Registration of All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)

Point of Sale Registration Requirement

Operation Pending Registration: The commission shall furnish all-terrain vehicle (ATV) dealers with cards bearing the words "registration applied for" and space for the purchase date. An unregistered ATV sold by a dealer shall bear one of these cards, which entitles the purchaser to operate it for 45 days immediately following purchase.

Where to Register

Residents: County recorder in county of residence.

Nonresidents: Must purchase a nonresident user permit in lieu of a registration. The user permit is available at any county recorder office or electronic license vendor where hunting and fishing licenses are sold. The permit is valid for the current calendar year and costs $15 plus writing fees.

Registration Fees

Annual Registration Fee: $15. Annual registration runs from Jan. 1 - Dec. 31. After the first of September, any unregistered ATV may be registered for the remainder of the current year and the subsequent year for a fee of $20.

Writing fee: $1.25 is charged by the county recorder for each registration.

Other Fees

Transfer of Registration Fee: $15 plus writing fee. (Registration transfers will be handled in the new owner's county of residence.)

Duplicate Registration Fee: $5 plus writing fee.

Title Fee: $10

Registration Renewal

Where: County recorder office in the county of residence. (Owners can get registration and permit information and download an application at http://www.iowadnr.gov/Things-to-Do/Off-Highway-Vehicles/OHV-Registration.)

  • An all-terrain vehicle dealer shall make application and pay all registration fees on behalf of the purchaser of an all-terrain vehicle.
  • Licensed ATV dealers are required by law to issue a "registration applied for" card with each machine to allow operation for 45 days immediately following the date of sale until registration is received. All-terrain vehicles cannot be legally operated unless bearing a valid registration or "registration applied for" card.

If the ownership of an ATV is to be transferred, the owner shall provide the purchaser with a bill of sale, registration certificate, and title. The new owner shall file an application for registration and title with the county recorder, in the county of their residence, within 30 days of purchase.

The registration certificate shall be carried either in the ATV or on the person operating the machine.

Exemptions to Registration

Registration shall not be required for the following ATVs.

  • ATVs owned and used by the United States, another state, or a political subdivision of another state.
  • ATVs being used for agricultural purposes (see exemptions on page 7).
All-terrain vehicles used by private engineering or survey companies, utility companies, or snowmobile clubs providing trail maintenance must display a valid DNR registration decal.

Registration Decals

The decal shall be affixed to the rear of the ATV so that the decal is clearly visible. On an off-road motorcycle the decal should be affixed to the yoke of the steering column so that it is clearly visible. The decal must be placed on the yoke in a manner that does not obstruct the view of the vehicle identification number.

Annual Registration Fee: $15. Annual registration runs from Jan. 1 - Dec. 31. After the first of September, any unregistered ATV may be registered for the remainder of the current year and the subsequent year for a fee of $20. Writing fee: $1.25 is charged by the county recorder for each registration.