Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.

eMV Public glossary

Address Valid Until The shipping address will be permanently stored and DMV will continue to use this address to mail your products. If you wish to discontinue using a shipping address, please enter the date you would like DMV to stop doing so.

And/Or If you want more than one owner listed on the new title, you can choose to have either the word "AND" or the word "OR" on your new title:

  • "AND" means all owners must sign the title to sell the vehicle later.
  • "OR" means either owner can sign the title to sell the vehicle later. Only one seller's signature will be required when the vehicle is sold.

Auto A license plate registration type for automobiles, jeep-type or sport utility vehicles (SUV) with a back seat and vans with more space for seating people than carrying property.

Body Style Describes the type of body for a motor vehicle. Common styles include two-door or four-door sedan, hardtop, coupe, sport utility vehicle (SUV), roadster, convertible, van and/or station wagon.

Brand Important information permanently stored on the title record to alert consumers about the current or prior condition of a motor vehicle. If the seller checked any boxes for brands on the title, near the seller's signature, these new brands must be recorded in eMV Public. There are many brands that may be stored on the title record and listed on a title. For more information or a complete list of brands, see Flood damaged vehicles and other title brands.

Certificate of Registration The document that verifies a vehicle is legally registered with license plates. The Certificate of Registration should be carried in the vehicle at all times; however, the Certificate of Title should not be carried in the vehicle and stored in a safe place.

City(C)/Village(V)/Town(T)/Unincorporated(U) Choose the city, village or township where you keep your motor vehicle for the greatest length of time during the registration period. This location may identify a vehicle as being subject to emission inspection maintenance, or a specific tax such as county, stadium, sales, use and/or wheel tax. If you select a community that is unincorporated, eMV Public will change it to the nearest, larger community. This change will show on the confirmation screen and on the receipt.

Co-Owner Two or more individuals that have equal legal ownership of a vehicle. At this time, eMV Public allows only two owners to be added. If more than two owners will be listed on the new title, please complete an MV1 Wisconsin Title and License Plate Application, and mail it to WisDOT. All products and correspondence for the vehicle will be mailed to the first person listed on the title or the primary owner. Owner names are separated by AND or OR. If your name is incorrect, or you recently had a name change, you may review our name change policy for more information.

Date of Operation The date you first drove this vehicle in Wisconsin as the owner of the vehicle.

Date of Sale The date the seller signed the title. This date can be found next to the seller's signature on the title. If the date is more than one year in the past, you must mail your application to WisDOT.

Domestic Partner A person who filed a declaration of same-sex partnership with the Register of Deeds for a legal relationship with another person of the same sex. Same-sex domestic partners can transfer most license plates from one partner to the other. The sale of a vehicle between domestic partners is not tax exempt.

Dual Purpose Farm A truck owned and operated by a farmer and used for the transportation of supplies to the owner's farm, farm equipment and products on the owner's farm or between the owner's farms, or farm products from the owner's farm to market. The truck may also be used for any non-farm purpose, including transportation to other employment that is not farm-related. The truck may be operated with 12,000 pounds or less weight when used as a farm truck and with 4,500, 6,000, 8,000 or 10,000 pounds when used for non-farming purpose. The vehicle is registered according to the gross weight of the truck when used for a non-farm occupation.

Dual Purpose Vehicle A truck that can be interchangeably equipped as a motor home or as a motor truck. The truck may be equipped with a slide-in camper unit. The vehicle is registered with license plates according to the gross weight of the truck without the motor home unit.

Fair Market Value The value of a vehicle, taking into account the condition of the vehicle immediately before the damage occurred, determined by reliable sources generally accepted within the automotive and insurance industries such as price guidebooks, dealer quotes, and computerized value services.

Farm A truck owned or leased and operated by a farmer and used primarily for farm purposes and registered at 12,000 pounds or less. The truck may have limited personal use but it is not valid to use for any non-farm employment. An employee of a farmer, who does not own or lease a farm, does not qualify for farm truck plates.

Federal Certification Label A label attached to a vehicle that certifies that a vehicle was manufactured according to federal specifications for that type of vehicle.

