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  • Special Vehicles in New York

    Off-road does not mean off-radar with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You still must register off-road transportation including all-terrain vehicles (ATV) and snowmobiles.

    And while trailers are not considered off-road vehicles, they are considered registration-worthy by the DMV.

    ATV Registration

    You must register your ATV even if you restrict its use to retrieving mail from the end of your own driveway. There are a few exemptions, however. You do not have to register if your ATV is used exclusively:

    • Outside of New York State.
    • To plow snow.
    • For agricultural purposes.
    • As transportation at special events.

    To register you must visit a DMV office and:

    Other ATV Stuff

    • Both the license plate and registration decal must be affixed to the back of your ATV.
    • You cannot legally operate your ATV on public property without liability insurance. You must carry a minimum of $50,000/$100,000 for death, $25,000/$50,000 for injury, and $10,000 for property.
    • You do not need a driver's license to operate an ATV in New York State.
    • Drivers younger than 16 years old need to contact the DMV regarding restrictions.

    NY Snowmobile Registration

    If you plan on zooming your snowmobile on any New York State public property you will need to register it. If you're from out-of-state and plan to ride in New York you must still register it with New York's DMV even if your vehicle is registered with your home state.

    To register you must visit a DMV office and:

    Snowmobile registration numbers are permanent and must be affixed to both sides of your machine's hood. Before attaching be sure that:

    • The decal numbers are reflective.
    • The numbers are at least three inches tall and adhere to a block style.
    • The numbers are a different color from the hood.
    • A hyphen or a space divides the last number from the capital letters.

    Snowmobile Registration Renewal

    You can now renew your snowmobile's registration online.

    Trailer Registration

    Not all trailers have to be registered in New York State. Before hurrying to a DMV office to register check the DMV's list Trailer-Type Vehicles Not Requiring Registration to see if you are exempt.

    Homemade and Custom-Built Trailers

    Homemade and custom-built trailers, however, need to be registered. But before you ink your name to any forms be sure your trailer complies with the DMV's Equipment Required for Trailers.

    Vehicle Identification Number Requirements

    You will need a vehicle identification number (VIN) for your trailer before registering. To obtain this you must first determine your trailer's unladen weight by weighing it on a certified scale and receiving a certified weight slip.

    For questions contact New York State's Department of Agriculture and Markets at (800) 554-4501.

    Trailer Weight for VIN

    If your trailer weighs less than 1,000 lbs you must visit a DMV office and complete the Vehicle Identification Number for Homemade Trailer (Form MV-272). Make sure you have proof of ownership and identification. If everything looks to be in order you'll be assigned a VIN which must be permanently attached (consider welding) to your trailer.

    If your trailer weighs 1,000 lbs or more you will need to visit a DMV office and grab an Application for a Vehicle Identification Number and a New York State Insurance Identification Card form (neither can be downloaded). Follow the instructions on the form.

    Trailer Inspection for VIN

    The DMV will then mail you information on when and where to get your trailer inspected along with a Temporary Transport Permit. Be sure to bring to the inspection receipts for the parts you used to craft your trailer. If you pass the DMV will validate your VIN application form and assign a VIN.

    Be sure to retain your validated VIN application. You'll need this as proof during registration.

    Registration Process

    Take to a DMV office the following:

    You'll then be issued a license plate, a plate sticker, and a registration certificate.

    If your trailer's unladen weight is below 1,000 lbs., your registration will be stamped "transferable." This will serve as your permanent proof of ownership.

    If your trailer's unladen weight is 1,000 lbs. or more, your registration will be stamped "non-transferable." This is a temporary document. Your permanent title and registration certificate will arrive in the mail within 90 days.

    RV and Motorhome Registration in NY

    If you have a motorhome or recreational vehicle (RV) in New York, the DMV requires that you register it before taking it out on the road. Follow the steps outline on our Register Car in New York page.

    NY Scooter and Moped Registration

    You must register a moped or scooter in New York following the same guidelines as motorcycle registration.

    Depending on the class of moped you have, you will need at least a regular learner's permit or driver's license. Some mopeds require a motorcycle license or permit to operate.

    You'll find more detailed information on our scooters and mopeds page.

    Other Registration Links

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