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  • Special Vehicles in Iowa

    Summary: How to Register Your Special Vehicle in Iowa

    Most vehicle types other than cars or trucks in Iowa are registered in the same way as standard vehicles. You'll need to visit your local DMV office with your vehicle's title, payment for your required fee, and in some cases, extra paperwork for your vehicle type.

    Iowa law requires that residents legally register all vehicles they intend to operate within the state. DMV.org provides automobile registration information and more in our Registration & Titling section.

    However, Iowa's registration rules are slightly different for other types of vehicles.

    Registering an ATV

    The Iowa Department of Natural Resources states that all all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) must be legally registered unless the vehicle meets one or more of the following criteria:

    • The ATV is used for farming or other agricultural purposes.
    • The ATV is owned and used by the United States government or a political subdivision of another state.

    Fees and Forms

    To register your ATV, you must complete an application at the nearest county recorder's office.

    The fee for registering your ATV is $17.75.

    The fee to receive a title for a newly purchased ATV is $11.50. All ATVs must be titled in your county of residence within 30 days of purchase from a private party and 45 days from a dealer.

    Registering a Trailer

    Trailers can be registered at your nearest county treasurer's office. However, a bumper hitch farm trailer does not require a valid registration in Iowa.

    Registration fees for trailers are based on the class and size of the trailer.

    Custom-Built Vehicles

    Before you can register your custom-built car in Iowa, you'll need to apply for a vehicle identification number (VIN). To do this, visit your local Iowa DOT office and submit bills of sale for each major part of the vehicle, proving you own each component. Your vehicle will be inspected and as long as it complies with the safety guidelines and you have all required documents, you will be assigned a VIN.

    Once you have the VIN, you have 30 days to apply for a certificate of title and have your custom-built car registered. Follow the instructions on our Iowa Car Registration page.

    Registering a Snowmobile

    Iowa's chilly winter weather makes the state a popular spot for snowmobile enthusiasts. However, Iowa residents need to make sure their snowmobiles are correctly registered.

    Fees and Forms

    In Iowa, snowmobile registrations are supervised by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. To register your snowmobile, you'll need to fill out a short application at the nearest county recorder's office.

    The registration fee is $17.75, but you'll need to contact the recorder's office directly to ask about acceptable payment methods.

    The fee to receive a title for a newly purchased snowmobile is $11.50. All snowmobiles must be titled in your county of residence within 30 days of purchase from a private party.

    Registering a Motorcycle

    Motorcycles should be registered at your nearest county treasurer's office, but the exact process to follow will depend upon how you acquired your vehicle.

    For additional information about your motorcycle registration, you may contact the Iowa Motor Vehicle Information Center at (800) 532-1121 or visit our Motorcycle Registration section.

    Registering a Motorhome or RV

    Whether you've purchased your vehicle from a licensed dealer or a private seller, you must register your recreational vehicle with the IA MVD within 30 days of the purchase date. Motorhomes can be registered at your nearest county treasurer's office, and take the same process as registering a standard vehicle. You can find the steps you need to take on our Vehicle Registration page.

    The fee to register your RV depends on several factors, including:

    • The type of vehicle you are registering.
    • The vehicle's weight.
    • Your county of residence.

    Contact your county treasurer's office to determine the registration or renewal fees for your motorhome.

    If you wish to register a fold-out camper, you'll need to pay per square foot, as determined by the outside dimensions of the vehicle.

    Registering a Moped or Scooter in IA

    According to Iowa state law, a vehicle classed as a moped, or motorized bicycle, can have a maximum speed of 30 MPH on level ground.

    You must register your moped at your county treasurer's office. You'll register your moped just as you would a motorcycle or other vehicle.

    In addition to registering your moped, you'll need a permit or IA driver's license to operate it. Requirements differ depending on your age:

    • 14 to 15 years old: Moped permit AND rider education course.
    • 16 to 17 years old: Moped permit OR intermediate license.
    • 18 years old and over: Moped permit OR driver's license.

    Contact your local Iowa county treasurer's office for information about registering scooters that are operated while standing, as registration requirements vary.

    For more details about mopeds and scooters, see our page on Scooters, Mopeds, Etc. in Iowa.

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