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Published April 14 2012

Ask Your Government: Reader inquires about rules on changing out-of-state plates

Dear Teri,

Does the state have any requirement when you need to change license plates after moving here from another state? I see people who are long-term employees who have purchased homes in our area, but continue to have out-of-state plates. Since they own a home and work here full-time, shouldn’t their vehicle be licensed here?

Thanks for writing! I contacted Jamie Olson at the North Dakota Department of Transportation. Here’s what she said:

“In North Dakota, residents of the state must license and register their vehicles in the state. A North Dakota resident is defined in the Century Code as “an individual gainfully employed or engages in any trade, profession or occupation within this state and owns, leases or rents a place of residence or otherwise lives within the state for the purposes of employment or, regardless of domicile or any other circumstance, remains in this state for a period of at least 90 consecutive days.”

“There are some exceptions to this, such as a college student or a daily commuter from another state that is under a reciprocity agreement.

“People should license and register their vehicle here within 90 days. People can license and register their vehicles in North Dakota by going to any of the motor vehicle branch offices.

“If a person is living and working here on a temporary basis (6-12 months), a temporary vehicle registration is required. Temporary registrations can be obtained online by going to www.dot.nd.gov or visiting any motor vehicle branch office.”

I also contacted Lt. Jody Skogen of the Highway Patrol to find out what the penalty is for not licensing and registering vehicles in the state. He said it’s a $100 fine if the vehicle is registered in another state and its owner/operator is employed in North Dakota.

Do you have a question for a North Dakota state government official or agency? Send us your question, and we’ll do our best to find an answer.

Email politics@wday.com (Subject: Ask your government).

You may also write to Teri Finneman c/o Forum Communications, Press Room, State Capitol, Bismarck, ND 58505.

Please include your name, town and a phone number to reach you for verification.


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Teri Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.