An Off-Highway Motor Vehicle (OHMV) also commonly referred to as an off-highway vehicle (OHV) is any motor vehicle operated on publicly accessible lands, including registered highway vehicles. Any such motor vehicle that is not registered because it is to be operated exclusively off the highways is required to be issued and display an identification plate by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This identification plate is commonly referred to as a "California Green Sticker." Identification, also referred to as "OHV Registration," is the equivalent of registration for OHVs, and has the same meaning. The registration fee was recently increased to $54 per vehicle with the additional $2 per year going to the California Highway Patrol. The registration is valid for a two-year period. The OHV fees are used for acquisition of new OHV areas, development and operation of existing OHV areas, enforcement of the rules and regulations, and protection of the natural resources. For additional information regarding the OHMVR Green and Red Sticker Fees, please download the OHMVR Information Bulletin dated April 24, 2009.

DMV will issue a Green or Red Sticker for your off-highway vehicles. Vehicles which can be operated both on- and off-highway will be given a street-legal license.

OHV Registration Requirements

  • Street-Legal License Plate:  Green sticker identification is not required for properly registered vehicles with a license plate. However, the plate must be properly displayed at all times, including off-highway.

    Several states have street licensed OHV programs.  California does not recognize these vehicles as being legal for highway or street use in this state. As California does not have a similar program, no reciprocity exists.  Any street registered OHV from another state may only be used in areas that allow OHV recreation.  If the street registered OHV comes from a state that requires a non-resident permit for properly registered OHV recreationists from California, then a California Non-resident Permit must be purchased in order to use that street registered vehicle in California. 

  • Green and Red Sticker ImagesGreen or Red Sticker:  If you are going to operate a motorized vehicle off-highway only,  you must have either a Green Sticker or a Red Sticker that has been issued by the DMV.

    The Green Sticker indicates vehicles allowed to operate on public lands open to motor vehicles all year.  The Red Sticker is issued to motorcycles and ATVs model year 2003 through 2021 that do not meet the emission standards established by the California Air Resources Board (ARB). Vehicles not certified to meet ARB standards are required to indicate a "3" or a "C" in the eighth position of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

    Model year 2022 and newer competition-labeled emissions non-compliant motorcycles and ATVs are not eligible for either a Green Sticker or a Red Sticker. They can only be operated on closed courses when on public lands.

    The Red Sticker is valid identification, the same as the Green Sticker except these vehicles can only be operated in specific areas during certain times of the year. To find out when you can operate your vehicle, call the specific riding area you want to visit or view the information on the Red Sticker Open Riding Schedule web page.

  • Nonresident OHV Use Permit ImageNonresident OHV Use Permit:  Out-of-state visitors to California OHV areas, please refer to the Nonresident OHV Use Permit web page. If you are an Arizona resident, please go to the Arizona OHV Decal Program web page. Non-California residents must comply with the California Air Resources Board Red Sticker riding season requirements.  Arizona now requires all non-residents, regardless of their OHV registration status to purchase a AZ Non-Resident Permit before riding there.

    This is only an excerpt of laws relating to OHV recreation. For a complete list, see Division 16.5 of the California Vehicle Code available at DMV offices or on the California Vehicle Code Division 16.5 web page.