Off-Highway Vehicle Registration

Natural Elements 3

OHVs are motor vehicles that are used only off public roads and highways, on lands that are open and accessible to the public. OHVs such as all-terrain vehicles, trail bikes, racing motorcycles, dune buggies, and snowmobiles do not require regular vehicle registration, but they must display an ID plate or placard issued by DMV.

To register your OHV, you will need:

You might also need:

OHVs must be identified as such unless they are registered for on-highway use or are exempt from identification. California Vehicle Code (CVC) §§38006, 38010, 38012, and 38013

For OHV-designated riding areas, see the California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation page.

Frequently Asked Questions

OHVs display a DMV-issued identification (ID). A new ID plate is issued every two years at the time of registration renewal.

Off-highway vehicles are issued either a green or red ID plate depending on their manufacturing date.

  • Green ID plates are issued to new vehicles that comply with California Air Resources Board (CARB) emissions standards — snowmobiles, amphibious vehicles, dune/sand buggies, golf carts, and all off-highway vehicles manufactured before 2002.
  • Red ID plates are issued to vehicles manufactured after 2003 that do not meet CARB emission standards.

OHVs not certified to meet CARB standards have a “3” or “C” in the eighth position of their vehicle ID number.

OHV IDs expire on June 30 of the second calendar year following the original OHV ID. In order to avoid a 50% late fee penalty, renewal fees must be received or mailed and postmarked on or before June 30.

Fees cannot be prorated, even if paid late.

When you pay your renewal fees, you will be issued a new ID certificate (registration card) and ID plate.

Vehicles exempt from OHV ID include, but are not limited to:

  • Special mobile/construction equipment.
  • OHVs owned by exempt agencies.
  • Forklift trucks.
  • Golf carts.
  • Self-propelled wheelchairs.
  • Certain racing motorcycles.
  • Motorized bicycles (mopeds).
  • Vehicles owned or operated by an out-of-state resident with a valid driver license issued by another state or foreign jurisdiction. (See CVC §38010 for all OHV ID exemptions.)

OHV motorcycles used solely in organized racing or competitive events on a closed course such as speedways, racetracks, or defined routes of travel (on- or off-highway) cannot be registered as off-highway vehicles, as closed courses are not available for vehicle access by the general public other than event participants. (CVC §§38014, 38088)

However, racing motorcycles may be issued a permit for a fee that allows transportation to/from course events. The permit is a sticker that must be mounted on the vehicle in a clearly visible location. The permit remains valid until the vehicle is sold or dismantled.

If you do not want to renew your OHV ID, you must file for planned non-operation (PNO) status by completing a Certificate of Non-Operation/Planned Non Operation Certification (REG 102) form and submitting it by June 30, with the PNO fee.

If you do not file for PNO or renew the ID certificate, your account will go into collection, your wages might be garnished levied by a ban.

If your OHV ID is lost or damaged, you must apply for a duplicate certificate of title, ID certificate, or substitute ID plate.

Yes. If you recently bought an OHV, you must be sure to transfer the title. If you sold your OHV, the new owner should complete the title transfer.

To register your new OHV, you will need:

  • The California Certificate of Title or, if lost, a REG 227 endorsed for transfer.
  • A transfer fee.
  • A renewal fee if the registration is expired or the transfer occurs after May 30 of the expiration year.
  • Use tax, if due.

To change to off-highway ID, submit:

To be eligible for on-highway registration, your OHV must be manufactured for both on y off-highway use.

Motorcycles manufactured after 1978 with an engine size of 50 cc or larger must have a label indicating that the vehicle meets CARB emission standards and a manufacturer’s certification for on-highway use.

ATVs do not meet federal standards for on-highway use and cannot be converted.

If your OHV has a red ID plate, it cannot be registered for on-highway use.

Exceptions:

  • Motorcycles manufactured before 2005 with an engine size of less than 50 cc are exempted from emission label requirements.
  • Motorcycles manufactured after 2006 with an engine size of less than 50 cc may have a label indicating that they meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for on-highway use in lieu of a CARB label.

Emission systems cannot be altered to qualify for on-highway registration. For emission information, see the CARB website at www.arb.ca.gov or call 1-800-242-4450.

Need something else?