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Snowmobile registration and general information

The Wisconsin DNR provides registration services for snowmobile. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation issues titles and/or registration (license plates) for some trailers.

Definition of snowmobile

Wisconsin law ss 340.01(58a) defines 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. This includes a child-sized snowmobile.

Child-sized snowmobile 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 LE-201 for child’s snowmobile and age-riding restrictions.)
  • If operating a child’s snowmobile in sanctioned races, derbies, competitions or exhibitions, 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.

Vehicles not considered snowmobiles

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 public snowmobile trails.

Registration

All snowmobiles kept in Wisconsin for more than 15 consecutive days must be registered in Wisconsin unless an exemption to registration applies. Display — Unless there is an exemption, your snowmobile must display current registration decals, which must be prominently visible on both sides of the cowling. Note: A snowmobile trail pass may also be required.

Exemptions to registration

Snowmobiles are exempt from Wisconsin registration under any of the following conditions.

  • The snowmobile displays current out of state registration and a valid Wisconsin Nonresident Snowmobile Trail Pass.
  • The snowmobile is used exclusively for racing on a racing facility.
  • The snowmobile is owned by the United States or a political subdivision of the state. The name and owner of the snowmobile must be displayed on the cowling.
  • The snowmobile is registered under a DNR agreement with a federally registered Indian Tribe or Band and operated for less than 15 days off the reservation boundary.

Snowmobile registration types

Snowmobiles are to be registered within 10 days from date of purchase. Snowmobile dealers are required by Wisconsin state statute 350.125 to submit registration application to the DNR within 5 days after the date of sale and furnish the buyer with a validated (i.e. signed by dealership) registration receipt. A $5 transfer fee is required to transfer the registration certificate of a snowmobile already registered in Wisconsin to a new registrant. Note: A snowmobile trail pass may also be required for operation on public trails.

Wisconsin public registration

fee: $30 first-time registration; $30 3-year renewal

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.

  • If you register your snowmobile for public use on or after April 1 of a given year through December 31 of the same year, the registration period will end on June 30 of the third year.
    • For example, if you register your snowmobile for public use on April 1, 2020, you will receive decals that are valid through June 30, 2023.
  • If you register your snowmobile on or after January 1 through March 30 in a given year, the registration period will include the remaining months of the current season’s registration, plus an additional 2 years.
    • For example, if you register your snowmobile on January 1, 2020, you will receive decals valid through June 30, 2022, which will allow you to snowmobile on public trails for the remainder of the 2019-2020 winter season, along with two more snowmobile seasons.
Wisconsin private registration

fee: $0, valid until transferred

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.

Wisconsin antique registrations

fee: $20 first-time registration; $5 3-year renewal

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. Exempt from displaying snowmobile trail pass. A snowmobile antique registration certificate is valid for 3 years beginning on the July 1 prior to the date of application if registration is made prior to April 1 and beginning on the July 1 subsequent to the date of application if registration is made after April 1 and ending on June 30, 3 years thereafter.

Nonresidents

As a nonresident, you may operate your snowmobile in Wisconsin with a nonresident snowmobile trail pass issued by the Wisconsin DNR and your state’s current registration as long as the decal or proof of registration from your home state is prominently displayed, and the snowmobile has not been in Wisconsin for more than 15 consecutive days. The proof of registration from your home state must be carried with you while riding and must be presented to an enforcement officer when requested. Once your out of state registered snowmobile has been in Wisconsin for longer than 15 consecutive days, it MUST be registered in Wisconsin.

Commercial dealer

If you are a snowmobile manufacturer, dealer, distributor, rental agency, or any combination thereof and operate this business within this state, you must register with the DNR and obtain a commercial snowmobile certificate. The DNR will then issue you 3 commercial registration decals. Your commercial registration decal must be affixed to a plate (of your own design) that is clearly displayed and mounted to each snowmobile you lease, rent, offer for test-drives or otherwise allow to be operated as part of your business. Fee: $90. You can purchase additional decals from the DNR. Fee: $30 per decal.

How to register your snowmobile

All decals, certificates and trail passes are mailed, regardless which service option you select.

Online

Visit GoWild.wi.gov to complete your snowmobile registration. You can renew the registration of a snowmobile already listed in your name, as well as register a recently purchased snowmobile into your name. Online registration allows you to print a temporary operating receipt valid for 21 days that you may use to ride while we mail your decals and registration card. You can also order replacement decals, certificate cards and snowmobile trail passes.

Local sales agents

More than 1,000 license sales agents can renew the registration of a snowmobile already listed in your name. Sales agents provide a 21-day temporary operating receipt that you may use to ride your snowmobile prior to receiving the registration decals in the mail. If you need to register a snowmobile into your name, you must use the website GoWild.wi.gov, mail in an application, or visit a DNR Service Center. You can also order Wisconsin and non-resident snowmobile trail passes at sales agents.

DNR service locations

DNR service locations can renew the registration of a snowmobile already listed in your name, as well as register a recently purchased snowmobile into your name. DNR will provide a 21-day temporary operating receipt that you may use to ride your snowmobile prior to receiving the registration decals in the mail. Registration services are also available for all-terrain (ATV) vehicles, utility-terrain vehicles (UTV), boats and off-highway motorcycles. You can also order Wisconsin and non-resident snowmobile trail passes at the DNR.

By mail

Complete the Snowmobile Registration Application Form (9400-210) and mail the application with appropriate fees to the address provided on the form. If the decals have expired, applicants must wait to receive materials in the mail before they can operate their snowmobile.

Purchased from a commercial snowmobile Wisconsin dealer

At the time of the sale, the Wisconsin snowmobile dealer will complete and submit a snowmobile registration application on your behalf. Your copy of the application form signed by the dealer or a temporary operating receipt must be carried with you while operating the snowmobile until your decals and registration certificate arrive in the mail. Dealers are to submit registration to the DNR within 5 days of the sale.

Updating your contact information

Within 15 days of changing your address, you must notify the DNR stating your new address and the certificate number for the machine you own. This process is important to complete so that you receive a registration renewal notification by mail. Access your Wisconsin DNR customer account at GoWild.wi.gov to update your customer record. You can call also send an e-mail CSWEB@wisconsin.gov or contact the DNR Call Center.

Snowmobile was sold or junked

To notify the department, send a brief email to CSWEB@wisconsin.gov notifying us that your snowmobile has been sold; include in the email your first and last name, customer identification number (if known), the snowmobile’s Wisconsin registration number (i.e. SN-9999-ZZ), or any other information that may assist us in identifying the snowmobile. The snowmobile will be removed from your record of active registered recreational vehicles.

Last revised: Wednesday August 21 2019