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Registering an Offroad Vehicle | Tags, Plates, and Stickers

Getting a title and registration for an off-road vehicle is one of the first things an owner should do after the acquisition. However, US states have different processes for titling and registering such vehicles. So, the question is: how can you register your off-road vehicle in your state and acquire the necessary documents for operating it?

The process for registering an off-road vehicle varies in each state. In fact, there are even some states that don’t require the title and registration of ORVs in their jurisdiction. States also vary when it comes to certifying the registration, which includes stickers, decals, plates, and tags.

Responsible owners of off-road vehicles should have their machines titled and registered, especially now that it’s easier to have everything you need. We’ll discuss the processes you need to take in each state to register an ORV and get the necessary certification to ride your vehicle legally.

Registering an Off-Road Vehicle in Every US State

Generally, off-road vehicles (ORVs) can’t operate on paved roads. Additionally, no one can ride an untitled and unregistered ORV on public land. There are some exemptions to this rule because some states allow such vehicles’ operation even without registration. However, most states still require a permit to use it on public land designed for ORVs.

It varies from state to state, so we created a table for you to use as a reference in registering off-road vehicles and acquiring the necessary tags, plates, stickers, or permits to operate on public land legally. If you’re visiting another state, it would be best to acquire the necessary license even before you transport your vehicle.

