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  • Special Vehicles in Rhode Island

    Registering a car?

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    ATVs and Snowmobiles

    Rhode Island considers these off-road vehicles "recreational," but you still need to register them to lawfully use them. To register the vehicle, you'll need to go through the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM). All you need is the following:

    • Valid identification
    • Description of the vehicle: make, model, color, VIN, horsepower, etc.
    • Proof of ownership (bill of sale)
    • Proof that you have paid the sales tax on the vehicle.
    • $25 registration fee. Registration expires every year on October 31st.

    Note on sales taxes: If you've bought from a private party, you should have a bill of sale indicating that you have paid the sales tax. If you've bought the vehicle in another state and Rhode Island's sales tax is higher, you'll have to show proof that you've paid the difference.

    Trailers

    Trailers need to be registered in Rhode Island, but don't worry, the process is pretty similar to regular car registration. You'll need the bill of sale, valid Rhode Island license, and proof of insurance for the vehicle pulling the trailer. You'll also need to fill out an Application for Registration and Title Certificate (Form TR-1). If you've bought from a private party, you need to bring the registration of the previous owner. Fees vary depending on length and size of the vehicle.

    RV and Motor Home Registration

    Registering your RV or motor home is exactly the same as registering a trailer. You can bring the following materials to your Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) branch office :

    Find out more about by visiting our guide to RV and Motor Home registration. You'll be able to learn more about fees, durations and helpful tips.

    Motorcycle Registration

    To register your bike, complete the Application for Registration and Title Certificate (Form TR-1) and get it notarized (the DMV provides this service). You'll also need a Bill of Sale, the title, and applicable payment. For more details, visit our resource page on motorcycle registration.

    Scooter and Moped Registration

    Scooters, mopeds, and other similar vehicles must be registered with the RI DMV.

    The Rhode Island DMV defines various types of motorized cycles and scooters:

    • A motor-driven cycle is any motorized cycle with a maximum motor of 5 horsepower (hp), not including motorized bicycles.
    • A motorized bicycle is a vehicle with:
      • 2 wheels.
      • Maximum 1.5 horsepower.
      • A top speed of 30 MPH.
    • A motor scooter has:
      • A motor up to 4.9 horsepower AND no more than 50 cc.
      • 30 MPH maximum speed.

    For more details, see our page dedicated to mopeds, scooters, and similar vehicles.

    Custom-Built Registration

    In short, registering your custom-built car (congratulations!) is a little more time-consuming than regular car registration. Of course, this little bump in the road won't stop you. After all, you've just built your own car. So here are the essential materials you need to register your new love:

    Please visit our in-depth guide to custom built cars for more detailed information, such as definitions, requirements and license plates.