Before hitting the open road in your motor home, you must register your RV with your local motor vehicle agency.
Most states group the following vehicles under the recreational vehicle (RV) category:
- Pick-up campers
- Tent trailers
- Travel trailers
- Mobile homes
Depending on your home state, you’ll need to register your newly purchased mobile home within a specified number of days. California, for example, requires registering new mobile homes within 10 days of purchasing, while Rhode Island has a 30-day window.
The actual recreational vehicle registration requirements vary by state, but in general you will need to present your DMV office with:
- A completed registration application. You can obtain this from your local DMV office, download one from your DMV’s website, or check out our page on RV Registration.
- Proof of identification. DMV offices are extremely stringent when it comes to ID. Check with your DMV before submitting the application for a list of acceptable documents.
- A completed bill of sale.
- The Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin, if applicable.
- The title (some states require this).
- Proof of motorhome insurance.
- Proof of passing inspection and/or an emissions test, if applicable to your area.
- Payment for all registration fees. The process for determining the actual fee varies by state. Usually the fee is determined by one, some, or all of the following criteria: age, height, or weight. The longer or heavier the RV, the greater the fee.
The processing time for plates will depend on your state.
Temporary Registration for Mobile Homes
Depending on your state, you may have the option for short-term registration. In Oregon, for example, RV owners can apply for a Recreational Trip Permit. This allows for the driving of unregistered motor homes for up to 10 days. This is used mainly for the purpose of transporting newly purchased recreational vehicles.
Pennsylvania offers a seasonal vehicle registration, provided the motor home does not exceed 10,000 pounds.
To learn if your state offers short-term RV registration options, contact your local DMV office.