How to Get a Temporary License Plate in Minnesota

Minnesota car dealers can issue 21-day temporary license plates to residents while they wait for their permanent license plates to arrive.
Written by Jacqulyn Graber
Edited by Pat Roache
When you purchase a new or used vehicle, your Minnesota car dealer can issue you a temporary license plate valid for 21 days—also called a temporary permit—while you wait for your permanent
Minnesota license plates
and registration to arrive in the mail.
  • Temporary permits can only be issued by authorized car dealerships registered in the state of Minnesota to drivers who have just bought a car.
  • The Minnesota DVS department also issues temporary Minnesota registration permits in specific circumstances to out-of-state drivers, commercial drivers, and drivers waiting on special plates.
  • Minnesota 21-day temporary vehicle permits cannot be renewed after the expiration date.

How to get a temporary license plate in Minnesota

You can request a temporary license plate from the dealership where you
purchased your new vehicle
. Temporary plates are valid for 21 days while the dealership and Minnesota Driver & Vehicle Services department (DVS) process your
vehicle registration
Keep in mind: Only licensed dealerships are allowed to use the MNDRIVE e-Services for Business system to request temporary license plates. Do not resort to online ads for temporary plates—these are always criminal schemes! 

How to get temporary registration permits in Minnesota

There are a few special circumstances during which Minnesota drivers can obtain temporary registration cards:
  • Waiting for special plates to arrive: A 60-day permit may be issued to residents after their payment of registration tax is made on soon-to-expire or expired registration.
  • Surrendered prorate plates: A Minnesota Traveler's Registration (Hunter) permit may be issued to truck owners and operators who have surrendered their Minnesota prorate plates to a trucking firm at the termination of a lease agreement.
  • Non-residents purchasing a car: A 31-day temporary permit is provided for non-residents to drive a vehicle purchased in Minnesota to their state of residence. This non-renewable permit is issued to all classes of vehicles and can be obtained at any motor vehicle deputy registrar’s office.
  • Interstate commercial drivers: A temporary permit is issued to non-Minnesota-based motor carriers traveling interstate in Minnesota with a gross vehicle weight of over 26,000 pounds. It is also issued to any unit with three or more axles regardless of gross vehicle weight. 
What to do: Contact the Minnesota DVS to request your specific temporary permit.
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You must have plates to drive a new car in Minnesota 

In Minnesota, you cannot drive a car without permanent plates and a valid registration sticker unless you:
  • Receive a temporary license plate from your car dealer (valid for 21 days), OR
  • Obtain a temporary permit by following the process explained above 

Minnesota temporary license plate laws

The Minnesota DVS only allows licensed car dealerships to issue temporary license plates (also called temporary permits) to new car buyers. These provisional, paper tags allow drivers to legally operate their vehicles for 21 days while the dealer completes the title and registration process.
Problems with temporary Minnesota license plates: Temporary license plates have received negative attention nationwide because of fraud. It is relatively easy for criminals to register a fake business with the MNDRIVE e-services and print temporary tags to sell for 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. 
  • Temporary plates cannot be renewed after the 21 days have expired. 
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