Facts about registering out-of-state off-highway vehicles in California

This page last reviewed December 31, 2013

Since 2002, California has required all new Off-Highway Recreational Vehicles sold or first registered in the state to meet basic emissions requirements in order to receive a "Green Sticker" allowing unrestricted use of public riding areas. Manufacturers may also choose to certify vehicles for the restricted use "Red Sticker" program that limits riding on public lands to certain times of the year. These restricted use vehicles are clearly identified by a "3" or "C" in the eighth position of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN, counted left to right, see graphic below). Any 2003 and newer OHV's not certified to one of these two requirements cannot be registered or used in California public riding areas.

OHV registration requirements and sticker type by by year

Used Off-Highway Recreational Vehicles will receive the following type of registration and riding area access sticker based on the following:

  • All 2002 and older model year vehicles receive "Green Stickers"*
  • 2003 model year and newer vehicles Certified and labeled to California emission standards receive "Green Stickers"
  • 2003 model year and newer vehicles with a "3" or "C" in the eighth position (counted left to right, see graphic) receive "Red Sticker" limited use registration
  • 2003 model year and newer vehicles without a "3" or "C" in the eighth position (counted left to right, see graphic) OR without a USEPA or California emissions label cannot be registered and will not receive any sticker

Verification of vehicle emission standards

All vehicles are clearly labeled or VIN number identified as to which requirements the vehicle meets. Vehicles without labels or VIN code identifiers cannot be registered for use in California. If you feel the label is missing or has been damaged, you may request replacement or verification from the vehicle manufacturer. Please note manufacturers may charge for this service.

The ARB also maintains a list of all California certified OHV's on our website: http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onroad/cert/cert.php

For More Information

For more information regarding the registration of used OHV's in California, please contact ARB's HELPLINE or call our hotline at (800) 242-4450

*provided the vehicle was intended by its manufacturer for sale in the United States, restrictions apply to vehicles intended for markets outside the United States. Additional information regarding "Greymarket" motorcycles is available here.