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OHV Registration

An Off-Highway Motor Vehicle (OHMV) also commonly referred to as an off-highway vehicle (OHV) is any motor vehicle operated on publicly accessible lands, including registered highway vehicles. Any such motor vehicle that is not registered because it is to be operated exclusively off the highways is required to be issued and display an identification plate by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This identification plate is commonly referred to as a "California Green Sticker." Identification, also referred to as "OHV Registration," is the equivalent of registration for OHVs, and has the same meaning. The registration fee is $52 per vehicle, and is valid for a two-year period. The OHV fees are used for acquisition of new OHV areas, development and operation of existing OHV areas, enforcement of the rules and regulations, and protection of the natural resources. For additional information regarding the OHMVR Green and Red Sticker Fees, please download the OHMVR Information Bulletin dated April 24, 2009.

DMV will issue a Green or Red Sticker for your off-highway vehicles. Vehicles which can be operated both on- and off-highway will be given a street-legal license.

OHV Registration Requirements

 Street-Legal License Plate:  Green sticker identification is not required for properly registered vehicles with a license plate. However, the plate must be properly displayed at all times, including off-highway.

Green and Red Sticker Images Green or Red Sticker:  If you are going to operate a motorized vehicle off-highway only,  you must have either a Green Sticker or a Red Sticker that has been issued by the DMV.

The Green Sticker indicates vehicles allowed to operate on public lands open to motor vehicles all year.  The Red Sticker is issued to motorcycles and ATVs model year 2003 and newer that do not meet the emission standards established by the California Air Resources Board (ARB). Vehicles not certified to meet ARB standards are required to indicate a "3" or a "C" in the eighth position of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

The Red Sticker is valid identification, the same as the Green Sticker except these vehicles can only be operated in specific areas during certain times of the year. To find out when you can operate your vehicle, call the specific riding area you want to visit or view the information on the Red Sticker Open Riding Schedule web page.

Nonresident OHV Use Permit Image Nonresident OHV Use Permit:  Out-of-state visitors to California OHV areas, please refer to the Nonresident OHV Use Permit web page. If you are an Arizona resident, please go to the Arizona OHV Decal Program web page. Non-California residents must comply with the California Air Resources Board Red Sticker riding season requirements.

 Closed Course Competition Transportation Permit:  Vehicles used exclusively in sanctioned closed course racing events and motorcycles manufactured 1942 or prior are exempt from registration and identification requiremets. Some race courses can be designated as a closed course. A Transportation Permit must be obtained from DMV to transport your vehicle to and from a race course.

This is only an excerpt of laws relating to OHV recreation. For a complete list, see Division 16.5 of the California Vehicle Code available at DMV offices or on the California Vehicle Code Division 16.5 web page.