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Motorcycle Registration


Motorcycle Registration

Registering a motorcycle in California is basically the same as that for registering a car or registering a new, out-of-state, or never before registered vehicle you'll need proof of ownership (like your title, or the name and address of the lien holder, if you have a loan); and insurance. Unlike cars, however, motorcycles do not require a smog check.

Miniature Motorcycles

Miniature vehicles, also known as mini-choppers or pocket bikes, do not meet Federal Safety Standards and cannot be registered or operated on public streets.

Motorized Scooter Registration

Motorized Scooters do not require registration, but local authorities can regulate registration of these vehicles. Riders must also be at least 16 years old, possess a valid driver license or permit, and wear a helmet to operate.

Changing Ownership

Changing ownership of a motorcycle is similar to the changing ownership of a vehicle. Here is a checklist of what you will need to transfer a motorcycle. Transfers between family members have different requirements; see our family transfer information for those requirements.

Off-Highway Registration

Off-highway vehicles (OHV) are vehicles such as motorcycles, trail bikes, dune buggies, all-terrain vehicles, and snowmobiles that are operated exclusively off public roads and highways. A vehicle operated in this manner must be registered as an OHV unless it is registered for regular highway use and is not otherwise exempt from registration. Off-Highway Registration Information..

Insurance Non-Use Registration

Before removing your motorcycle from your insurance policy, read here. Non-Use Registration

Planned Non-Operation

If you plan to store and not operate your motorcycle during the next renewal year, you may apply for the Planned Non-Operation (PNO).

Anyone who has a currently registered California auto, truck, trailer, or motorcycle may order these license plates. Motorcycle plates are not yet available for all special interest plate programs.

What license plates are available and how much do they cost?

Special Interest License Plates have a special graphic design depicting an image relative to the organization's interest. They are available with configurations of numbers, letters, or both, which have been personally chosen by the applicant (personalized) or are standard issue configurations (sequential). Environmental License Plates are the standard California plates, which do not have graphics, and are only available with personalized configurations. View available plates

Special Interest Plate Q & A

Q. Are motorcycle license plates available in personalized configurations?
A. Yes, personalized motorcycle license plates can be ordered online via the following link. Specialized Interest and Personalized Plates online application.

Special interest plates for motorcycles are also available, either as sequential or personalized plates. Personalized motorcycle plates can be ordered online, but all special interest motorcycle plates must be ordered using the Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) (PDF).

Q. Are the special recognition military plates available for motorcycles?
A. Yes, Ex-Prisoners of War (POW), Purple Heart recipients, and Gold Star Family members may obtain a special recognition military plate for their motorcycle. These types of plates may be ordered using the Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) (PDF).

The Purple Heart or the Gold Star Family motorcycle plates may be ordered on the Special License Plate Application (REG 17A)

Additional documentation will be required for all Special Recognition Military License Plates.

Q. Are Disabled Person (DP) or Disabled Veteran (DV) license plates available for motorcycles?
A. Yes, DP and DV motorcycle license plates are available.

DP plates may be ordered with the Application for Disabled Person Placard and Plates (REG 195) (PDF).

DV plates may be ordered using the Miscellaneous Certifications Form (REG 256A) (PDF).

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