The Handbook of Michigan Off-Road Vehicle Laws
The Official Off-roading Handbook of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources - Web Version
Table of Contents
Licensing and Titling Your Vehicle
Owners of ORVs are required to:
- Obtain a certificate of title for the ORV through the Secretary of State. Note: A Michigan title is not required on ORVs owned by nonresidents and used in Michigan.
- License the ORV with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) if the ORV will be used anywhere other than private property.
ORV Certificate of Title
Every ORV sold through a dealer must be accompanied by a certificate of origin. This certificate of origin contains all of the information needed for applying for a certificate of title. The application for a title is made to the Secretary of State.
It is unlawful for a seller to sell or transfer an ORV without transferring the title or for a buyer to purchase or acquire an ORV without obtaining a title.
- If an ORV is purchased through a dealer, application for a title will be made by the dealer on behalf of the buyer.
- If an ORV is purchased from someone other than a dealer, the buyer applies for a title.
Application for a title must be made within 15 days of purchase or transfer.
The DNR issues licenses for all ORVs on an annual basis. The annual fee for an ORV license is $26.25.
- In addition, an ORV trail permit is required to operate on state-designated ORV trails, routes, or areas. The cost of the ORV Trail permit is an additional $10.00.
Licenses are valid from April 1 through March 31 of the following year, regardless of the date of purchase.
Vehicles that are licensed under the Motor Vehicle Code as “street vehicles” require an ORV license only when they are being used as an ORV. A street-licensed ORV does not need an ORV license to use forest roads, but it will need an ORV license and an ORV trail permit if it is used on designated trails or in areas designated for cross-country use.
Where To License ORVs
ORV licenses are available from the DNR at DNR Operations Service Centers, over the Internet at www.mdnr-elicense.com, by mail, through participating ORV dealers, and through participating hunting and fishing license agents.
For licensing information, call the DNR at: 517-373-1204
An ORV license is not required for street-licensed vehicles when used where a conventional two-wheel-drive vehicle can operate, including on the frozen surface of public waters or designated ORV routes. If you must use four-wheel drive to operate on a designated ORV route, the vehicle is being used as an ORV and must have an ORV license and an ORV trail permit.
Private land owners, owners' family members, and their invited guests are not required to license ORVs that are operated exclusively on the owners' private property.
Licensing is required of ORVs used in areas open to public operations, regardless of whether the ORV is owned by a resident or nonresident of Michigan.