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  • Special Vehicles in New Mexico

    With its beautiful scenery, New Mexico certainly lends itself to outdoor activities. It's no wonder, then, that vehicles such as snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are widely popular in the state.

    So, let's take a look a closer look at these vehicles.


    Let's begin by looking at how New Mexico legislators have defined the various categories.

    An off-highway motor vehicle is defined as a motor vehicle designed by the manufacturer for operation exclusively off the highway or road. Included in this category are the following:

    All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV)

    An ATV is defined as a motor vehicle that:

    • Is 50 inches or less in width.
    • Weighs 1,000 lbs. or less (dry, unladen weight).
    • Has at least 3 low-pressure tires.
    • Uses a straddle-style seat.
    • Has handlebar steering.

    Off-Highway Motorcycle

    An off-highway motorcycle is defined as a motor vehicle traveling on not more than 2 tires, having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator, and a handlebar-type steering control.


    A snowmobile is defined as a motor vehicle designed for travel on snow or ice, steered and supported in whole or in part by skis, belts, cleats, runners, or low-pressure tires.

    Off-Highway Vehicles in New Mexico

    Off-highway motor vehicles need to be registered at a Motor Vehicle Division field office at a cost of $53 for the initial registration ($50 thereafter). See our registration sections for details on the process.

    Your registration will need to be renewed every 2 years.

    Off-highway vehicles also need to be titled using the same process outline in our Title Transfers section.

    Out-of-State Visitors

    A non-resident permit is required to ride on public lands. This applies to:

    • All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
    • Dirt bikes
    • Off-road vehicles
    • Snowmobiles

    Purchase a permit at any New Mexico Department of Game and Fish office. You have the option of a permit valid for 2 years ($48) or permit valid for 90 days ($18).

    Riding Requirements

    If you're 18 years old or older, you're not required to have any special training or wear any specific items when driving these vehicles.

    All riders under 18 years old, however, must wear a helmet and eye gear protection. Those in this category must also have an off-highway motor vehicle safety permit from a state-approved organization.

    Riders under 18 years old must have an adult supervising their riding. However, this doesn't apply if you're at least 13 years old and have a valid motorcycle license or if you're at least 15 years old and have a valid driver's license, instructional permit, or provisional license.

    NM Motorhomes and RVs

    If you have a recreational vehicle (RV) or motorhome in New Jersey, you will need to have it registered, just like a standard motor vehicle. See our Register Car in New Mexico page for instructions.

    Mopeds and Scooters in NM

    You DO NOT have to register a moped in New Mexico. However, you are required to have a valid driver's license or permit to operate one.

    Mopeds are defined by New Mexico state law defines as vehicles with:

    • 2 to 3 wheels.
    • An automatic transmission.
    • An engine displacement of less than 50 cc.
    • A maximum speed of 30 MPH on flat ground.

    NOTE: If a vehicle DOES NOT meet these requirements, it is classed as a motorcycle and must be registered as one.

    Scooters can be classified as motorcycles, mopeds, or bicycles depending on their engine size and speed. Contact your local NM Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) office for more information.

    Additional Registration Information

    By the way, if you're interested in information about boats or custom-built vehicles, we have separate sections covering these vehicles.

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