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Arizona Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Decal

Rules and Regulations


The Arizona OHV Decal will ONLY be issued by the Arizona Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Divison. The OHV Decal is available online at, or at any MVD office or Authorized MVD Third Party Service Provider. Always purchase your OHV Decal first in renewal transactions with MVD.

The OHV Decal WILL NOT be issued at Arizona Game and Fish Department offices.

OHV Decal is $25

Renewal notices will be sent to you from the Arizona Game and Fish Department about the expiration of your decal. However, the OHV Decal needs to be obtained through MVD, MVD third party service providers or online at It is still your responsibility to make sure your vehicle is up-to-date, as OHV Decals are only good for one year from date of purchase.







Thanks to a collaborative effort between a broad coalition of OHV enthusiasts, sportsmen, conservationists, elected officials and the public, new laws that will help better manage Arizona’s rapidly growing OHV use took effect Jan. 1, 2009. Among other provisions, the new law requires the annual purchase of an Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Decal for the operation of any ATV or OHV in Arizona that meets both the following criteria:

  • Designed by the manufacturer primarily for travel over unimproved terrain.
  • Has an unladen weight of eighteen hundred pounds or less.

Why is the new law needed?

  • OHV use in Arizona has exploded (347 percent increase since 1998), outpacing the existing funding to manage that growth, protect wildlife habitat, and help maintain recreational access. Revenues generated from the new OHV Decal user fee will be used to help ensure sustainable opportunities and natural resource protection by bolstering funding and grant programs that pay for trail maintenance, signage, maps, facility development, habitat damage mitigation, education, and enforcement.

What does the new law do?

  • It specifies OHV Decal, title, license plate and registration requirements.
  • It specifies equipment requirements.
  • It specifies regulations for safe, ethical and responsible operation.

OHV Decal funding results

  • Seven new OHV enforcement officers and their equipment – as prescribed by ARS § 28-1176.C
  • Increased OHV enforcement and education efforts statewide
  • Creation of the Arizona OHV Guide with laws and places to ride – the most requested Game and Fish brochure going to all MVD offices, title and registration providers, all state welcome centers, all forest service offices, all BLM offices, all chambers of commerce as well as individual requests
  • OHV information outreach events with the OHV outreach trailer
  • Statewide OHV operation training for officers and other employees
  • Partnerships with statewide "OHV Ambassadors" volunteer groups that educate and promote safe, ethical and responsible OHV use
  • OHV Decal renewal notices will now be sent out
  • Grants to improve riding areas
  • A grant for much needed equipment
  • A grant to help create an Arizona specific OHV safety movie
  • Got decal? Bumper stickers

How can I help keep OHV areas open?

  • Get involved. Educate yourself by stopping in and talking with land managers at their office. Or, if you see them in the field, stop and ask questions.
    - Respect others. Be especially cautious around horses and hikers. Pull off to the side of the trail, shut off your engine, and let the horses or hikers pass.
    - Keep your OHV quiet. Loud OHVs have no place in the backcountry.
    Remember: <dB=>96 (Less sound equals more ground.)
    - Stay on trails and in areas open to OHV use.

What is the OHV Decal?

  • The OHV Decal is a sticker that must be purchased annually for $25 to allow your OHV to be operated within Arizona. The decal will need to be applied to the upper left corner of your license plate, and your license plate will need to be visibly displayed on the rear of your OHV. The dollars collected through the purchase of the OHV Decal are considered an OHV user fee and apply to all OHVs meeting the bulleted criteria in the following paragraph.

  • The OHV Decal should not be confused with “registration.” Registration is required if you want your OHV to be “street legal” (i.e., operate it on paved and improved roads and streets.) and you'll still need to obtain the OHV Decal if you meet the two requirements.

What is considered an off-highway vehicle for the purpose of obtaining the OHV Decal?

  • An off-highway vehicle is any motor vehicle operated on unimproved roads, trails and approved use areas not suitable for conventional two-wheel-drive vehicular travel. Examples include: ATVs, ROVs, trail motorcycles and dirt bikes.

  • The requirement to purchase an OHV Decal only applies to OHVs meeting both of the following criteria:
    • Designed by the manufacturer primarily for travel over unimproved terrain.
    • Has an unladen weight of eighteen hundred pounds or less.
  • Pickup trucks, SUVs, cars and other recreational vehicles are not required (and will not be able) to obtain an OHV decal.  All other vehicle regulations apply.

How do I obtain the OHV Decal and what does it cost?

  • The cost of the OHV Decal is $25 and is available online at (It's in the All Services section at the bottom of that page.) or at any Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) Office or Authorized Third Party Service Provider. The decal is valid for one year and it is the ATV/OHV owner’s responsibility to renew their OHV Decal annually. A renewal notice will now be sent from Game and Fish, but you still get the OHV Decal through MVD. Always purchase your OHV Decal first when in a renewal transaction with MVD.

Title, License Plate, OHV Decal and Registration: What steps do I need to take to be in compliance with the law?

