An Insider’s Tip on US Car Registration When Living in Mexico

After you’ve been in Mexico for a while, you’ll notice that a lot of foreign-plated cars are from South Dakota.  For those not “in the know”, this can be a bit puzzling, because with a ranking of 47 out of 50 US states in population, it does seem a bit odd that so many people from South Dakota have moved to Mexico.

The answer, of course, is that they have not.  I would doubt that even a small percentage of those driving with South Dakota plates have ever even been to South Dakota.

Then what’s the reason for all those South Dakota license plates?  There are three of them:

  1. The cost of car registration in South Dakota is less expensive than most other states.
  1. South Dakota does not require emissions testing.  This would be important to you if your car’s existing license plates were from a state or area that required emissions testing on some time-based interval.  If this applies to you, then in order to comply with your state’s requirements to license your car, you would have to drive back every so often and get it tested.  Registering your car in South Dakota avoids that.
  1. The government of South Dakota is happy to do it, knowing full well your situation.  Just call the Clay Country Treasurer.

If, after checking with your insurance agent to see how or if your coverage would be impacted, you would rather have your car registration be from South Dakota, contact the South Dakota Clay County Treasurer in more than enough time to have them ship you your new plates while you’re NOB. (“North of the Border”; the US and Canada).  They won’t ship your plates or stickers to Mexico.