Registering off-road vehicles and motorcycles

Learn the requirements for licensing an off-road vehicle (ORV) and for making your off-road motorcycle street legal.

An ORV is a non-street-registered vehicle with 2, 3, or 4 wheels. They're used for recreational purposes on:

  • Non-highway roads
  • Trails
  • Snow
  • Water
  • Other natural terrains

We title and license some 4-wheeled off-road vehicles as Wheeled All-Terrain Vehicles (WATV).

How to title and license an off-road vehicle (ORV)

You have 15 days after purchasing your vehicle to apply for a title. Otherwise, penalty fees will apply. You'll also need to get plates and registration before you can drive on public roadways. Your registration expires 1 year from the date you register your ORV. Which means you'll need to register it every year.

You must carry the ORV registration in the vehicle at all times while it is being used in Washington state. You must affix the decals to the ORV.

Purchasing from a private party or out-of-state

If you purchased your vehicle from a private party, please follow the steps to transfer ownership and apply for a title and registration. If you purchased your vehicle from out-of-state, follow the steps for registering out-of-state off-road vehicles.

When you complete an application and pay all fees, we'll issue:

  • An ORV registration
  • Decals
  • Tabs

Plates for modified off-road motorcycles

You may get a license plate for an off-road 2-wheeled motorcycle modified to meet the requirements for road use. It must be originally manufactured for off-road use only. It must have handlebars and a seat straddled by the rider.

How to make your off-road motorcycle street legal

Follow these steps to make your off-road motorcycle safe to drive on Washington public roads.

1. Install the required equipment

Equipment installed on your motorcycle must also meet federal Equipment Manufacturer Labeling Requirements. Install all of the following (if your motorcycle does not already have it):

  • Headlamp for whenever the motorcycle is in motion on a highway
  • Tail lamp
  • Stop lamp
  • Reflectors
  • Brakes
  • Mirrors on the left and right handlebars
  • Horn or warning device
  • Tires
  • Turn signals,
  • Windshield (unless the driver wears glasses, goggles, and face shield conforming to state patrol rules)


You must also install fenders to minimize the spray and splash of water, rocks, or mud from the road. Fenders must:

  • Be as wide as the tires which they're mounted behind
  • Extend downward at least halfway to the center of the axle

2. Get an inspection

A licensed Washington State motorcycle repair shop or motorcycle dealer must inspect your motorcycle. The dealer or repair shop can't charge more than $100 per inspection.

Make sure to:

Make sure the shop is licensed

Ask for their Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number. You can also use our license lookup to see if they're licensed.

  • Repair shops have business licenses
  • Dealers will have a professional license and a business license

Their status should be open and active.

3. Submit the required documentation

Submit all of the following to a vehicle licensing office:

  • Completed Motorcycle Highway Use Declaration form
  • Copy of the receipt showing you paid for the safety inspection (attached to the form)
  • Title for the motorcycle
    • If the bank has the title, you'll need to work with your bank to get the title and motorcycle highway use declaration form submitted

4. Get your title, registration, and license plate

When you've completed the process of making your motorcycle street-legal, we'll print "modified for on-road use" on the title and registration to show that it's street-legal.

You'll need an ORV decal and a motorcycle license plate to ride on public roads. The law requires modified off-road motorcycles to meet both ORV and on-road usage requirements.

Note: You must follow all the rules of the road.

5. Get a motorcycle endorsement

If you don't already have one, you will need to get a motorcycle endorsement.

Register an out-of-state off-road vehicle

If you come from a state that doesn't impose a retail sales or use tax for ORVs, you must certify and register your ORV for use in Washington State. When you complete and submit the application and pay the licensing fees, we'll issue:

  • Registration
  • Decals or metal tag
  • Tabs

Bring the following to a vehicle licensing office along with applicable fees:

Removing the required equipment

If you remove the equipment, the motorcycle isn't street legal. You will no longer be able to operate it on Washington public roads.

Submit the title to a vehicle licensing office and remove the license plate. We'll issue a new title that says "not eligible for road use."

Related laws

Need additional help? Here's how to contact us:

call Phone: 360-902-3770
(TTY: Call 711)
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