For Hire Vehicles that are authorized to transport property for payment, such as packages. eMV Public is unable to process applications for vehicles that are for hire. If you need to title a vehicle used for hire, please complete an MV1 Wisconsin Title and License Plate Application and mail it to WisDOT.

Gross Weight The total weight of a motor vehicle ready to use plus the weight of the driver, passengers, any load you plan to carry and a full tank of fuel.

Incident A comment recorded on a customer or vehicle record that restricts issuance of products or prevents specific transactions. For example, failure to pay a parking ticket may result in the vehicle owner from obtaining license plates or registration for a vehicle.

Individual Owner(s) An owner who is a person, not a business, agency, trust or organization.

Inspection A certified inspector checks a vehicle to ensure the individual parts are not stolen, has proper equipment and is in safe operating condition. Refer to the Vehicle Inspecting Agency List for a vehicle inspector in your area.

Issue New Plates Select this option if you need new license plates for your vehicle. See also replacement plates if you have plates to transfer but need to apply for new plates because they are damaged or illegible.

Junked This is a status on a vehicle record if the estimated cost of repairing the vehicle is more than its fair market value. A junked vehicle cannot be titled in Wisconsin and cannot be operated or used on public roads, and it has no resale value except as a source for parts.

Jurisdiction A U.S. state, Native American tribal nation, or the state or province of a foreign nation.

Lien -- An interest in personal property, such as a motor vehicle, that requires a payment obligation. Example: A bank lends money to an individual for the purchase of a motor vehicle. The bank places a lien on the vehicle, which is recorded on the title record and shows on the Certificate of Title. The bank holds an interest (ownership) in the vehicle until the loan is repaid.

Lien Holder A lender (such as a bank) holding a secured interest or lien on a motor vehicle. If the seller had a loan on the vehicle, the lender(s) or lien will be printed on the title under "Secured Party" or "Lien Holder". If the lender removed the lien electronically, the lien may show on the title but not in eMV Public. If a lien holder is listed on the title and you have a lien release, send the document to WisDOT. If the message "Individual Lien Holder" is displayed in eMV Public, this means a person is the lien holder. You should be able to find the individual's name on the front of the title. Due to the Privacy Protection Act, we are unable to show the individual lien holder's name to you online. If you have a lien release from the individual, include it with the documents you send to WisDOT. If you do not have a lien release and the lien has not been electronically released, the lien will carry forward to your vehicle record. Contact the seller if you need more information on the lien.

Lien Release Notification from a lien holder or lender showing a lien or loan has been paid off. Acceptable lien release forms include:

  • A signed lien release card "Confirmation of Security Interest" (form T084 or MV2076), which the lending institution should send to you.
  • Or an original letter (copy or fax to customer is not acceptable) from your lender on their letterhead. The letter must include:
    • the vehicle make;
    • the vehicle identification number (VIN);
    • a signature and position of the person signing;
    • the release date.

Light Truck A license plate registration type for pickup trucks, vans with more space for carrying property than seating people; also jeep-type or sport utility vehicles (SUV) without a back seat should registered with this plate type. You must select a gross weight for your vehicle.

Mail to WisDOT Mail the receipt, payment and all other required documents to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation at the address provided.

Miscellaneous Fees Fees due for special plates or wheel tax. Examples of special plates are Endangered Resources, Green Bay Packers, Celebrate Children, Women's Health Foundation, etc.

Model Year The calendar year given to a basic design or series of vehicles issued by a manufacturer. New model years are typically introduced several months before the actual calendar year.

Motorcycle A motor vehicle designed to travel with no more than three wheels, has a motor greater than four horse power and a seat or saddle for the driver. The vehicle must be manufactured for highway use and display the required federal certification label.

Moped A motor vehicle designed to travel with no more than two wheels and has a motor with four horse power or less and a seat or saddle for the driver. This online application cannot be used to title and register a moped.

MV1 Wisconsin Title and License Plate Application The form required to apply for and obtain a title and/or license plates, or transfer license plates by mail or in person. This form is not required if you are able to complete your application through eMV Public.

Name Change Policy If your name is not correct in our system, please read our Name Change policy for more information.

