Snowmobile registration and general information
The Wisconsin DNR provides registration services for snowmobiles. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation issues titles and/or registration (license plates) for some trailers.
Definition of snowmobile
Wisconsin law ss 340.01(58a) defines a snowmobile is an engine-driven vehicle that is manufactured solely for snowmobiling that has an endless belt tread and sled-type runners, or skis, to be used in contact with snow. All snowmobiles must be 48 inches wide or less. This includes a child-sized snowmobile.
- Child-sized snowmobile information
- A child-sized snowmobile is a snowmobile that is powered by a four horsepower (approximately 120 cubic centimeters in size) or less engine.
- Refer to Wisconsin Snowmobile Laws pamphlet LE-201 [PDF] for child’s snowmobile and age-riding restrictions.
Vehicles not considered snowmobiles
A vehicle that has inflatable tires is not considered a snowmobile even if skis are attached. An ATV or similar machine that is converted with an aftermarket kit, complete with skis and a track cannot be registered as a snowmobile and cannot be driven on public snowmobile trails.
Snowmobile registration requirements
All snowmobiles kept in Wisconsin for more than 15 consecutive days must be registered in Wisconsin unless an exemption to registration applies. Display — Unless there is an exemption, your snowmobile must display current registration decals, which must be prominently visible on both sides of the cowling. Note: A snowmobile trail pass may also be required.
- Exemptions to registration
Snowmobiles are exempt from Wisconsin registration under any of the following conditions.
- The snowmobile displays current out of state registration and a valid Wisconsin Nonresident Snowmobile Trail Pass.
- The snowmobile is used exclusively for racing on a racing facility.
- The snowmobile is owned by the United States or a political subdivision of the state. The name and owner of the snowmobile must be displayed on the cowling.
- The snowmobile is registered under a DNR agreement with a federally registered Indian Tribe or Band and operated for less than 15 days off the reservation boundary.
Transfer of ownership
fee: $5 to transfer; registration and trail pass fees are additional costs
Upon transfer of ownership of a snowmobile for which a registration certificate has been issued, the seller must give the snowmobile 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 transfer, per Wisconsin State Statute 350.12(3)(a)3. Snowmobile dealers are required by Wisconsin State Statute 350.125 to submit registration application to the DNR within 5 days after the date of sale and furnish the buyer with a validated (i.e. signed by dealership) registration receipt.
Display of decals
The snowmobile registration decals must be affixed on both sides of the cowling of the snowmobile by its own adhesive and clearly visible to law enforcement at all times. Two decals are issued to each snowmobile. When required, the snowmobile trail pass must also be affixed to the snowmobile windshield. 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 snowmobile while carrying the temporary operating receipt while waiting for your new decals to arrive in the mail.
Snowmobile registration types
Snowmobiles are to be registered within 10 days from date of purchase. Snowmobile dealers are required by Wisconsin state statute 350.125 to submit registration application to the DNR within 5 days after the date of sale and furnish the buyer with a validated (i.e. signed by dealership) registration receipt. A $5 transfer fee is required to transfer the registration certificate of a snowmobile already registered in Wisconsin to a new registrant. Note: A snowmobile trail pass may also be required for operation on public trails.
- Wisconsin public registration
fee: $30 first-time registration; $30 3-year renewal
Public use registration allows you to operate your snowmobile on any area open to public riding and on private property with the appropriate permission. A snowmobile trail pass is also required to operate a snowmobile on a snowmobile trail or corridor. Wisconsin public registration is valid for up to 3 years, which begins July 1st and expires June 30th three years later.
- If you register your snowmobile for public use on or after April 1 of a given year through December 31 of the same year, the registration period will end on June 30 of the third year.
- If you register your snowmobile on or after January 1 through March 31 in a given year, the registration period will include the remaining months of the current season’s registration, plus an additional 2 years.
- Wisconsin private registration
fee: $0, valid until transferred
Wisconsin private use registration allows a property owner to register a snowmobile for his/her use or an immediate family member’s use. (Wisconsin State Statute 350.01(8m) “Immediate family" means persons who are related as spouses, as siblings or as parent and child.) However, the snowmobile can only be used on the owner’s immediate family member’s private property or lands leased by the owner/immediate family member. Private use registrations are valid for the length of ownership of the snowmobile, and do not expire. The proof of registration must be carried with you while riding and must be presented to an enforcement officer when requested. Fee: $0.