StateOff-Road Vehicle Registration
AlabamaUnder Section 40-2A-7(a)(5), Code of Alabama 1975, owners can’t register off-road vehicles or have it titled unless they meet specific requirements. Operators aren’t required to possess a driver’s license or safety courses to operate an ORV.
AlaskaThe Division of Motor Vehicles states that off-road vehicles aren’t titled in Alaska, but owners may have their ORVs registered. Snow machines aren’t titled as well but must be registered unless it only operates on private property.
ArizonaArizona’s Off-Highway Vehicles and Boating Registration allows owners to purchase OHV decals by completing the Off-Highway Decal Application. This permit allows the owner to ride his ORV for a full year before requiring renewal.
ArkansasUnder the Arkansas Statutes Title 27, all owners of off-road vehicles must register within 30 days after the acquisition. He should provide satisfactory proof of ownership or a bond that costs 1.5 times the ORV’s market value.
CaliforniaThe OHV California State Parks requires all off-road vehicles to have the identification plate from the Department of Motor Vehicles or the “California Green Sticker.” Owners only need to register their vehicles once every two years.
ColoradoThe Colorado Parks & Wildlife requires all off-highway vehicles (OHV), including out-of-state vehicles, to be registered at any Colorado Parks & Wildlife office. The OHV permit is valid for one whole year and allows the owner to use it on any area designated for such vehicles.
ConnecticutThe Department of Motor Vehicles requires all OHV to have the registration plate affixed to the vehicle’s rear section. Owners are also required to display their registration numbers on both sides of the front section.
DelawareThe Division of Motor Vehicles requires all OHV to be registered by an owner at least 18 years of age or accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. The registration certificate for an off-road vehicle is valid for three years.
FloridaAs of July 1, 2020, all OHV owners must purchase their permits through ReserveAmerica.com. After the purchase, you can take your receipt to an OHV forest office to claim your registration sticker.
GeorgiaThe State of Georgia doesn’t register or title all off-road vehicles. Non-residents may operate their ORV for 30 days without registration, while visitors may operate for 90 days without registration, as long as it has a valid license plate from the home state.
HawaiiRegistration of off-road vehicles in Hawaii starts with the Application for Registration. The fee will depend on the registration personnel, and the owner needs to provide satisfactory proof of ownership to proceed.
IdahoYou can purchase your OHV certificate from the Idaho State Parks & Recreation website. You can also buy your registration sticker from ReserveAmerica.com.
IllinoisEvery ORV owner should visit their local Secretary of State Driver Services to apply for a title certificate. CyberDriveIllinois.com provides all the documentation needed for the registration and titling of off-road vehicles.
IndianaThe Bureau of Motor Vehicles handles all the registration and titling of OHV. You can visit a local BMV branch or visit their website to get full documentation on what you’ll need to register your OHV and acquire the necessary permits.
IowaThe Iowa Department of Natural Resources provides detailed documentation of everything you need for titling and registration. All ORVs that the owner operates in public areas need to have a registration decal affixed to the front section. He should also have the registration certificate at all times.
KansasIn Kansas, ORVs are treated as motor vehicles that require titling and registration. 3-wheel ORVs are registered as motorcycles, while 4-wheel ORVs are registered as passenger cars. To register your vehicle, you can visit the website of the Department of Revenue.
KentuckyAll ORVs in Kentucky are required to be titled, but they are not registered. You’ll need a completed TC 96-182 form with an attached photo ID to start applying for the title certificate.
LouisianaYou will receive a registration decal within 30 days after acquiring your ORV. However, according to the 2015 Louisiana Laws Revised Statutes Title 32, if you want a title and registration for your ORV, the state won’t honor your application unless you have satisfactory proof that you’ve paid all sales tax.
MaineAll ORV registrations expire on June 30 in Maine. New registrations must be in front of an authorized agent. Residents and non-residents can complete the renewals of their ORVs through the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife’s website.
MarylandOwners of ORVs in Maryland should register their vehicles with the Department of Natural Resources annually. After the registration, you will receive a registration sticker that you need to affix to your ORV before riding it.
MassachusettsAll types of recreational vehicles in Massachusetts should be titled and registered. You can complete the process by visiting one of the local offices of the Boat and Recreation Vehicle Registration and Titling Bureau.
MichiganYou can acquire the title for your ORV through the Michigan Secretary of State. However, if you’re planning to use your vehicle on public land, you need to acquire an ORV decal from the Department of Natural Resources and renew it annually.
MinnesotaThe Department of Natural Resources handles all registration of off-road vehicles in the state. Registering and renewing should be done in person at any deputy registrar of motor vehicles.
MississippiAll ORVs with decals or plates declaring that the vehicle meets the Federal Safety Standards must be registered and titled through the state’s Department of Revenue. Without these decals and plates, Mississippi considers it a “toy vehicle” that can’t be titled or registered.
MissouriOwners have 30 days to pay all sales tax and acquire a title for their ORV. The Department of Revenue handles all titling and registration processes. They’ll also penalize owners who failed to title and register their vehicles before the 31st day.
MontanaResidents must register their ORV at the County Treasurer’s office where the owner resides. Non-residents can purchase an annual Nonresident Temporary Use Permit that expires every December 31.
NebraskaAll off-road vehicles are required to have a Certificate of Title before the owner can use it legally. To apply, the owner must submit one of the documents listed in the Department of Motor Vehicles’ website to the County Treasurer’s office.
NevadaThe Nevada Off-Highway Vehicles Program manages all the registration and titling process for ORV owners. All off-road vehicles must be registered annually and have their registration decal affixed to the vehicle before operating on public land or designated areas.
New HampshireORV owners who are operating their vehicles outside their property should have it registered. New Hampshire Fish and Game manages the registration of ORVs and has provided detailed documentation on how you can register your vehicle.
New JerseyThe state doesn’t require owners to acquire a permit or license to operate an off-road vehicle. However, they should still have it registered, and the operator must adhere to the guidelines listed on the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s website.
New MexicoThe state requires all owners to register their vehicles at any Motor Vehicle Division Field Office. Owners who want to operate their ORVs on paved roads should also have a valid Paved Road Use decal. 
New YorkThe Department of Motor Vehicles handles all titling and registration processes for ORVs that operate in the state. They’ve also provided detailed documentation on vehicles that fall under this category and the registration process.
North CarolinaThe Department of Motor Vehicles processes all titles and registration for ORVs in their jurisdiction. However, the requirement to acquire the certification to operate depends on the type of vehicle you own.
North DakotaBefore operating on public land, every owner should have their vehicles registered through the state’s Department of Transportation. Non-residents should acquire Non-Resident Public Trails and Lands Access Permit before they can operate legally.
OhioAll ORVs come with a 30-day temporary tag that allows the owner to use the vehicle on public land. However, owners should submit all the documents listed on the state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicle before the temporary tag expires.
OklahomaThe state requires all ORVs to be titled and registered before operating on public land. The owner should also pay all sales tax before he can even apply for a title and registration.
OregonVehicles should have operating permits (stickers) affixed to the front section before operating on public land. Anyone who owns an ORV can buy a permit on the State Parks’ online store.
PennsylvaniaThe state’s Department of Conservation & Natural Resources requires all ORV vehicles to be titled and registered before anyone can use it. Even if the owner will only use it on his property, he still needs to acquire a Limited Registration certificate for his vehicle.
Rhode IslandOperators don’t need a license or pass a safety course to ride an off-road vehicle. However, owners must have their vehicles registered with the Department of Environmental Management.
South CarolinaThe state’s Department of Motor Vehicles requires all off-road vehicles to be titled before operating on public land. The owner must submit all the documents listed on their website to complete the titling application.
South DakotaThe Department of Revenue Motor Vehicle Division requires all owners to have the Application for Motor Vehicle Title & Registration signed by an authorized agent with a Power of Attorney attached before getting an appointment for the registration.
TennesseeNot all ORVs qualify for a registration plate. You can refer to the Department of Revenue’s website for a list of vehicles that qualify for a plate, including the application’s processes.
TexasThe state categorizes ORVs as “unique vehicles,” and are required to be titled before they can operate on public land. However, vehicles designed for off-highway use aren’t eligible for registration. You can visit the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to check if yours fall into this category.
UtahThe Division of Motor Vehicles handles all ORV registrations. Before someone can operate, or even transport, an ORV on public land, the vehicle should have its OHV registration sticker affixed to it.
VermontRegistering an ORV for the first time should complete the entire Vermont Registration, Tax, and Title application. Once you have all the documents needed by the Department of Motor Vehicles, a registration plate will be assigned and mailed to you.
VirginiaOwners of new off-road vehicles that can displace more than 50cc should have their vehicles titled through the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. However, owners aren’t required to have it registered, and they can still operate legally even without it.
WashingtonThe Washington State Department of Licensing has different registration and licensing processes for various off-road vehicles. You can refer to their website to make your ORV legal for on and off-road operation.
West VirginiaThe state’s Division of Motor Vehicles handles the registration of ORVs with the exemption of vehicles used for farming, commercial use, and use within the property. They also have detailed documentation of everything that an owner needs to learn before riding an ORV.
WisconsinThe 2019 Wisconsin Act 183 expanded the models of ORVs eligible for registration. Before having it registered with the Department of Transportation, a vehicle should already have the registration decals and plate affixed to its rear and front sections.
WyomingTo legally operate an ORV in state, the owner needs to purchase the ORV Permit from ReserveAmerica.com. You can also order one through phone or via their selling agents found on the Wyoming Parks website.

