Off-highway motorcycle registration and general information
The Wisconsin DNR provides registration services for off-highway motorcycles. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation issues titles and/or registration (license plates) for highway use of motorcycles.
Definition of off-highway motorcycle
Wisconsin law State Statute 23.335(1)(q) defines off-highway motorcycle (OHM) as a 2-wheeled motor vehicle that is straddled by the operator, that is equipped with handlebars and that is designed for use off a highway, regardless of whether or not it is also designed for use on a highway.
OHM registration requirements
All OHMs must apply for Wisconsin public use registration if they are operated or intend to operate on designated OHM trails, areas that are specifically open to the public for recreational OHM use, designated and signed OHM road routes and while otherwise operating legally on or adjacent to public highways. Private use registration is required for OHM used for operating on roads for agricultural purposes.
- Exemptions to registration
OHMs are exempt from registration if:
- Weekend exemption. A person may operate an off-highway motorcycle off the highways in this state during the first full weekend in June of each year without registering the off-highway motorcycle.
- The OHM will be operated exclusively in racing on a raceway facility or as part of a special off-highway motorcycle event as authorized by law.
- The OHM displays a commercial registration plate or sign attached in the manner authorized by law.
- The OHM is present in this state for a period not to exceed 15 days, and is used exclusively as part of an advertisement being made for the manufacturer of the OHM.
- The OHM is owned or leased by the United States, another state, or a political subdivision thereof and used for maintenance, enforcement, or emergency purposes, provided the name of the owner or lessee is displayed in a visible manner on the exterior of the OHM.
- The OHM is owned or leased by the state or a political subdivision of the state and used for maintenance, enforcement, or emergency purposes, provided the name of the owner or lessee is displayed in a visible manner on the exterior of the OHM.
Transfer of ownership
fee: $5 to transfer; separate registration fee
Upon transfer of ownership of an off-highway motorcycle that is registered for public or private use, the seller must give the OHM registration certificate to the buyer at the time of the transfer. The buyer must complete an application for transfer within 10 days after the date of the transfer if the buyer intends to operate the off-highway motorcycle off the highways, per Wisconsin state statute 23.335(3)(e). OHM dealers are required by Wisconsin state statute 23.335(3)(b) to submit registration application to the DNR within 7 days after the date of sale and furnish the buyer with a validated (i.e. signed by dealership) registration receipt.
Display of registration decals
The OHM registration decal must be affixed to the exterior of the OHM by its own adhesive and clearly visible to law enforcement at all times. Only one decal is issued to each OHM. The registration certificate must also be carried with the operator at all times and displayed to law enforcement upon request. You can legally operate your OHM while carrying the temporary operating receipt while waiting for your new decals to arrive in the mail.
Off-highway motorcycle registration types
- Wisconsin public registration
fee: $30 first-time registration; $30 2-year renewal
Valid for legal operation on areas open to OHMs for public use, road routes and other legal roadway use as specified by law. Not valid for agricultural use. Valid for up to 2 years, beginning April 1st and expiring two years later on March 31st.
- Wisconsin private registration. This is a voluntary registration; not required.
fee $15, valid until transferred
Valid for use exclusively on private lands owned by the applicant or by an immediate family member. (Wisconsin State Statute 23.335(1)(j) “Immediate family" means persons who are related as spouses, who are related as siblings, or who are related as parent and child.) This type of registration remains valid until ownership is transferred.
- Wisconsin private use, agricultural registrations
fee: $15, valid until transferred
Valid for machines used for an agricultural purpose. Agricultural purpose includes a purpose related to the transportation of farm implements, equipment, supplies, or products on a farm or between farms. It is valid during operation on public roads for agricultural purposes but is not valid for recreational operation on public lands open to OHMs. This type of registration remains valid until ownership is transferred. Owners must also register their machines for public use if they intend to ride on public trails.
Non-resident trail passes will be available beginning April 1, 2021. Until then, all non-resident owners must purchase Wisconsin public use registration to operate on OHM routes or areas available to the public for the recreational use of off-highway motorcycles. Following April 1, 2021, a non-resident OHM owner may display either a Wisconsin public use registration or a non-resident trail pass to operate on OHM routes or areas available to the public for the recreational use of off-highway motorcycles.
- Commercial dealer
If you are an OHM manufacturer or dealer and operate this business within this state, you must register with the DNR and obtain a commercial OHM certificate. The DNR will then issue you 3 commercial registration decals and 3 OHM commercial certificates. Your commercial registration decal must be affixed to a plate (of your own design) that is clearly displayed and mounted to each OHM you lease, rent, offer for test-drives or otherwise allow to be operated as part of your business. Fee: $90. You can purchase additional decals from the DNR. Fee: $30 per decal and $5 for each OHM certificate.
- Commercial Off-Highway Motorcycle Dealer Registration Application (Form 9400-589)
- Allow up to two weeks for delivery.
How to register your off-highway motorcycle
All decals and certificates are mailed regardless which service option you select.
Visit GoWild.wi.gov to complete your OHM registration. You can renew the registration of an OHM already listed in your name, as well as register a recently purchased OHM into your name. Online registration allows you to print a temporary operating receipt valid for 21 days that you may use to ride while we mail your decals and registration card. You can also order replacement decals and registration cards.
- Local sales agents
RENEWAL REGISTRATION SERVICES ONLY: DNR license sales agents can renew the registration of a OHM already listed in your name. Sales agents provide a 21-day temporary operating receipt that you may use to ride your OHM prior to receiving the registration decals in the mail. If you need to register an OHM into your name, you must use the website GoWild.wi.gov, mail in an application, or visit a DNR Service Center.
- DNR service centers
DNR service locations can renew the registration of an OHM already listed in your name, as well as register a recently purchased OHM into your name. DNR will provide a 21-day temporary operating receipt that you may use to ride your OHM prior to receiving the registration decals in the mail. You can also order replacement decals and replacement registration cards. Registration services are also available for all-terrain (ATV) vehicles, utility-terrain vehicles (UTV), boats and snowmobiles.
- By mail
Complete the Off-Highway Motorcycle Registration Application Form 9400-609 and mail the application with appropriate fees to the address provided on the form. If the decals have expired, applicants must wait to receive materials in the mail before they can operate their OHM.
- Purchased from a commercial OHM Wisconsin dealer
At the time of the sale, the Wisconsin OHM dealer will complete and submit a OHM registration application on your behalf. Your copy of the application form signed by the dealer or a temporary operating receipt must be carried with you while operating the OHM until your decals and registration certificate arrive in the mail. Dealers are to submit registration to the DNR within 7 days of the sale.
Updating your contact information
Within 15 days of changing your address, you must notify the DNR stating your new address and the certificate number for the machine you own. This process is important to complete so that you receive a registration renewal notification by mail. Access your Wisconsin DNR customer account at GoWild.WI.Gov to update your customer record. You can call also send an e-mail CSWEB@wisconsin.gov or contact the DNR Call Center.
OHM was sold or junked
You may update the vehicle’s information online through your DNR customer account or by notifying the department via email. To update the information online, you should access your customer account at GoWild.wi.gov, select “my vehicles” and click on the “update” button. To notify the department via email, send an email to CSWEB@wisconsin.gov, the message must include the following information: whether the OHM has been sold or junked; your first and last name; customer identification number (if known); the OHM Wisconsin registration number (i.e. OM-9999-ZZ); or any other information that may assist the department in identifying the vehicle. The OHM will be removed from your list of active registered recreational vehicles.