California ATV Registration & OHV Permits

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If you plan to enjoy California’s off-road riding areas and trails, you’ll want to know the OHV permit requirements and ATV/UTV laws you’ll need to follow. 

This page will provide you with the details on OHV stickers and ATV registration for California residents and out-of-state visitors. 

For more information and other details regarding ATVs, UTVs, and other off-road vehicles and recreation areas, please visit: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/vehicle-registration/new-registration/register-an-off-highway-vehicle-ohv/ 

California ATV Registration Requirements & ORV Stickers

ATVs and other types of off-road vehicles require title and OHV registration. 

To apply, you’ll need to visit your local DMV office with the following:

OHV ID plates are valid for 2 years. 

Your OHV stickers will expire on June 30. 

Depending on the emissions ratings of your off-road vehicle, you’ll be issued either a Green Sticker or Red Sticker.

California OHV Decals: Green and Red ID Plates

Depending on the OHV you have, you’ll be issued either a Green Sticker or a Red Sticker. 

Green/Red sticker riding rules are governed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to control emissions at different times of the year. 

OHVs with a green sticker can be ridden on public lands and riding trails all year round. 

If your OHV has a red sticker, it can only be used during the Red Sticker Open Riding Schedule. 

ATVs and OHV with a “3” or “C” in the eighth position of the VIN will be issued a red sticker as they do not meet the emissions standards. 

Red sticker riding schedules can be found here: https://ohv.parks.ca.gov/pages/1234/files/2007%20carb%20revised%20riding%20seasons.pdf 

Where to Buy an OHV Permit in California?

You can get your OHV permit at your local CA DMV office or through an authorized dealer when you purchase an off-road vehicle. 

If you are an out-of-state resident, OHV permits can be purchased by mail or through an authorized vendor. See details below. 

California OHV Permits for Non-Residents

Out-of-state residents are required to purchase a Non-Resident OHV permit in order to ride their off-road vehicles in California. 

Nonresident permits are valid from the purchase date through December 31 of the same year. 

Green and Red Sticker rules will apply to out-of-state OHVs. 

You can purchase a permit online or by mail. 

To purchase an OHV permit online, visit: https://secure.cloudwisesolutions.com/app/products.html 

To apply by mail, you’ll need to complete an OHV Permit Order Form: https://ohv.parks.ca.gov/pages/1012/files/DPR346.pdf 

You can also purchase an OHV sticker from an authorized dealer. Visit the following link for a list a OHV permit vendors: https://ohv.parks.ca.gov/pages/1234/files/NR%202019%20web%20Vendor%20list.pdf 

Residents of Arizona must follow the AZ OHV Decal requirements. 

California OHV Permit Cost

The fees for Off-Highway Vehicle Permits are as follows:

  • 2-year registration: $54.
  • Renewal: $54. 
  • Non-resident OHV use permit: $30.

ATV & Off-Road Vehicle Laws in California

Be sure to check the rules, regulations and fees for the California off-road trails you plan on riding. Local laws and regulations may vary. 

Children must only ride ATVs suitable for their size and safe operation. 

You are not allowed to ride your ATV faster than is reasonable for the current conditions. 

When you are riding within 50 feet of campsites, animals, or people, the speed limit is 15 mph. 

Riders of all ages are required to wear a DOT-approved helmet. 

Riders aged 14-17 must pass an ATV Safety course and be supervised by an adult with an ATV safety certificate. 

Riders under 14 years old must be directly supervised by an authorized adult. If the child does not have an ATV Safety Certificate, the supervising adult must have one. 

Regardless of whether a particular state or trail requires it, ATV/UTV and dirt bike riders and passengers should always wear the proper safety equipment and helmets while riding. 

Never operate an off-road vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

Failing to obey the off-road vehicle laws of California and the local jurisdiction may result in tickets, fines, and penalties. 

Check out some of these other great ATV/UTV and dirt bike resources from MotorcycleZombies.com:

ATV & UTV Insurance

Dirt Bike Insurance

ATV vs. UTV

ATV Age Ranges

What to Wear ATV Riding

How to Ride an ATV

How to Ride a Dirt Bike

How Fast is a Dirt Bike?