When you purchase a new or used vehicle, your Minnesota car dealer can issue you a temporary license plate—also called a temporary permit—allowing you to drive without a license plate. This temporary permit is valid for 21 days.
All across the U.S., it is illegal to drive without a license plate, and Minnesota is no exception. However, applying for plates with the Driver & Vehicle Services department (DVS) won’t get immediate results, and there can be some unexpected delays when it comes to obtaining a new license plate. Fortunately, the North Star State allows licensed dealers to issue temporary permits to buyers.
Read on for all the information you need to understand the rules, regulations, and processes associated with Minnesota’s temporary license plates.
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Does Minnesota issue temporary plates?
Yes—the Minnesota DVS allows licensed car dealerships to issue buyers temporary license plates, also called temporary permits. These provisional, paper tags allow drivers to legally operate their vehicles for 21 days, while the dealer completes the title and registration process.
Only licensed dealerships are allowed to use the MNDRIVE e-Services for Business system to request temporary license plates, so the only way to get one is to go through them.
What’s the problem with temporary Minnesota license plates?
While they were designed with convenience and logistics in mind, temporary license plates have received negative attention nationwide because of fraud. It is relatively easy for criminals to use fake temporary permits (or, at least, it’s easier to fake a temporary tag than it is a regular license plate), which also costs the state of Minnesota significant losses in revenue.
Fraudulent temporary license dealers pay the necessary fees to register a fake business in the MNDRIVE e-Services for Business system. Once registered, criminals can obtain the proper cardstock and print out temporary tags, which they can then sell to drivers for a personal profit.
Minnesota Statute 168.092 attempts to prevent this crime by outlining strict procedures and regulations for the issuing of temporary permits. For example, issuers are only allowed to create tags for drivers who just purchased their new or used vehicle. Additionally, temporary plates last only 21 days and cannot be renewed.
How to get a temporary license plate in Minnesota
Of course, if you just purchased a new or used vehicle, your need for a temporary license plate is completely legitimate. Requesting a temporary license plate is easy—simply ask the dealership where you purchased your vehicle.
Ideally, you won’t need temporary plates at all (if the dealership and DVS are quick to process your title and registration and issue your permanent plates). But if you do, do not resort to online ads—these are always a criminal scheme!
Temporary registration permits in Minnesota
In addition to buying a new vehicle, there are a few special circumstances during which Minnesota drivers can obtain temporary registration permits:
60-day temporary permits are issued to residents after their payment of registration tax was made on soon-to-expire or expired registration, if they’ve applied and are waiting for special license plates to arrive.
A Minnesota Traveler's Registration (Hunter) permit is for truck owners and/ or operators who have surrendered their Minnesota prorate plates to a trucking firm at the termination of a lease agreement.
A 31-day temporary permit is provided for non-residents so they can remove a vehicle from Minnesota to their state of residence. This non-renewable permit is issued to all classes of vehicles and can be obtained at any deputy registrar’s office.
A temporary permit is issued to non-Minnesota-based motor carriers traveling interstate in Minnesota with a gross vehicle weight over 26,000 pounds. It is also issued to any unit with three or more axles regardless of gross vehicle weight.
Can I drive a car without plates if I just bought it in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, you cannot drive a car without plates until you obtain a temporary permit by following the process explained above.
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