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Registration and titling
Customers may operate while carrying their temporary operating receipt. Customers who submit registration applications and payment at a DNR Service Center, online or at a sales agent will receive a temporary operating receipt that allows for immediate operation. Customers who submit their application and payment by mail will receive their temporary operating receipt in the mail.
How do you register your boat, snowmobile or ATV/UTV?
- New or transfers of existing Wisconsin registrations: may be done online, at a DNR Service Center or by mail.
- Renewals: may be done online, at any of our sales agents, at a DNR Service Center or by mail.
- Replacement materials: may be done online, at a DNR Service Center or by mail.
- Application must be submitted within 10 days of purchase. Dealerships must submit application within 5 days of the sale.
All registration materials (decals, certificates and titles) will be fulfilled by mail. Upon receipt of completed application and fees from online, sales agent or DNR service center, a temporary operating receipt is provided to operate the recreational vehicle. Customers who mail in their registration are required to wait until they receive their materials in the mail before they can operate, unless purchased from a Wisconsin Dealer. If purchased from a Wisconsin Dealer, operator may carry a copy of the application signed by the dealer in seller section.
- Online - Visit the Go Wild website to complete your new, transfer, renewal and replacement transactions.
- Sales Agents - More than 1,000 sales agents provide registration renewal service only.
- DNR - DNR service locations provide full registration service for renewal and transfer of boats (including documented boats and fleet registration) , ATV/UTV, and snowmobiles. If you are registering your ATV/UTV, you will need to provide the weight, width, and Vehicle Identification number. Find office locations and verify hours.
- By mail - After completing all requested information on the application form, make a photocopy, and mail the original application and appropriate fees to the address provided on the form. A temporary operating receipt will be mailed.
- ATV/UTV Registration Application Form 9400-376 - To operate you must display current registration or carry a temporary operating receipt.
- Boat Registration Application 9400-193 - To operate you must display current registration or carry a temporary operating receipt.
- Snowmobile Registration Application 9400-210 - To operate you must display current registration or carry a temporary operating receipt.
Note: Proof of sales tax payment is required for all sales transactions. Sales tax paid to another state on the boat may be claimed as a credit to reduce the tax payable. Any county tax or similar tax paid in the other state may be claimed as a credit to reduce county tax payable.
You must have a Wisconsin Certificate of Number (i.e. registration) and expiration decals to legally operate a recreational vessel legally. Exceptions to the requirement to register a recreational vessel include:
- sailboats 12 feet of length or less and not equipped with a motor
- manually propelled vessels that are not equipped with a motor or sail
- vessels registered in another state and using Wisconsin waters for less than 60 consecutive days.
Boat Registration Numbers
- The Certificate of Number card (registration certificate) must be on board and available for inspection by an enforcement officer whenever the vessel is operated.
- The registration number and expiration decals must be displayed as follows:
- Numbers must be placed on each side of the forward half of the vessel.
- Numbers must be read from left to right
- Numbers must be at least 3” high BLOCK letters
- Numbers should contrast with the color of the vessel and be clearly visible and legible. Two-toned and camouflage numbers are not legal and should not be used.
- Letters must be separated from the numbers by a space at least 2” wide.
- Decals must be affixed 3” behind (towards the stern) and in line with the number.
A boat title is similar to a car title. A boat title is a legal document proving ownership.
- All motorboats 16 feet and over in length, registered in Wisconsin after 1988 will have a Certificate of Title.
- If you are presented with a Wisconsin registration certificate, verify that the registration id number and the expiration year on the certificate matches the information on the boat's registration decals.
- You must submit the original Certificate of Title to complete the registration process. All person(s) whose name appears on the title must sign the title.
- Verify there is not a lien against the boat. If a lien holder's name appears on the title, be sure that the lien holder has signed off on the title or you receive a lien release letter from the lending company.
New boats do not have a title issued until they are registered. The Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO) or a Certificate of Origin (COO) serves as a temporary title from the manufacturer to the dealer and then to you. Compare the boat's hull identification number to the numbers on the MSO or COO. Have the seller sign the MSO or COO for a new boat. You must submit the original MSO or COO to complete the registration process.
Other information you may need:
ATVs and UTVs operating within the state need to be registered as public use, private use, or exempt from registration. Registration decals must be properly displayed, unless the operation is exempt from registration. Proof of sales tax payment is required for all sales transactions. Sales tax paid to another state on the ATV or UTV may be claimed as a credit to reduce the sales tax payable. Any county tax or similar tax paid in the other state may be claimed as a credit to reduce county tax payable.
ATVs and UTVs are exempt from registration if the vehicle: 1) is owned by a government agency, the name of the agency must be displayed on the exterior of the vehicle; 2) displays a registration decal required by the tribe or band; or 3) is in the state not more than 15 days and used exclusively as part of an advertisement being made for the manufacture of the vehicle.
