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Licensing snowmobiles and snow bikes

What are snowmobiles and snow bikes?

A snowmobile is a self-propelled vehicle capable of traveling over snow. A snow bike is a motorcycle modified with a conversion kit in order to drive over snow. They both have the following features:

  • Tracks - an endless belt with or without cleats used to drive in snow or ice.
  • Skis or sled type runners (for steering).

How to register

We don't issue titles for snowmobiles but you do need to register them. If you bought a snowmobile that is already registered, you must transfer it into your name within 10 days of taking possession of it.

Visit your local licensing office if you modified a motorcycle that was already registered. If you plan to use the snow bike for highway use you may need to fill out a highway use declaration form. Submit it along with the items listed below.

What you need to submit:

  • A Vehicle Title Application (English, Español, Русский, and more) The application must include:
    • Name and address of each registered owner
    • Make, model year
    • VIN
    • Method of propulsion
    • Purchase price and year of purchase
    • or
    • Declared value and year of declaration
  • A copy of any of the following:
    • Previously issued registration certificate
    • Certificate of ownership from another state or country
    • Manufacturer's certificate of origin
    • A bill of sale or purchase agreement
    • Other department approved ownership documents
    • Fees and taxes

When do I need to renew my snowmobile's or snow bike's decals and registration?

You must renew your decals and registration by October 1 for the following year.

If you skipped a renewal year and want to renew for the next year that's coming up make sure you renew on October 1. Otherwise you'll be renewing for the year you skipped. Snowmobile registration period is from October 1 through September 30 of the following year. Registration fees aren't prorated.

Regular snowmobile and snow bike decals

We issue 2 decals for snowmobiles and snow bikes in place of license plates.

Affix the decals and tabs to the snowmobile or snow bike as follows:

  • Decals: right below the windshield on both sides of the hood for greatest visibility
  • Month tab: in front of the first digit of each decal
  • Year tab: on the left side (driver's left when seated) within 2 inches of the last digit of the decal

Vintage snowmobiles

Snowmobiles manufactured 30 or more years ago are considered vintage. Owners:

  • Must visit an office to have a Vintage Snowmobile use type assigned.
  • Pay $12 registration fee without any special operating restrictions.
  • Don't have to register a vintage snowmobile if they don't operate it in WA. For example, they may transport it by trailer to a car show.

Exempt from annual registration

The following snowmobiles aren't subject to annual registration:

  • Government owned (or another state or political subdivision).
  • Nonresident owned when using the snowmobile for:
    • 15 consecutive days or less. You must have a valid registration from a jurisdiction with a similar exemption for WA residents.
    • 15 consecutive days or more. You must buy a nonresident temporary snowmobile permit or register the snowmobile.

Nonresident temporary snowmobile permit

When a snowmobile comes from a jurisdiction that doesn't register them, it qualifies for a nonresident temporary permit from the first day of use in Washington. Out of state snowmobiles may get a permit for no more than 60 consecutive days. Snowmobiles located in Washington for more than 60 consecutive days must be fully registered in Washington.

To apply for the permit, visit a local vehicle licensing office and submit a Non-resident snowmobile application and pay all applicable fees.

Adding a lien to a snowmobile

Washington doesn't issue titles for snowmobiles. If you want to put a lien on a snowmobile, contact us for specific instructions and application. We register security interests with our Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) section. They aren't recorded on the snowmobile registration.

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