cab that can support a weight of 250 lbs.

No person under the age of 18 years may operate or ride on a motorcycle unless a helmet is being worn on the head of the operator and rider. If the operator of a motorcycle is required to wear a helmet, any passenger must also wear a helmet regardless of the age of the passenger.

Every motorcycle and motor-driven cycle must have at least 1 brake, which may be operated by hand or foot, and at least 1 tail light and brake light.

Three-wheeled motorcycles must have a parking brake of a friction type with a mechanical means to retain engagement.

Motorcycle handlebars must have nonslip handgrips that may not be located above the shoulder height of the seated operator. The handlebars must provide a minimum of 18 inches between grips after final assembly.

Every motorcycle must have at least 1 mirror attached to the handlebar that will reflect an image of at least the horizon and the road surface to the rear of the motorcycle with a minimum reflective surface of 10 square inches.

The seat or saddle for the operator must be securely attached and may not be less than 25 inches above a level road surface when measured to the lowest point on top of the cushion.

If a gearbox indicator light is on the vehicle it must be located in the driver’s field of vision. If a headlamp beam indicator light is on the vehicle it must be located in the driver’s field of vision and automatically lit when the high beam of the lamp is on.

Number plates assigned to a motorcycle or trailer must be attached to the rear of the motorcycle and may be displayed vertically.

Motorcycle Licenses

A person holding an instruction permit for the operation of a motorcycle may not carry passengers and may operate the motorcycle only during the hours when use of headlights is not required.

An applicant 16 years of age and older who does not hold a current valid driver’s license, may be issued a Class M learner’s permit after successful completion of a written examination. The Class M license will be issued after successful completion of a driver’s examination or completion of an approved motorcycle safety course.

Applicants 14 or 15 years of age may be issued a motorcycle learner’s permit if enrolled in or have completed an approved motorcycle safety course. The learner’s permit must be held for at least 2 months prior to applying for a Class M driver’s license, and the permit holder must have completed the safety course and hold a valid motorcycle learner’s permit at the time of application. A driver under 16 years of age is restricted to driving a motorcycle with an engine of 250 cubic centimeters, or less, displacement.

Motorcycle Noise Limits

Motorcycles must have an exhaust system with a muffler or other mechanical device to reduce engine noise. Cutouts and bypasses in the exhaust system are prohibited.

Mopeds & Other

Valid driver’s license or permit is required. Minimum age is 14. Safety helmet required for persons under 18.

Headlights and red reflector or red light on rear required for nighttime use.

A driver’s permit for a motorized bicycle may be issued to an applicant who is at least 14 years of age who pays a fee, takes a written examination to test knowledge of traffic laws and general rules of the road, and has adequate eyesight. The permit expires in the same manner as a driver’s license. Safety helmet required for persons under 18.

Trailer Dimensions

Total length: 75 feet (excluding safety equipment, energy conservation devices, and approved length exclusion devices); trailer length: 53 feet (excluding safety equipment, energy conservation devices, and approved length exclusion devices); motor home length: 50 feet (excluding safety equipment, energy conservation devices, and approved length exclusion devices); width: 8 feet  6 inches (excluding appurtenances up to 6 inches and safety equipment up to 3 inches); height: 14 feet.

Trailer Brakes

Every trailer operated at a speed in excess of 25 mph must have safety chains or brakes adequate to control the movement of and to stop and to hold such vehicle. The safety chains or brakes must be designed so that they can be applied by the driver of the towing vehicle from its cab, and must be designed and connected so that in case of an accidental breakaway the brakes are automatically applied.

Trailer Hitch/Signals

The drawbar or other coupling device between vehicles, one of which is towing the other, must include safety chains connecting the vehicles. The drawbar, coupling device, and safety chains must be of a design, strength, and construction so as to prevent the unintentional uncoupling of the vehicles.

Trailer Lighting

Taillights, brake lights, license plate lights, turn signals, and reflectors are required.

Trailer Mirrors

Every vehicle, operated singly or when towing any other vehicle, must have a mirror located to reflect to the driver a view of the highway for a distance of at least 200 feet to the rear of the vehicle.

Trailer Speed Limits

Rural interstate, 75 mph; non-interstate multilane highways, 70 mph; 2-lane highways, 65 mph, if posted. If not posted, 55 mph.

Trailer Towing


Trailer Other Provisions

Any trailer, semitrailer, or farm trailer with a gross weight, not including the towing vehicle, not exceeding 1,500 lbs., and not used for hire or commercial use; or when used to transport recreational vehicles or boats and is not for hire or commercial use, is exempt from registration. All other trailers, semitrailers, or farm trailers must be registered annually with the DOT.

Riding in towed trailers is not permitted.

Crash Reporting

Crashes are required to be immediately reported in cases of death, injury or when property damage exceeds $1,000.00.  Crashes resulting in property damage only with an undomesticated animal are exempt from reporting.

Liability Laws

State has security-type law applicable in event of a crash causing property damage in excess of $1,000 or personal injury or death; on judgment minimum. Unsatisfied Judgment Fund Law: applicable to uncollectible judgments exceeding $300.

State has no-fault insurance law, which is compulsory. Benefits: Economic loss up to $20,000. Uninsured motorists’ coverage: $25,000/$50,000.

Proof of coverage is required at all times.

State has non-resident service of process law.

A person may not drive or operate a motor vehicle that does not have a valid policy of liability insurance.

Liability insurance must be in the amount of $25,000 for bodily injury to or death of 1 person in any 1 accident, $50,000 for bodily injury to or death of 2 or more persons in any 1 accident, and $25,000 for injury to or destruction of property in any 1 accident.

In lieu of an insurance policy, a person may also provide a bond or certificate of deposit of money or securities as proof of financial responsibility.