Definition of All-terrain Vehicle
"All-terrain vehicle" means a commercially designed and manufactured motor-driven device which has a net weight of 900 pounds or less, was originally manufactured with a width of 50 inches or less, equipped with a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and which is designed by the manufacturer to travel on three or more low-pressure or non-pneumatic tires. "Low-pressure tire" means a tire that has a minimum width of six inches and is designed to be inflated with an operating pressure not to exceed 20 pounds per square inch as recommended by the manufacturer. Certain ATVs that do not currently fit the ATV definition may be registered as UTVs, such as ATVs over 900 pounds. What can be registered as an ATV.
Definition of Utility-terrain Vehicle
"Utility-terrain vehicle" means a commercially designed and manufactured motor-driven device that is not a golf cart, low-speed vehicle, dune buggy, mini-truck, or tracked vehicle, that is designed to be used primarily off highway, and originally manufactured and equipped with all of the following: a weight, without fluids, of less than 2,000 pounds; four or more low-pressure tires or non-pneumatic tires; steering wheel; tail light; brake light; two headlights; width of not more than 65 inches; seat belts; and roll bar or similar device designed to reduce the likelihood that an occupant would be crushed as the result of a rollover. What can be registered as an UTV.
Public use registration
All ATVs or UTVs are required to be registered in Wisconsin. Public use registration allows operation on any areas open to public riding, frozen surface of any waterways and on private property with landowner permission. Effective July 1, 2012, the registration period will begin on April 1 or the date of issuance/renewal and end on March 31 of the 2nd year following the date of issuance/renewal. The change was made to better serve the users with a registration period more closely aligned with the main riding season.
Late Renewal Fee
Effective July 1, 2012, a $5.00 late fee will be assessed to public use registrations that are renewed after the expiration date. The late fee will not be assessed if the renewal is included with application to transfer the ownership of the vehicle. Revenue collected will be placed in the ATV conservation fund.
License Plate Requirements
Effective July 1, 2012, all ATVs and UTVs registered as public use will be required to furnish and display a rear plate in addition to the 2 side decals furnished by DNR,: This change was added after many discussions over the years with various experts and user groups based on surveys and meetings.
- Plates can be created or purchased by the registered owner. Plate specifications are: must be a minimum of 4 inches in height and 7 1/2 inches wide; must be white; black lettering a minimum of 1 1/2 inches high with a minimum 3/16 inch stroke; needs only the 4 registration numbers and two letters that follow same as on the registration decal; owner shall maintain the plate so it is in legible condition; and the plate shall be attached to the rear of the vehicle.
Private use registration
Private use registration is for an ATV or UTV used exclusively on private property. Use of the ATV or UTV is by the owner or a member of his/her immediate family only on land owned or leased by the vehicle owner or a member of his/her immediate family.
An ATV or UTV private use registration certificate is valid from the date of issuance until ownership of the ATV or UTV is transferred.
Private use with Agricultural Purpose
Agricultural purpose includes activities related to the transportation of farm implements, equipment, supplies or products on a farm or between farms.
Nonresident ATV/UTV registration
An ATV or UTV operated on a public trail or corridor needs to display valid Wisconsin Public Use registration, or needs to display a valid Nonresident ATV or UTV Trail Pass. Nonresident customers choosing to register their ATV in Wisconsin will be liable to the Department of Revenue for sales tax on the purchase of the machine
An ATV or UTV operated on frozen waters needs to display a valid:
- Wisconsin Public Use ATV/UTV registration; OR
- Nonresident ATV or UTV Trail Pass
Visit sales locations to find an agent near you to purchase a Nonresident ATV or UTV Trail Pass.
Snowmobile registration is required for operation of any snowmobile within the state - unless the operation is exempt from registration - and the registration decals must be properly displayed. Note: Proof of sales tax payment is required for all sales transactions. Sales tax paid to another state on the snowmobile may be claimed as a credit to reduce the tax payable.
Definition of snowmobile
- In Wisconsin, a snowmobile is an engine-driven vehicle that is manufactured solely for snowmobiling that has an endless belt tread and sled-type runners, or skis, to be used in contact with snow. All snowmobiles must be 48 inches wide or less. The definition includes a child-sized snowmobile - see exceptions below for additional information.
- A child's snowmobile is a snowmobile that is driven by a four horsepower (approximately 120 cubic centimeters in size) or less engine.
- If operating a child's snowmobile on public areas - A child's snowmobile needs to be registered. This also includes frozen waters. Note: Please refer to the Wisconsin Snowmobile Laws pamphlet PUBL-LE-201 for child's snowmobile and age-riding restrictions.)
- If operating a child's snowmobile in sanctioned races, derbies, competitions or exhibitions - Under these circumstances, registration is not required.
- If operating a child's snowmobile on private property registration is not required, so long as the snowmobile is operated only on private property and is not operated on any part of a public trail.
- A vehicle that has inflatable tires is not considered a snowmobile even if skis are attached. An ATV or similar machine that is converted with an aftermarket kit, complete with skis and a track cannot be registered as a snowmobile and cannot be driven on snowmobile trails.
Public use registration
All snowmobiles operated in Wisconsin must be registered. Public use registration allows you to operate your snowmobile on any area open to public riding and on private property with the appropriate permission. A snowmobile trail pass is also required to operate a snowmobile on a snowmobile trail or corridor.
