FAQ
Recreational Vehicles
What is considered a moped? Are they registered?

Michigan law defines a moped as a two or three-wheel vehicle which meets ALL of the following limitations:

  1. Top speed is no more than 30 mph on level surface
  2. Engine size is 100 cc or less
  3. No manual gearshift

Vehicles meeting this definition are classified as a moped and are registered with a 3-year moped decal for $15. Vehicles exceeding any of the characteristics listed above are classified as motorcycles.

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Where do I display the Trail Permit?

Trail Permit stickers are displayed on the front of the snowmobile, centered on the hood directly above the headlight.

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Where do I purchase a Trail Permit?

Snowmobile trail permits cost $48 each and expire on Sept. 30 of each year. Trail permits are sold by agents of the Department of Natural Resources, including sporting goods stores, local retailers, snowmobile dealers, department stores, resort motels, etc. The generated revenue is designated to develop and maintain snowmobile trails.

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Who needs a Trail Permit?

In addition to the regular three-year snowmobile registration, all snowmobiles used on public land must display an annual Snowmobile Trail Permit sticker. This applies to both residents and nonresidents. Snowmobiles used on private land or used only on frozen public waters for ice fishing are exempt from the trail permit.

A trail permit is not required for snowmobiles registered as a historic snowmobile.

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How do I transfer ownership of a snowmobile?

Snowmobiles are not titled. To transfer ownership, simply complete the back of your snowmobile registration. If you have lost the registration, then a complete bill of sale with the year, make, vehicle identification number, registration number (if available) and the names and addresses of the buyer and seller to transfer ownership.

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Do I need to register my snowmobile?

All snowmobiles must be registered unless used only on private property. The snowmobile registration number is printed on the three-year snowmobile decal. Snowmobile decals must be displayed on "each side of the forward half of the cowl above the foot well of the snowmobile."

Owners may elect to register snowmobiles 26 or more years old and owned solely as a collector's item as a historic snowmobile.  A non-expiring historic snowmobile registration is issued and is placed above or below the headlight or, if the historic snowmobile was not originally equipped with a headlight, on the forward half of the cowl above the footwell.

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Can an off-road vehicle (ORV), including an ORV utility vehicle or 4-wheel ATV "quad," be modified for on-road registration?

Off-Road Vehicles Cannot Be Registered For On-Road Use

Vehicles manufactured as an off-road vehicle (ORV) cannot be modified and titled as an assembled vehicle for on-road use.  A vehicle manufactured as an ORV, even if the owner added accessories such as lights, windshield, and street legal tires, does not qualify as an assembled vehicle, including a low-speed assembled vehicle, because:

●  It was not built from new or used parts by someone other than a manufacturer, and

●  It was not altered or modified to the extent that it no longer reflects its original manufacturer configuration.

ORV manufacturers state their vehicles are not designed for on-road use and include a statement on their Manufacturer Certificate of Origin (MCO) that the vehicle was built for off-road use only. ORVs that cannot be titled and registered for on-road use include:

a)  4-wheel and 6-wheel ORV utility vehicles.  These units look like small trucks with a roof.  Examples include the Polaris Ranger, John Deere Gator, Kawasaki Mule, Yamaha Viking, Honda Pioneer, and Kubota RTV.

b)  4-wheel all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).  Often called "quads," these are units with handlebars and a seat straddled by the operator.

c)  Dune buggies manufactured for off-road use only.

d)  Gray Market off-road "mini trucks."  These are imported as ORVs rather than motor vehicles.  It is not possible to upgrade them to meet U.S. EPA emission standards and DOT safety standards.  They can only be titled as an ORV.  Examples include the Suzuki Carry, Subaru Sambar, Honda ACTY, Mazda Scrum, and Daihatsu Hijet.

e) Ex-military Humvees.  The Federal government mandates that Humvees are restricted to off-road use only.  See below for more information about Humvees.

Vehicles whose MCO show the vehicle was built to federal low speed vehicle standards may be titled as a low speed vehicle using the year, make, and VIN shown on the MCO.

Trail bikes (2-wheel motorcycles) may be upgraded for on-road use.

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Where do I register my Off Road Vehicle (ORV)?

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issue ORV decals. Also, most ORV dealers issue these decals. Check your local telephone directory for the DNR or ORV dealer office nearest you.

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How do I register an Off Road Vehicle (ORV)?

ORV's are titled but not registered through the Secretary of State. ORV's used on public land must display an annual ORV decal. ORV decals are issued through the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

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What ownership documents are needed to transfer a documented vessel?

The assigned registration and the Coast Guard documentation papers in the new owner's name must be shown to register a documented vessel.

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What do I do when the information on the watercraft registration is incorrect?

The watercraft record needs to be researched. To initiate this, you may visit your local Secretary of State branch office, send an e-mail to the Driver and Vehicle Information Center at soswebmaster@michigan.gov. or call the Michigan Department of State Driver and Vehicle Information Center at 1-888-SOS-MICH (1-888-767-6424).

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My boat does not require a title but the previous owner had one. Am I required to apply for a title for my boat?

If the new owner does not want a title and the watercraft does not need a title to perfect a lien (show a secured party), the previous owner's title is surrendered at the time the buyer transfers the registration into his/her name and pays any tax due. The Secretary of State branch office will arrange for the cancellation of the previous title.

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How do I transfer ownership of a watercraft?

If the watercraft is not titled, simply complete the back of your watercraft registration. If you have lost the registration, then a complete bill of sale with the year, make, hull identification number, MC registration number (if available) and the names and addresses of the buyer and seller may be used to transfer ownership.

If the watercraft is titled, a properly assigned title must be used to transfer ownership. If the title and/or registration are lost, a duplicate can be acquired by the owner(s) from any Secretary of State branch office. Without a properly assigned title, registration or bill of sale, a court order or surety bond would be needed to transfer the ownership. For more information contact your local Secretary of State branch office or the Michigan Department of State, Driver and Vehicle Information Center at 1-888-SOS-MICH (1-888-767-6424). 

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How do I renew my watercraft registration?

Watercraft may be renewed at ExpressSOS, by mail or in person at a Secretary of State office.

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When is a title required on a Michigan watercraft?

All watercraft 20 feet and over in length and all watercraft with a permanently affixed engine, regardless of length, must be titled. Watercraft not required to be titled may be titled upon the request of the owner.


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When am I required to register a watercraft?

All watercraft on Michigan waters, including privately owned lakes and waterways, must be registered except:

Watercraft 16 feet or less, propelled by oars or paddles, and not used for rental or commercial purposes;
Non-motorized canoes and kayaks not used for rental or commercial purposes, rafts, surfboards, sailboards, and swim floats, regardless of length;
Watercraft registered in another state and used only temporarily in Michigan.

For most watercraft, the registration fee is based on length. All registrations expire on March 31 in the third year of issuance.

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