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Arizona OHV Decal Program

The New Arizona OHV Law and How It Relates To Operation In California

The Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division headquarters has been receiving questions about the new Arizona Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) decal program. Based on the California Vehicle Code:

A vehicle owned or operated by a non-resident of California, when operated off-highway in California, must display one of the following:
  • Valid highway registration from their home state (CVC §38010(b)(10)),
  • Valid off-highway registration or identification from their home state (CVC §38010(b)(10)), or
  • Valid California Nonresident Use Permit (CVC §38087.5).


The Arizona "RV" plate is title only; it is not registration or the equivalent to a California OHV identification sticker. The terms identification and registration in California both refer to the payment of recurring fees to the DMV to allow legal operation of OHVs on public lands.

After July 1, 2009, the Arizona "RV" plate will no longer be accepted for operation in California unless it has a valid Arizona OHV decal on it.

An Arizona "MC" plate is registration and is accepted for off-highway operation in California. A vehicle with an Arizona "MC" plate may or may not be street legal in California. In order to be street legal, a vehicle must be designed and tested by the manufacturer for highway use consistent with federal regulations (e.g., legally equipped dual-sport motorcycle).

For information on Arizona's OHV program, visit: http://www.azstateparks.com/OHV/

To download a PDF of the following Summary Table, click this link:  New AZ OHV Decal Requirements

SUMMARY TABLE

Type of OHV Identification Legal in CA? Legal in AZ?
AZ RV Plate (title plate) /
No AZ OHV Decal
AZ RV Plate Image
Starting 7/1/09 must purchase CA OHV Nonresident Permit (valid ONLY for OFF-HIGHWAY use)

Note: Operators of vehicles over 1800 lbs are NOT able to purchase an AZ OHV Decal so they must purchase a CA OHV Nonresident Permit for OFF-HIGHWAY use in CA.
Vehicles under 1800 lbs: NOT VALID for ON- or OFF-HIGHWAY use. Must have an AZ OHV Decal starting 1/1/09.

Vehicles over 1800 lbs: Valid ONLY for OFF-HIGHWAY use in unincorporated areas on dirt roads not maintained by state, city, town, or counites of the state; or roads / trails on federal land that do not require vehicle registration (street legal / licensed). Recreational Use Permit needed if operated on State Trust Land.
AZ RV Plate (title plate) / Valid AZ OHV Decal
AZ RV Plate with Decal Image
Valid ONLY for OFF-HIGHWAY use. Valid ONLY for OFF-HIGHWAY use in unincorporated areas on dirt roads not maintained by state, city, town, or counties of the state. Note: operators of over 1800 lbs are NOT able to purchase an AZ OHV Decal. Recreation Use Permit needed to stage (park) on State Trust land.
AZ MC Plate (small registration plate). Operator pays full registration fees.
No AZ OHV Decal.
AZ MC Plate image
Valid ONLY for OFF-HIGHWAY use. (Exception for AZ registered motorcycles used primarily on-highway area valid for ON- or OFF-HIGHWAY use*) Valid for ON- or OFF-HIGHWAY use for vehicles not requireed to hae the OHV Decal.** Recreational Use Permit needed if operated on State Trust Land.
AZ MC Plate (small registration plate). Operator may pay reduced VLT.
Valid OHV Decal.
AZ MC Plate with OHV Sticker Image
Valid ONLY for OFF-HIGHWAY use. (Exception for AZ registered motorcycles used primarily on-highway are valid for ON- and OFF-HIGHWAY use*) Valid for ON- or OFF-HIGHWAY use.** Note: Operators of vehicles over 1800 lbs are NOT able to purchase an AZ OHV Decal. These vehicles will display the full sized license plate. Recreation Use Permit needed to stage (park) on State Trust Land.
CA Green or Red Identification Sticker
(CA resident)
Green and Red Stickers Image
Valid ONLY for OFF-HIGHWAY use. Valid ONLY for OFF-HIGHWAY use for a maximum of 30 consecutive days.
CA OHV Nonresident Permit
Nonresiden OHV Use Permit Image
Valid ONLY for OFF-HIGHWAY use. NOT VALID for ON- or OFF-HIGHWAY use.

*For the purposes of valid use in California, “dual-sport motorcycle” is a common term used to describe a motorcycle that is designed by the manufacture for use on off-highway trails and has the necessary equipment and registration for legal highway operation. These vehicles will generally display street legal license plates and registration. Each state may have specific restrictions on dual-sport motorcycle conversions. In California the term dual sport only applies to motorcycles and not an All-Terrain Vehicle, dune buggy or other types of OHVs. A dual-sport motorcycle that is registered street legal/highway licensed in Arizona is legal in California for operation on and off of the highways.

**Highway use is only valid if the vehicle is properly equipped and insured for highway use as required by state law. Some vehicles may be capable of being registered through Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), but may not be legal to operate on all roadways in Arizona.

Note:

AZ Title PlateThe Arizona Title Plate (“Off-Road” or “RV” plate) is only an indication that the vehicle has been titled in the State of Arizona. It is NOT a registration plate and does not allow you to ride or drive on roads that require your vehicle to be registered (street legal/licensed). However, there are exemptions for incidental use on roads requiring registration (street legal/licensed vehicles). In general, incidental use would be crossing a street or conducting very limited travel on it for the purpose of access to OHV area/trails. Check with the local land management agency for information on road status.

AZ Registration PlateThe Arizona Registration Plate (“MC”) is a vehicle registration plate.  You must be licensed to drive/ride on-highway. A good rule of thumb is if a passenger car can use the road, your vehicle will need to be registered. If your vehicle weigh less than 1800lbs, and was designed by the manufacturer primarily for travel over unimproved terrain you also need an OHV Decal to operate on public and state trust lands.

AZ OHV Decal The Arizona OHV Decal shall be affixed to the upper left corner of the license plate.

Recreational Use Permit on Arizona State Trust Land: The Arizona OHV Decal allows crossing Arizona State Trust Land on authorized routes while riding a vehicle that weights less than 1800 pounds.  An Arizona State Land Department recreational Use Permit is required for any other recreational activities on State Trust Land.  For details on an ASLD Recreation Permit, download a permit application online at http://www.land.state.az.us/programs/natural/recreation_permit.htm. You may also visit the State Land Department office at 1616 W. Adams St., Phoenix, AZ 85007 or call the Arizona State Land Department at (602) 542-4631.