Private use registration
Private use registration is for a snowmobile used exclusively on private property - i.e. use of a snowmobile is by the owner of the snowmobile, or a member of his/her immediate family, and on land owned or leased by the snowmobile owner or a member of his/her immediate family).
A snowmobile private use registration certificate is valid from the date of issuance until ownership of the snowmobile is transferred.
Snowmobile Trail Pass
2014 Wisconsin Act 142, effective July 1, 2015, expanded the snowmobile trail pass requirement to include snowmobiles registered in Wisconsin and increased the nonresident snowmobile trail pass fee. Beginning with the 2015-16 snow season, snowmobiles operating on a Wisconsin snowmobile trail or corridor must display a valid Snowmobile Trail Pass.
The snowmobile trail pass is:
- an annual pass valid until June 30 each year.
- separate from snowmobile registration.
- a 3” x 3” decal required to be permanently affixed to the bottom center portion of the snowmobile windshield.
- not required to operate on private property, on a snow route, or on frozen water if not on a marked corridor.
The following snowmobiles are exempt from displaying a trail pass:
- a snowmobile owned by the U.S., another state or political subdivision thereof.
- a snowmobile that is present in this state for a period not to exceed 15 days provided it is used exclusively as part of an advertisement being used for the manufacturer of the snowmobile.
- a snowmobile that is 35 years or older and displays antique registration
Effective April 10, 2014, an owner of a snowmobile with a model year 35 years or older may register that snowmobile as an antique snowmobile. Antique registration allows you to operate your snowmobile on any area open to public riding and on private property with the appropriate permission.
Nonresident snowmobile registration
A snowmobile operated on a public trail or corridor needs to display a valid Wisconsin Snowmobile Trail Pass and a valid Wisconsin Public Use snowmobile registration or needs to display a valid Nonresident Snowmobile Trail Pass and valid nonresident registration. Nonresident customers choosing to register their snowmobile in Wisconsin will be liable to the Department of Revenue for sales tax on the purchase of the machine.
Note: A "corridor" includes a marked area across frozen waterways or area across frozen waterways as indicated on a county snowmobile trail map. It does not include routes.
A snowmobile operated on private property or frozen waterways outside a corridor needs to display valid Wisconsin snowmobile registration or needs to display valid registration from another state.
Visit sales locations to find an agent near you to purchase a Nonresident Snowmobile Trail Pass.
Boat, ATV/UTV and snowmobile dealers
Boat dealer definitions and requirements
- Commercial Boat Dealer Registration Application 9400-588
- "Dealer" means a person engaged wholly or in part in the business of selling or distributing boats to customers for profit or commission and who have made a substantial financial investment in the business.
- A Wisconsin dealer registration may be used for demonstrating and/or testing a boat, boat motor or boat trailer to a specific customer in an effort to sell or show the operation of the boat, boat motor or boat trailer with a paid employee of the manufacturer or dealer either operating or accompanying the operator.
- Registration numbers are assigned by DNR but are not provided. Dealer must create two plaques for each number assigned, one plaque for each side of the boat.
- Upon completion of a dealer registration, DNR will provide a Certificate of Number card and expiration decals.
ATV / UTV dealer definitions and requirements
- Commercial ATV/UTV Dealer Registration Application 9400-589
- Commercial Certificate: Every person who is an ATV or UTV manufacturer, dealer, distributor, renter or any combination thereof, engaged in business in the state shall register with the department and obtain a Commercial ATV/UTV certificate.
- The commercial registration fee is $90. A commercial dealer certificate and three registration decals and certificate cards will be issued.
- Additional Commercial Decals/Cards: Additional registration decals and certificate cards can be ordered with original and renewal Commercial Certificate applications.
- A current Commercial Certificate holder may also order additional registration decals and certificate cards. The fee for each additional registration decal/certificate card is $30 each.
- Commercial dealers will create or purchase their own plates to display their commercial decals upon.
- Effective July 1, 2012, the registration period will begin on April 1 or the date of issuance/renewal and end on March 31 of the 2nd year following the date of issuance/renewal.
Snowmobile dealer definitions and requirements
- Commercial Snowmobile Dealer Registration Application 9400-589
- Commercial Certificate: Every person who is a snowmobile manufacturer, dealer, distributor, renter or any combination thereof, engaged in business in the state shall register with the department and obtain a Commercial Snowmobile certificate.
- The commercial registration fee is $90. A certificate and three plates will be issued.
- Additional Commercial Plates: Additional plates can be ordered with original and renewal Commercial Certificate applications.
- A current Commercial Certificate holder may also order additional plates. The fee for each additional plate is $30.00.
- All Wisconsin snowmobile dealers are required to purchase and display a valid Wisconsin Snowmobile trail pass. Dealers registered in another state are required to purchase and display a nonresident snowmobile trail pass. Commercial dealers may affix the annual trail pass and dealer registration to a plate that is removable and temporary but firmly mounted to the snowmobile.