NOTE: A snowmobile that is used on the private property belonging to someone other than immediate family (including relatives who are not considered “immediate family,”) or used at any time in any areas open to public riding should be registered for Wisconsin public use.
- Wisconsin antique registrations
fee: $20 first-time registration; $5 3-year renewal
Snowmobiles 35 years and older may be registered as antique. Antique registration allows you to operate your snowmobile on any area open to public riding and on private property with the appropriate permission. Snowmobiles registered as antique are also exempt from displaying a snowmobile trail pass. Antique registrations are valid for 3 years, which begins July 1 and expires June 30th three years later. The proof of registration must be carried with you while riding and must be presented to an enforcement officer when requested. Fee: $20. Renewal Fee: $5.
As a nonresident, you may operate your snowmobile in Wisconsin with a nonresident snowmobile trail pass issued by the Wisconsin DNR and your state’s current registration as long as the decal or proof of registration from your home state is prominently displayed, and the snowmobile has not been in Wisconsin for more than 15 consecutive days. The proof of registration from your home state must be carried with you while riding and must be presented to an enforcement officer when requested. Once your out of state registered snowmobile has been in Wisconsin for longer than 15 consecutive days, it MUST be registered in Wisconsin.
- Commercial dealer
If you are a snowmobile manufacturer, dealer, distributor, rental agency, or any combination thereof and operate this business within this state, you must register with the DNR and obtain a commercial snowmobile certificate. The DNR will then issue you 3 commercial registration decals. Your commercial registration decal must be affixed to a plate (of your own design) that is clearly displayed and mounted to each snowmobile 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. A Wisconsin snowmobile trail pass is also required if used on public trails.
How to register your snowmobile
All decals, certificates and trail passes are mailed, regardless which service option you select.
Visit GoWild.wi.gov to complete your snowmobile registration. You can renew the registration of a snowmobile already listed in your name, as well as register a recently purchased snowmobile into your name. Online registration allows you to print a temporary operating receipt valid for 21 days that you may use to ride while waiting for your decals and registration card to arrive by mail. You can also order replacement decals, certificate cards and snowmobile trail passes.
- Local sales agents
RENEWAL REGISTRATION SERVICES ONLY: DNR license sales agents can renew the registration of a snowmobile already listed in your name. Sales agents provide a 21-day temporary operating receipt that you may use to ride your snowmobile prior to receiving the registration decals in the mail. If you need to register a snowmobile into your name, you must use the website GoWild.wi.gov, mail in an application, or visit a DNR Service Center. You can also order Wisconsin and non-resident snowmobile trail passes at sales agents.
- DNR service locations
DNR service locations can renew the registration of a snowmobile already listed in your name, as well as register a recently purchased snowmobile into your name. DNR will provide a 21-day temporary operating receipt that you may use to ride your snowmobile prior to receiving the registration decals in the mail. Registration services are also available for all-terrain (ATV) vehicles, utility-terrain vehicles (UTV), boats and off-highway motorcycles. You can also order replacement decals, replacement registration cards, Wisconsin and non-resident snowmobile trail passes at the DNR.
- By mail
Complete the Snowmobile Registration Application Form (9400-210) and mail the application with appropriate fees to the address provided on the form. If the decals have expired, you must wait to receive materials in the mail before you can operate their snowmobile.
- Purchased from a commercial snowmobile Wisconsin dealer
At the time of the sale, the Wisconsin snowmobile dealer will complete and submit a snowmobile 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 snowmobile until your decals and registration certificate arrive in the mail. Dealers are to submit registration to the DNR within 5 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.
Snowmobile 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 snowmobile has been sold or junked; your first and last name; customer identification number (if known); the snowmobile Wisconsin registration number (i.e. SN-9999-ZZ); or any other information that may assist the department in identifying the vehicle. The snowmobile will be removed from your list of active registered recreational vehicles.