  • Your OHV/ATV must have an Arizona Certificate of Title in your name. If the vehicle is not titled in your name or you have an out-of-state title, you will need to visit an MVD Office or Authorized Third Party Provider to obtain an Arizona Certificate of Title. All ATV/OHV owners must obtain an Arizona Title for their vehicle(s) by July 1, 2009.
  • The vehicle must have an Arizona license plate. The license plate must be securely attached to the rear of the vehicle and clearly visible.

  • If you need to confirm the vehicle has been issued a license plate and title, you may request a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) online at or visit an MVD Office or Authorized Third Party Service Provider. The vehicle identification number (VIN), your driver license number and a $3.00 fee is required to obtain an MVR.
  • You can obtain the annual $25 OHV Decal for your OHV on-line at or at an MVD Office or Authorized Third Party Service Provider.  The OHV Decal shall be affixed to the upper left corner of the license plate, like you see here. The placement of the OHV Decal is exactly the same for qualified registered or "street legal" vehicles.

  • The OHV Decal is valid for one year from purchase. As fo April 1, 2011 you will now be sent a renewal notice from the Game and Fish Department, but the OHV Decal is only sold at MVD offices or online at (It's in the All Services section toward the bottom of that page.) It is still your responsibility to renew and display a current OHV Decal on your vehicle license plate annually.
  • If you want to ride on improved and maintained roads (Streets, Highways or Forest Service Roads) your OHV can be registered for “street legal” use in Arizona. Your vehicle will first need to be titled and needs to meet all on-highway equipment requirements. If you meet the OHV Decal requirements then you will also need to purchase the OHV Decal.
  • The Arizona Game and Fish Department does not Title or Register OHV's. For more information about Titling or Registering your OHV goto MVD or online at
What does the 'RV' license plate on my OHV mean?

  • The "RV" plate on your OHV is only an indication that the OHV has been titled in the State of Arizona. It is NOT a registration plate and does not allow you to ride on roads that require your vehicle to be registered. To ride on paved or maintained roads you need the "MC" or Motorcycle registration plate.

I have a Title plate and OHV Decal - Where can I ride?

  • The title-only license plate allows for travel on roads and trails that do not require "street legal" registration.
  • Exceptions to the "street legal" clause are: (You're covered with the Title plate and OHV Decal)
    • An ATV or OHV operating on a dirt road that is located in an unicorporated area of this state. For this purpose, "dirt road" means an unpaved or ungraveled road that is not maintained by this state, county, city or town.
    • A person operating an OHV who is particiapting in an OHV special event.
    • An ATV or OHV that is only incidentally operated or moved on a highway.
    • A golf cart used in the operation of a golf course or only incidentally operated or moved on a highway.

I lost my license plate and/or my OHV Decal, now what do I do?

  • If it is lost, stolen or mutilated, then you may obtain a replacement for a $5.00 fee at an MVD Office or Authorized Third Party Provider.

I own a truck, jeep or sandrail that's doesn't meet the OHV Decal requirements and would like to obtain the OHV Decal to help support the program. Can I do that?

  • No, at this time the OHV Decal will only be issued for qualifying vehicles:
    • Designed by the manufacturer primarily for travel over unimproved terrain and
    • Has an unladen weight of 1,800 pounds or less

What equipment is required to operate my OHV in Arizona? (Some of these equipment requirements are specified in older statutes that are already part of Arizona State Law.)

  • For those under 18, a properly fitted and fastened U.S. DOT-approved helmet. (ARS 28-1179B)
  • Brakes. (ARS 28-1179A.1)
  • Lighted head and taillights if operated between one half-hour after sunset and one half-hour before sunrise. (ARS 28-1179A.2)
  • A muffler or noise dissipative device that prevents sound above 96 decibels. (ARS 28-1179A.3)
  • A United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-approved spark arrestor device. (ARS 28-1179A.4)
  • Eye Protection for operators of vehicles not equipped with a windshield. (ARS 28-964A)
  • License plate securely fastened to the rear of the OHV and clearly visible. (ARS 28-2512D.1&2)
  • Rearview mirror. (ARS 28-964B)
  • Brake light and at least one red rear reflector (if taillight does not reflect). (ARS 28-927)
  • Seat and footrests for the operator and passenger if vehicle is designed to carry a passenger. (ARS 28-964B)
  • Sand dunes and certain areas designated by a land managing agency may require a safety flag. The flag shall be at least 6 by 12 inches and attached to the OHV and flying at least 8 feet above the surface of the level ground. (28-1179A.5)

To street legal your OHV you will also need:

  • License plate light. (ARS 28-925C)
  • Horn audible from a distance of at least 200 feet. (ARS 28-954A)
  • Proper insurance. (ARS 28-4142A)
  • Emissions: Certain areas may also require to have your OHV emissions tested. (ARS 49-542C&D)

Where can I go for training?

