Do Trailers Need License Plates In Minnesota?

In Minnesota, the regulations regarding license plates for trailers can be somewhat confusing for residents and visitors alike. Understanding whether trailers need license plates in Minnesota requires delving into state laws and regulations. Let’s explore the requirements, exemptions, and considerations surrounding this topic.

Overview of Trailer License Plate Requirements

General Requirement: In Minnesota, most trailers are required to have license plates.

Definition of a Trailer: According to Minnesota law, a trailer is any vehicle that is designed and used for carrying property or passengers on its own structure and for being drawn by a motor vehicle.

License Plate Display: Trailers must display a valid license plate in accordance with Minnesota law.

Exemptions and Special Cases

Exemptions and Special Cases

Exemptions: There are certain exemptions to the trailer license plate requirement in Minnesota.

Farm Trailers: Some farm trailers may be exempt from license plate requirements under specific conditions, such as when used exclusively for agricultural purposes.

Specialty Trailers: Certain specialty trailers, such as those used for construction or certain recreational purposes, may have different requirements or exemptions.

Temporary Permits: In some cases, temporary permits may be available for trailers that do not have permanent license plates. These permits typically have specific time limits and requirements.

Requirements for Out-of-State Trailers

Visitors and Non-Residents: Out-of-state trailers used in Minnesota may be subject to different regulations depending on their home state.

Temporary Operation: Some states allow for temporary operation of trailers without plates when visiting Minnesota for a short duration. However, it’s essential to check the specific requirements and limitations.

Minnesota Trailer License Plate Regulations – In-Depth Analysis

Trailer Registration Process

Ownership DocumentationProvide proof of ownership (title or bill of sale)
Application FormComplete the appropriate registration application form
Fee PaymentPay registration fee based on trailer’s weight and use
Inspection (if applicable)Undergo inspection to meet safety standards
Issuance of License PlateReceive license plate after completing registration process

Understanding the trailer registration process is essential to ensure legal compliance and obtain a license plate for your trailer in Minnesota. Similarly, when it comes to motorcycles, one might wonder, ‘Do motorcycles need license plate lights?’

Renewal and Transfer of Trailer Registration

Renewal and Transfer of Trailer Registration

Renewal: Trailer registrations typically expire after a certain period, and owners must renew their registration to maintain legal compliance. Renewal can usually be done online, by mail, or in person at a designated registration office.

Transfer of Ownership: If ownership of a trailer changes hands, the new owner must complete the necessary transfer of registration to ensure the trailer remains legally registered.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Failure to comply with trailer registration requirements in Minnesota can result in various penalties, including fines, registration suspension, or even impoundment of the trailer. 

It’s essential for trailer owners to understand and adhere to all applicable regulations to avoid these consequences.


Are all trailers required to have license plates in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, most trailers must have license plates displayed in accordance with state law.

Are there any exemptions to the trailer license plate requirement?

Certain farm trailers and specialty trailers may be exempt from license plate requirements under specific conditions.

Can out-of-state trailers operate in Minnesota without license plates?

Out-of-state trailers used in Minnesota may be subject to different regulations depending on their home state, but generally, trailers must comply with Minnesota’s requirements.


In Minnesota, trailers generally need license plates to legally operate on public roads. There are exemptions and special cases to consider, and out-of-state trailers may have different requirements. 

Understanding and complying with trailer registration regulations is crucial for trailer owners to ensure legal compliance and avoid potential penalties. 

If you have any questions or need further clarification regarding trailer license plate requirements in Minnesota, it’s advisable to consult with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety or a qualified legal professional.

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