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 an Arizona resident, when operated off-highway in California, must display one of the following:

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 are interchangeable. Both refer to the payment of recurring fees to the DMV to allow legal operation of OHVs on public lands.

Effective January 1, 2022 the State of California will not recognize another State's OHV registration program unless that State also recognizes California's program. Out of state recreationists must purchase a California non-resident permit to ride on Public lands if their home state requires residents of California to purchase as non-resident permit for their currently registered OHV.

Due to Arizona's policy changes requiring all nonresident OHV's operating within Arizona to purchase a nonresidential OHV decal enacted (September 1, 2019), residents of Arizona operating their OHVs within California must purchase a non-resident permit.

Arizona, like some other states, has a street-legal OHV registration program. The owners of these OHVs are still required to purchase a non-resident permit for off-highway use in California as there is no similar registration program in California.

For information on Arizona's OHV program, visit:


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 weighs 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 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.