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Motorcycle Registration in Washington DC

Before you can ride up and down Pennsylvania Ave. with the wind in your hair, you'll first need to register your motorcycle with the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DC DMV).

Keep reading for details on requirements, fees, and forms you'll need.

Looking for renewal information instead? Jump over to our Registration Renewal section for details.

New to Washington, D.C.

Welcome to the nation's capital! You'll have 30 days after establishing residency* to register your motorcycle with the DMV.

BEFORE applying for registration, you must FIRST transfer your driver's license to Washington, D.C. one. Visit our guides to D.C. Motorcycle Licensing and Applying for a New License for details.

Once you've gotten your new license, visit your nearest D.C. DMV office and provide:

  • Your D.C. motorcycle license.
    • Needed before you can apply for motorcycle registration.
  • Proof of:
  • The motorcycle's current title and license plates.
    • Include an odometer statement if the motorcycle is leased.
  • Lienholder information or a lien release, if applicable.
  • Payment for the $52 registration fee plus any other applicable fees and taxes.

Inspections are not required on motorcycles in D.C. However, if you're also registering other vehicle types, they may be subject to required safety and emissions inspections. See our guide to D.C. inspections for details.

*NOTE: If you frequently operate your motorcycle in D.C. but you claim residency elsewhere, you can apply for a temporary visitor exemption.

If you are a temporary resident of D.C.—meaning you live in the District for over 30 days—you must abide by the registration requirements above, or apply for a reciprocity permit.

For more on both of these, see Temporary Visitor Exemptions & Reciprocity Permits below.

Registering Your D.C. Motorcycle

Any full-time resident of Washington, D.C. is required to register their motorcycle with the DC DMV following a purchase, whether from a dealership or a private seller. Note that temporary residents and/or visitors have additional options—see Temporary Visitor Exemption & Reciprocity Permits below for details.

If you've determined that you're required to register, visit your local DC DMV service center with the following:

  • Proof of ownership, such as:
    • The current title, completed and signed by all parties.
    • A Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin, for brand new motorcycles.
  • An odometer disclosure:
    • For new motorcycles—the dealer's odometer statement.
    • For used motorcycles—the odometer mileage written on either the title OR dealer's reassignment form.
  • Any lienholder information, if applicable.
  • Lease information, if applicable.
  • Your D.C. motorcycle license.
  • Proof of motorcycle insurance.
  • Proof of residency—see the District's document verification guide.
  • Payment for the $52 registration fee plus other applicable fees and taxes.

Temporary Visitor Exemptions & Reciprocity Permits

ROSA Temporary Visitor Exemption

For frequent visitors or commuters to D.C., the District DMV offers a temporary exemption for Registration of Out-of-State Automobiles (ROSA), valid for 1 year.

If you have received a traffic ticket, whether for non-registration or for parking, you may be eligible to apply for the ROSA exemption. You'll need:

  • The citation or warning for parking or non-registration.
  • Your current vehicle registration.
  • Proof of out-of-District residency (lease, mortgage, etc.).
    • If this is not in your name, you'll also need a statement from that individual confirming you live at the residence.
  • A utility bill dated within the last 60 days.

You may submit your application:

  • Online, using the ROSA exemption application portal.
  • By mail, sending copies of your documents to:
    • D.C. DMV
    • Attn: ROSA Exemption
    • P.O. Box 90120
    • Washington, D.C. 20090

D.C. Reciprocity Permits

For temporary residents of D.C. who live in the District for more than 30 days, you may be eligible for a reciprocity permit, which provides residency parking privileges.

Examples of eligible drivers include (but are not limited to):

  • Active-duty military.
  • Full-time students.
  • Government personnel.

To apply:

Registration Fees & Taxes

To register a motorcycle with the DC DMV, be prepared to pay any or all of the following:

  • Motorcycle registration: $52 for 1 year.
  • Tag transfer: $7.
  • Title only: $26.
  • Excise tax: Percentage of fair market value based on vehicle weight—
    • 3,499 lbs. or less: 6%.
    • 3,500 to 4,999 lbs.: 7%.
    • 5,000 lbs. and higher: 8%.
  • Lien recording: $20 per lien.

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