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It's the Law—Iowa's Snowmobile Laws
Registration of Snowmobiles

Point of Sale Registration

  • Operation Pending Registration: The commission shall furnish snowmobile dealers with cards bearing the words “registration applied for” and space for the purchase date. An unregistered snowmobile sold by a dealer shall bear one of these cards, which entitles the purchaser to operate it for forty-five days immediately following the purchase.
    • The purchaser of a registered snowmobile may operate it for forty-five days immediately following the purchase without having completed a transfer of registration. A snowmobile dealer shall make application and pay all registration fees on behalf of the purchaser of a snowmobile.
    • Licensed snowmobile dealers are required by law to issue a “registration applied for” card with each machine to allow operation for forty-five days immediately following the date of sale until registration is received. Snowmobiles cannot be legally operated unless bearing a valid registration or “registration applied for” card.
  • If the ownership of a snowmobile is to be transferred, the purchaser must, within 30 days, file an application for a new registration and title with the county recorder.
  • The registration certificate shall be carried either in the snowmobile or on the person operating the machine.
  • The snowmobile registration fee is in lieu of personal property tax for the calendar year of the registration.

Where to Register

  • Residents: County recorder in county of residence.
  • Nonresident: County recorder in county of principal use or any electronic license vendor where hunting and fishing licenses are sold

Registration Fees

  • Annual Registration Fee: $15.
    Annual registration runs from Jan. 1 - Dec. 31. After the first of September, any unregistered snowmobile 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

  • Duplicate Registration Fee: $5
  • Title Fee: $10
  • Lien Fee: $10

Registration Renewal

Where: County recorder office in the county of residence. (After September 1, 2007, owners can renew their snowmobile registrations at their county recorder for the 2008 calendar year using the electronic license system. Following this electronic renewal, owners can renew their registrations at any electronic license vendor where hunting and fishing licenses are sold.)

Exemptions to Registration

Registration shall not be required for the following snowmobiles:

  • Snowmobiles owned and used by the United States, another state, or a political subdivision of another state.
  • Snowmobiles being used for agricultural purposes.

Delinquent Registration

An expired snowmobile registration may be renewed for the same fee as if the owner is securing the original registration plus a penalty of $5.00 and a writing fee.

Registration Decals

  • The decal must be affixed to the windshield or area closest to the headlamp on the front of the snowmobile so that the decal is clearly visible.

Correct placement of license decal on an Snowmobile

Iowa Department
of Natural Resources
It's the Law!
Snowmobile Basics
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