New Brands Information permanently stored on the title record to alert consumers about the current or prior condition of a motor vehicle. If the seller checked any boxes for brands on the title, near the seller's signature, these brands must be recorded in eMV Public and will be added to the title record. For more information, see Flood damaged vehicles and other title brands.

This is a list of brands you may add using eMV Public:

  • Flood Damaged This brand is for a vehicle that is not considered junked but is damaged by water to the extent that the estimated or actual repair costs, whichever is greater, is more than 70% of the fair market value. A vehicle that has been submerged in water will receive a flood damaged brand. If the vehicle is less than seven years old, a Wisconsin salvage vehicle brand will also be added to the title record.
  • Hail Damaged This brand is for a vehicle less than seven years old damaged solely by hail to the extent that the estimated or actual cost, whichever is greater, to repair the vehicle is more than 70% of its fair market value. The vehicle was or may be repaired without replacing any exterior non-mechanical sheet metal or plastic parts, including inner and outer panels. If repairs include any of these replacement parts, a salvage vehicle brand must be added to the title record.
  • Prior Taxi This brand is for a vehicle that will be or was previously used as a taxicab or for public transportation.
  • Prior Police Vehicle This brand is for a vehicle that will be or was previously used as a police vehicle by a law enforcement agency.

Odometer An instrument that measures the distance a motor vehicle has traveled.

Odometer Reading The numeric value displayed on the vehicle's odometer readout, which measures the actual distance a vehicle has traveled. For vehicles less than 10 model years old, the seller is required to write the odometer reading from the date of sale on the back of the title.

Odometer Status A description of the odometer reading on a motor vehicle.

  • Actual The true distance a motor vehicle has traveled as certified by the seller. It is recorded on the title or vehicle record as ACTUAL.
  • Exempt The motor vehicle is ten or more model years old. The seller is not required to write the odometer reading on the title. This odometer status is recorded on the title or vehicle record as EXEMPT or EXEMPT FROM ODOMETER 10 YEARS.
  • Excess An odometer reading that is more than the odometer's mechanical limits and is recorded on the title or vehicle record as IN EXCESS. For some vehicles this could be mileage over 99,999.
  • Not actual An odometer reading that is not the true distance traveled as certified by the seller. For example: an odometer was replaced or repaired. This odometer status is recorded on the title or vehicle record as NOT ACTUAL. Please note: if the odometer reading is not from the seller, the status will be NOT ACTUAL. Once this status is recorded, it can never be changed back to ACTUAL, unless the status was recorded in error by DMV staff or an agent of the DMV. A NOT ACTUAL odometer status can reduce the value of the vehicle.
  • Tampered An odometer status placed on the vehicle record by DMV when reported by authorized agents after an odometer has been altered. This status is permanently recorded on the title or vehicle record as TAMPERED. This cannot be relied on as the true distance the vehicle has traveled.

Plate Expiration The date license plates expire as shown on the Certificate of Registration. Light-truck license plates expire at the end of a month, while auto plates can expire any day of the month.

Plate Type The basic plate design based on vehicle type, use or special group. For example: auto, light truck, cycle, farm, Endangered Resources, Celebrate Children, Ducks Unlimited, Green Bay Packers, University of Wisconsin, etc. For a list, see Vehicle/Plate/Registration Type Abbreviations.

Primary Owner The owner listed first on a title and whose address is used for mailing all products and correspondence for a vehicle. All owners of a vehicle have equal legal ownership regardless of who is listed as the primary owner. See Co-Owner. If your name is not correct in our system, please read our Name Change policy for more information.

Proof of Tax Paid A receipt from the seller showing that the tax due on the purchase price was collected. For example, if you purchased a vehicle from an auction, they would provide you with a receipt showing the tax paid.

Purchase Price The full sale price of a vehicle before trade-in allowance.

Purchaser The person buying a vehicle.

Reference Number A unique number for your application assigned within the eMV Public system upon completion of a transaction.

Registration Fee The fee you need to pay when you first get license plates for your vehicle. You also pay this fee whenever you renew the plates.

Registration Type Designates how the vehicle is registered to be used. For example: Auto, Light truck, Dual purpose farm, Dual purpose vehicle, Farm truck, Motorcycle. For a list, see Vehicle/plate/registration type abbreviations.

