Import Vehicle Requirements

This information is provided as of January 2024 and is subject to any subsequent law changes. Additional information and breakdown of fees can be found on the state website.

We have done our best to cover all basic scenarios on these types of transactions and have attempted to include multiple scenarios for required documents. Importing may require additional documents not limited to the listing below.

Know your county- if you live in Box Elder your physical address could be either Pennington County or Meade County. South Dakota residents must register their vehicles in the county they reside.

Pennington County under direction from the state will not be accepting imported vehicles that need to be titled in the state the owner resides in first. Non-residents must submit a properly transferred US issued title if they reside in a jurisdiction that does title imports for that age and type of vehicle. Military personnel stationed within South Dakota are an exception.

A South Dakota driver’s license or ID will be needed when completing the title transfer. A qualifying non-resident will need to provide a copy of a valid federally issued ID (state issued driver’s license or ID, passport or military ID) AND proof of social security number (copy of SS card, W2, 1098, 1099, paystub or military orders with the full SSN)

Please note that any documents provided in a foreign language must have a translation to the English language attached.

South Dakota requirements for vehicles imported from out of country

Vehicles imported to the U.S. must pass through a port of entry and be cleared by U.S. Customs. Documents needed to title your vehicle in South Dakota include:

     US CBP-7501 (or other acceptable Entry Summary)

      NHTSA HS-7 DOT Declaration of Conformity

      Completed EPA Form 3520

      Proof of weight for vehicles and trailers (may be a weight ticket)

      Proof of ownership (see below)

      South Dakota Motor Vehicle and Boat Title Application (MV-1001)

      Current odometer reading if the vehicle is less than 20 years old

      Bill of sale or purchase agreement (to be valid must include the complete VIN, date of sale, selling price, buyer name and seller signature)

If the vehicle is non-conforming (held until they meet safety standards) a Bond Release letter from NHTSA showing conformity will be required. If there is no Bond Release letter than a NHTSA Statement of Conformity and Certificate of Fact from the importer attesting NHTSA guidelines were followed (30 day time period applies) will be required.

      Additional requirements for Canadian title documents:

A Canadian Carfax report that verifies the lien status will be required. For non-motorized or off road\ATV vehicles a signed letter from the providence stating no lien will be needed.

Proof of Ownership

The person taking title must be listed as the Importer of Record.

You will need the foreign document of ownership. Depending on the country that the vehicle is coming from this might be your registration.

For a brand-new purchase that has not yet been registered in the applicant’s name overseas the original Manufacturers Certificate of Origin will be required.

With proof of ownership, we are happy to assist you with a ONE time temporary permit payable by cash only at $1.00 per day- minimum of 5 days and a maximum of 15 days should you need the additional time to retrieve your correct documents.

Excise Tax

The 4% excise tax will be assessed on the purchase price on the provided bill of sale if purchased within the last six months, or the current NADA book value if purchased more than six months ago.  If no NADA book value is available taxes will be based off the purchase price.

If the vehicle has been previously titled or registered in the U.S by the applicant proof of tax paid to another U.S. state may be provided to receive reciprocity for tax previously paid. A copy of the U.S. issued title or registration showing the vehicle has been own by the applicant for more than two years, or a receipt from the other state with the vehicle and owner information showing the tax paid.

There are currently no military exemptions to excise tax in South Dakota.


Fees are prorated from the date of transfer to your renewal month. If it is within 90 days from your renewal month your registration will be calculated through to the following year. The renewal month is determined by the first letter of the owner’s last name or first letter of the company name and must be renewed annually.

See the registration FAQ for more information on registration costs 

There are currently no active duty military discounts on registration in South Dakota.

Processing through the mail

If processing through the mail all documents will need to be mailed to our office. Paperwork mailed in is receipted in and worked in the order it is received- not necessarily on the day it arrives from your chosen carrier. Expect up to two weeks plus processing time. If additional documents are needed and mailed in, they will follow the normal mail process. Requests to the contrary are subject to Administrative fees.

Once your paperwork has been reviewed you will be contacted for payment or for any missing documents. Please include valid contact information with your paperwork. A $3.00 long distance call fee may be applicable. We will reach out via email if an email address is given- watch your junk or spam folder so you don’t miss any correspondence regarding your transaction.

Transactions done through the mail will be charged a $25.00 administrative fee and a postage and handling fee to mail the plates and registration ($7.50 per set of plates and registration, $1.50 per registration only).

Payment options

Our system is not setup to take prepaid debit cards, gift cards or loaded employee payroll cards.

Checks, Money Orders, and Cashier’s Checks should be made payable to Pennington County Treasurer.

        No counter, starter, PMB, or out of state checks will be accepted.


Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards are accepted and subject to a 2.49% service charge. The issued card holder must be present with valid ID for the card to be accepted.

If you have additional questions not answered here please call our office at 605-394-2163 from 8:00am – 11:00am and 1:00pm – 4:30pm MDT Monday through Thursday or send us a message through our Contact Us page.