  • The ATV RiderCourse
    Developed by the ATV Safety Institute, the ATV RiderCourse provides hands-on training in the basic techniques for riding an all-terrain vehicle. The course also covers protective gear, local laws, finding places to ride, and environmental concerns. If you bought your ATV after December 30,1986, you may be eligible for free training. Those not eligible for the free training may take the course for a small fee. The ATV RiderCourse is available nationwide. To sign up call: 1-800-887-2887.

    Off-Highway Motorcycle Training
    T.E.A.M. Arizona (480) 998-9888
    T.E.A.M. Arizona conducts basic rider training for dirt bikes.

    Four-Wheel Drive
    Arizona State Association of Four-Wheel Drive Clubs 602 258-4BY4
    The ASA4WDC sponsors safety clinics that teach the basics of 4WD.

Where Can I Ride OHV's?

What is State Trust Land?

  • State Trust Land is land that was granted to Arizona by the federal government when Arizona became a state in 1912. Trust lands total approximately 9.4 million acres and are managed by the State Land Department. The land is held in trust by the State of Arizona, and by law, must be used to generate revenue to fund public schools, universities and other state institutions. State Trust Land is NOT public land. You must have a permit to be on State Trust Land.

Do I need a permit to operate my OHV on State Trust Land?

  • Yes. You must have a recreational permit or a hunting or fishing license to be on State Land. However, a hunting or fishing license is valid only if you are actively engaged in hunting or fishing. Recreational Permits are available for individuals and families and are issued for one year from the date of purchase. As of Aug. 1, 2008, You may pick up your recreational permit in person at any State Land Department Office or you can order one by mail, by telephone at (602) 364-2753 or online.

What rules should I follow on State Trust Land?

  • Most state land is already leased to someone. When recreating on state land, please keep in mind that someone else is trying to make a living from that land.
    - Leave gates the way you find them, either open or closed
    - Vehicles must travel on existing roads and trails
    - Camp at least 1/4 mile from any livestock or wildlife water catchments, tanks, etc
    - Obey posted signs, respect closed areas
    - If you pack it in - pack it out, don't litter

What are the rules and laws concerning OHVs?

  • Each agency that manages public land has its own rules, regulations and laws to enforce. Rules and laws change. Before using public lands, check with the local land management agency office about rules and requirements. Keep current about changes in OHV regulations. Most areas restrict OHV use to established roads and trails. Some areas have seasonal closures because of wet roads or wildlife breeding or nesting areas.

Are there laws about alcohol and drugs for OHV driving?

  • The operation of an off-highway vehicle requires skill and good judgment. Drugs and alcohol impair both. You become a danger to yourself and others when you operate your OHV and take drugs or drink alcohol. Laws regarding DUI apply everywhere in the state. You can be arrested if you are driving under the influence even if you are on a backcountry trail, and the penalties are the same including jail time and the loss of driver's license.

Do I need to be registered or licensed to drive my OHV?

  • State motor vehicle laws apply on many Forest Service and BLM roads, meaning your vehicle must be registered and you must be licensed. A good rule of thumb is if a passenger car can use the road, your vehicle will need to be "street legal". Some roads and trails are open to unlicensed recreational motor vehicles. Check with the local land manager for information on road status.

What are the new operating regulations?

  • Travel is limited to roads, trails and areas that are designated open by the land management agency for motorized vehicle use.
  • Travel by motorized vehicles that causes damage to wildlife habitat, riparian areas, cultural or natural resources or property or improvements is prohibited.
  • No reckless operation.
  • No removal or placement of regulatory signs, other than at the direction of a governmental agency.

Can I operate on State Trust Land?

  • An OHV meeting the 1,800-pound or less requirement and displaying the OHV Decal may cross State Trust Land only on designated or open existing roads and trails. Do not enter closed areas.
  • Operation of support vehicles (RV, truck, trailer, etc.) requires a recreational permit.
  • Any other recreational purposes (picnics, camping, etc.) require the purchase of the recreation permit from the Arizona State Land Department.
Are there any OHV Decal exceptions?

  • A person may operate an all-terrain vehicle or an off-highway vehicle in Arizona without an off-highway vehicle user indicia (OHV Decal) if any of the following applies:

    • The person is participating in an off-highway special event.
    • The person is operating an all-terrain vehicle or off-highway vehicle on private land.
    • The person is loading or unloading an all-terrain vehicle or off-highway vehicle from a vehicle.
    • During a period of emergency of if the operation is directed by a peace officer or other public authority.
    • All of the following apply for non-residents
      • The person is not a resident of Arizona - and -
      • The person owns the vehicle - and -
      • The vehicle diplays a current off-highway vehicle user indicia (sticker/decal) or registration (license plate) from the person's state of residency - and -
      • The vehicle is not in Arizona for more than 30 consecutive days.

Where can I find more information?



OHV Information
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Downloads [More]
- Arizona Off-Highway Vehicle Guide, OHV Laws and Places to Ride [Click Here]
External Resources [More]
- Arizona State Parks OHV Program
- Arizona State Land Department Recreational Use Permit Information
- Arizona State Association of Four-Wheel Drive Clubs

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