Renew Plates Select this option to pay the annual fees required to get a new year sticker for your license plates if they are due to expire soon.

Replacement Plates You may request to order new license plates to replace lost, stolen, damaged or faded plates. The expiration date remains the same for the license plates being replaced. You will receive new stickers with the replacement plates.

Residence Address An individual's street address, which includes the name of the town, city or village in which the individual resides.

Sales Tax A tax imposed by the state and local counties based on the purchase price of the vehicle. The state sales tax rate is 5%. County tax varies by county. For a vehicle purchase that included a trade-in allowance, the amount subject to tax is the difference between the purchase price and the amount allowed for the trade.

Sales Tax Exempt Transactions that do not require payment of state, county or local tax. If you have an exemption other than Family Transfer or Miscellaneous, you must mail your application to WisDOT. The Department of Revenue (DOR) reviews all applications with tax exemptions. You may be penalized for fraudulent entries. Call the Department of Revenue at (608) 266-2776 with any sales tax exempt questions.

Sales Tax Exempt Reason If you select a sales tax exempt option, you must select additional information that describes why it is tax exempt. For example, if you do not need to pay sales tax because you purchased a vehicle from your parent, choose "parent" for the additional information. The reasons below apply only when the seller has a Wisconsin title.

Family Transfer:

  • Spouse. Note: If you are changing ownership to yourself because the seller is deceased and you are the surviving spouse, do not use eMV Public, as you will be charged more for the title transfer fee. Mail your application to WisDOT.
  • Ex-spouse
  • Parent
  • Child (this includes child's spouse)
  • Mother-in-law or father-in-law
  • Stepparent
  • Stepchild
  • Sole proprietor. You are the only owner of a company (not a corporation), and the ownership is changing from the company to a family member.

Miscellaneous:

  • Even Trade Personal property traded for a vehicle with no money exchanged.
  • Gift The vehicle was given to you with no money exchanged.
  • Heir You inherited a vehicle. Purchasing a vehicle from an estate is taxable. Note: If you are changing ownership to yourself because the seller is deceased and you are the heir, mail your application to WisDOT.
  • Native American You are a member of one of the federally recognized Native American tribes or bands listed below and living within the boundary land of their reservation. The vehicle must be delivered to the reservation to qualify for the exemption. If there is a co-owner who is not a Native American, half of the selling price is taxable.
    • Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
    • Forest County Potawatomi Community
    • Ho-Chunk Nation
    • Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
    • Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
    • Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin
    • Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin
    • Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
    • St. Croix Chippewa Indians
    • Sokaogon Chippewa community (Mole Lake)
    • Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans Oneida
  • Paid to Seller You paid taxes to someone who is not a licensed Wisconsin vehicle dealership or out-of-state vehicle dealership. This includes auctions and Wisconsin businesses that sell trailers but are not licensed as dealerships. Include a copy of the receipt showing this payment with your eMV Public receipt, title, payment and any other forms listed on the receipt.
  • Prize The vehicle was won in a contest. The prize donor is responsible for taxes and must title the vehicle in their own name first, unless the donor is a Wisconsin dealer.
  • Trust - Transferring a vehicle from a trust to anyone named in the trust or from the trust to a trustee. A vehicle transferred from a parent's trust to a child is taxable unless the parent's title the vehicle in their name first then transfer the vehicle to the child. The transfer from the parent's to the child is tax exempt as a family member. The MV2790 Trustee Statement for Certificate of Title should be included with the items you mail to DMV.

Seller The owner(s) listed on the front of a title. All names listed on the front of the title must sign as the seller unless the names are separated by the word "OR". For more information see primary owner, co-owner or and/or.

Shipping Address The address where a customer receives mail. For example, a customer may wish to receive vehicle renewal notices at a business address or a PO Box instead of their primary residence address. Do not enter a shipping address if you would like DMV to mail items to your residence address.

SSN Social Security number. EMV Public requires you enter the last four digits.

Special Plate A license plate that is different from the standard auto or light-truck license plate. Examples include: Green Bay Packer and University plates. Many different designs are available. EMV Public is unable to issue new special plates, but most existing special plates can be transferred to a new vehicle.

Spouse Opposite-sex partner by legal marriage.