Using Permits, Tags, Plates, and Stickers Correctly

Despite the differences in the law that US states have regarding the registration and titling of off-road vehicles, some things remain the same, such as the application of permits, tags, plates, and stickers.

Almost every US state requires a registration plate to be affixed at the rear of the vehicle. Some of them will even acknowledge these plates and may exempt you from the need for a permit to operate. The registration plate includes the registration number and the state where the vehicle is registered.

Registration stickers and tags should always be at the front section of the vehicle and attached to both sides of the ORV. Some states will have these mailed to you, while others will require you to have your registration number printed and affixed to the vehicle using a reflective material. Some states even use this as a requirement before you can acquire a permit to operate on public land designed for off-road vehicles.

Again, different states may impose different laws for the operation of ORVs, but knowing how to use them properly will make it easier for you to get the necessary permits. A title and registration certificate won’t be enough for an operator to use the vehicle in many states. It still needs a sticker affixed to the ORV, which you can order online, as long as you have the necessary documents.

Conclusion

Responsible ORV owners should make it a point to have their vehicles titled and registered unless the state doesn’t require or allow such vehicles to be registered. It’s the first step to legally operating your ORV.

Although some dealers can provide you with a temporary tag that allows you to use the vehicle, it only gives you enough time to process all the documents needed for the title and registration. It would be best to start working on them as soon as you acquired your ORV because many states only give new vehicles a 30-day temporary permit.

Levi Bath

I'm the co-creator of OffRoad Lifestyles. I live in Loveland, Colorado with my wife and 3 kids. My wife and I have spent a lot of time out on the sand dunes near Walden, CO and we both love offroading and camping.

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