Registration information

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.

Registration Exemptions

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.   [PDF]

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 2,000 pounds or less; 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.   [PDF]

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.

All-terrain vehicle and utility terrain vehicle riding is a growing sport in Wisconsin. Along with the privilege of enjoying the sport comes the responsibility of making sure you are operating these vehicles safely and responsibly. ATV and UTV operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 who are at least 12 years old for ATV(and at least 16 years old for UTV) must complete an ATV and UTV safety certification course in order to operate on public ATV/UTV trails and areas in Wisconsin. DNR recreational safety specialists recommend all ATV and UTV operators complete a safety course.

ATV operation in Wisconsin

When used safely and wisely, an all-terrain vehicle can provide a source of fun and family recreation as well as a useful tool for work and exploring the outdoors. When used unwisely by untrained, inexperienced operators, ATVs can be dangerous. It is the responsibility of all ATV operators to make the sport a safe one.

Safety tips

  • Never consume alcohol or drugs   before or during ATV operation.   Consuming alcohol or drugs is a factor in more than 40 percent of all ATV-related fatalities.
  • Wear your helmet!   It could save your life.
  • Travel at a speed appropriate for the terrain, visibility conditions, and your experience.
  • ATVs are designed for off-road use. Operate an ATV on designated trails which may include public roads. See the entire   rules booklet   [PDF]   for further guidance and then check with your local officials for exceptions.
  • Don't exceed manufacturer's passenger or weight limits.
  • Wear protective clothing, including: helmet, eye protection, boots, gloves, long pants, and a long sleeved shirt or jacket.

Wear your helmet while you ride responsibly, under control...
&
sober
and you will…
ride for life.

ATV/UTV RIDING IN WISCONSIN

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