Title A document issued by a jurisdiction as evidence of ownership of a motor vehicle. The document may be referenced as "Title" or "Certificate of Title." Each title has a unique title number assigned. The title number is usually printed in the upper left corner of the title. Titles issued before December 2004 look slightly different: the seller(s) and buyer(s) sign their names and list odometer reading on the front of the title instead of the back.

Title Fee The fee required by state law when a vehicle transfers ownership or is titled in Wisconsin for the first time.

Total Amount Due The total of all fees and taxes due. The payment must be included with all documentation you send to WisDOT. Please make checks and money orders payable to Registration Fee Trust.

Trade-in Allowance The dollar value of a motor vehicle or any other tangible personal property traded for a motor vehicle.

Transfer Existing Plates Transfer a valid (not expired more than 90) Wisconsin license plate in your name from a vehicle you no longer use to another vehicle you are titling of the same vehicle type. See Auto Registration or Light Truck Registration for more information. The plates must be in the same name of at least one of the persons titling the newly acquired vehicle and using the plates on the new vehicle or belongs to their spouse or same-sex domestic partner. The following plate types can be transferred: Auto, Motorcycle, Duck unlimited, Endangered resources, Farm truck, Golf Wisconsin, Harley Davidson Share the Road, Higher Education, Celebrate children, Lions foundation, Donate Life Wisconsin, Light truck, Brewers, Marquette University, Packers, Sesquicentennial, Wisconsin salutes veterans and Wisconsin women's health foundation. Also, the following plate types can be transferred as long as the first owner entered in eMV Public matches the first owner listed on the plate being transferred: Collector special, Civilian Group, Disabled, EMT, Firefighter, Gold Star, Medal of Honor, Lao Veteran, Military, Disabled veteran, US veteran cycle, Wisconsin National Guard.

Trust A relationship between two "parties" in which one party (the trustee) agrees to take care of property that another party will use. Whenever a trust buys or sells a vehicle, the principal trustee must sign for the trust. The application must include a completed MV2790 Trustee Statement for Certificate of Title.

Trustee A person who is legally authorized to represent a trust. The principal trustee can sign to buy or sell a vehicle in the trust's name. The application must include a completed MV2790 Trustee Statement for Certificate of Title.

Unincorporated Community If you select a community that is unincorporated, eMV Public will change it to the nearest, larger community. This change will not show on the Vehicle Kept In Information screen but will show on the Confirmation screen and on the receipt.

Vehicle Color The major color of the vehicle, make a selection from the options provided.

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) A unique number assigned to a motor vehicle by the manufacturer. The VIN is the most common identifier for a motor vehicle.

Vehicle Kept In County Choose the Wisconsin county where you keep your motor vehicle for the greatest length of time during the registration period. This location may identify a vehicle as being subject to emission inspection maintenance, or a specific tax such as county, stadium, sales, use and/or wheel tax.

Vehicle Kept Out-of-State Choose this option if your motor vehicle is kept out-of-state for the greatest length of time during the registration period. If kept out of state, the vehicle kept in location on your renewal notice will show UNKNOWN.

Vehicle Make The brand name of a vehicle as determined by the manufacturer. Examples are Dodge, Ford, Honda, GM, etc.

Vehicle Type Autos, light trucks and motorcycles are the only types of vehicles eligible for processing in eMV Public. See Vehicle/plate/registration type abbreviations for more information.

Wheel Tax A fee due if you are purchasing or renewing license plates for an auto or light truck and the vehicle is kept in a city, town, village, or county that collects this fee to maintain streets.

Wisconsin Driver License # or Identification (ID) Card # - A unique number consisting of a letter followed by 13 digits assigned to your Wisconsin Driver License or ID card. An ID card can be used for identification like a driver license, but the person who owns it is not authorized to drive. Only a Wisconsin Driver License # or ID Card number can be used in eMV Public; for example, N000-0000-0000-00.

WI Plate to Transfer Enter the Wisconsin license plate number you would like to transfer to your new vehicle. If your license plates will expire soon, you will be able to renew the plates. For more information, see Transfer Existing Plate.

Questions? Contact the eMV support team
Last modified: September 6, 2012

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