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Old 04-22-2017, 10:08 AM   #1
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Wisconsin License and Titling

Since we hijacked another thread with this discussion and to hopefully make it easier for future Cheesehead buyers to search and find this info, I thought I'd try to consolidate our experiences on its own thread

Background, before ETI started handling all the importation process, the universal experience had been that the DMV would not do anything with license and titling until the trailer was back in Wisconsin and all the import documents stamped at the border. Now with ETI handling the importation, the hope was that the process would become easier. But it seems, if anything, that it has become more confusing and capricious.

I'll try to summarize what has happened so far - participants please make corrections to anything I say.

Jimrules said "Did you go to the east side or west side DMV? We tried to register ours at the east side before we picked it up and got denied. We were told that we had to have a STAMPED import document to prove that it was already imported.

When we got back with the stamped import documents the guy at the information desk told us we would probably need to talk to "research" first, but we tried anyway. The clerk we got was great and we walked out with our plate, no problem.

Sounds like another case of luck of the draw."


bsmoke said he was easily able to get plates with Tammy's paperwork and get a license plate to take along: "I had no problem getting my plate at the Madison, Wisconsin DMV a few weeks ago with the paperwork that Escape sent. Took about 20 minutes. Pick up trailer on June 2nd."

My experience was: "In La Crosse, they made me send it in to the "Research" dept at the Madison main office and maybe I'll get my license and title back in 8 weeks they said... So it's in their hands now, no way for me to take it in.... I'm still working on my local police chief for a 90 day temp plate - we'll see... But I've got a copy of my check paying the fees and tax, and copies of all the paperwork that I will be taking along."

On the DMV website it makes reference to being able to use proof of payment to the DMV on mailed in applications and being able to get a 90 day temporary plate with that. I am currently exploring that option, but the La Crosse DMV flat out said no when I asked about a temp plate when there before they said I had to mail it all in.
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Old 04-22-2017, 11:54 AM   #2
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My experience, use DMV vehicle registration form to send bill of sale, import form, and check for tax and fees to state office. Tape your copy of registration form to inside back window of the trailer. Go camping. I waited a month for plates, no problem in the meantime. I drove back from BC with the form taped to the window.

On bill of sale be sure to highlight the conversion to US $.
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Old 04-22-2017, 11:58 AM   #3
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My experience, use DMV vehicle registration form to send bill of sale, import form, and check for tax and fees to state office. Tape your copy of registration form to inside back window of the trailer. Go camping. I waited a month for plates, no problem in the meantime. I drove back from BC with the form taped to the window.

On bill of sale be sure to highlight the conversion to US $.
This was in Wisconsin, correct?
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Old 04-22-2017, 01:00 PM   #4
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Yes, Wisconsin.
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Old 04-22-2017, 01:54 PM   #5
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There is a time period for registering your trailer with the State of Wisconsin. I was told when I registered my trailer that you have ten days after the trailer enters the State of Wisconsin to get it legally registered . The reason I was given for the rule was that the State of Wisconsin wants their sales tax , registration fees and license fees NOW not later .
Technically if you go past the ten day grace period , then you are guilty of tax evasion.
The DMV clerk in Rice Lake , Wisconsin may have been wrong but by the look on her face , I don't believe she was joking !!
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Old 04-22-2017, 02:02 PM   #6
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All kinds of contradictory info from the DMV. The clerk in La Crosse told me I only had two days! But since I sent in my full payment check for license, title and taxes along with all my paperwork to the mysterious "research" department, I've at least got that covered.

If I do get pulled over anywhere, I'll try to dazzle them with paperwork.
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Old 04-22-2017, 05:08 PM   #7
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Yes, about three years ago DMV decided that all imported trailers have to be registered through their offices at Hill Farms in Madison. That does not mean you can drive up, walk in and expect counter service. No, everything is done through the mail. There is no reason to go to your local office, all they will do is give you is the form to complete and mail in. You can get the form online.

Mine took about six weeks to get the plate. One thing you could do Is mail the registration once you have crossed the border to the US. Take a photo of the completed registration, your check and the envelope. If you are really cautious send it registered mail and keep your receipt. You can put one of those LAF cards for your license plate but I think that just calls attention to the fact you do not have a license.

Most law enforcement are not looking for Escapes without tags and will accept most any documentation you can show them. Crooks do not usually have import papers.
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Old 04-22-2017, 05:20 PM   #8
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Yes, about three years ago DMV decided that all imported trailers have to be registered through their offices at Hill Farms in Madison. That does not mean you can drive up, walk in and expect counter service......
Well, unless you get lucky like Jim or exceptionally lucky like bsmoke! At least the inconsistency seems consistent....
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Old 04-22-2017, 10:08 PM   #9
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I was at the Madison East DMV at 2001 Bartillion Dr.
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Old 04-22-2017, 10:24 PM   #10
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I was at the Madison East DMV at 2001 Bartillion Dr.
You won the sweepstakes there Bruce. No one else (that we know about) has ever gotten a plate to take with them.
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