How to Register a Motorcycle in Pennsylvania

For those wondering about how to register motorcycle titles in Pennsylvania, the process is similar to the registration of any other vehicle in the state. When registering motorcycle titles, there are several pieces of required documentation that will differ, depending if the registrant has purchased the vehicle from a PA motorcycle dealership, purchased it from a private seller or is registering it from out-of-state. Below, review information on how to register motorcycle titles across a variety of situations, what documentation is needed for each scenario and how you can efficiently complete the application process.

Pennsylvania Motorcycle Registration Requirements

Anyone registering a motorcycle in Pennsylvania will need to already possess a Class M license, otherwise known as a motorcycle drivers license. Once you have completed your application for the Class M license and are a license holder, the steps outlined below for registering a motorcycle in PA can be followed.

  • Provide valid photo ID - All motorcycle registration applications will require a valid photo ID, which may be a Pennsylvania state identification card, or a Common Access card issued by the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Bring proof of motorcycle insurance - To register PA motorcycle titling, your vehicle must already be fully insured. Adequate proof may be any document from your insurer that shows both an effective date and an expiration date.
  • Supply a title of ownership - When registering a motorcycle in Pennsylvania, you must provide proof that a vehicle is, in fact, yours. This requirement will depend on your status as a lessee, if applicable.
  • Have your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) certification - To register motorcycle titles in Pennsylvania, registrants must certify their VINs through a notarized tracing, a notarized photograph or a mechanic's certification.
  • Bring payment of motorcycle registration fees - Fees vary depending on the desired length of your motorbike registration. If you have registered your bike through a dealership, these fees will be built into your purchase.

Once all of these requirements for registering your motorcycle have been fulfilled, you must then have your motorcycle examined at an official Pennsylvania inspection station as part of a vehicle safety inspection. This inspection must be completed within 10 days from the date of bike registration, and will involve an equipment check of the motorcycle's lights, brakes, tires, steering, wipers and other significant features. Inspection costs will be posted at each station, and will not include the cost of repairing any of the vehicle's potential defects. It should also be noted that motorcycles are exempt from Pennsylvania emissions tests, which are typically required when registering a car or truck. As such, completion of the safety inspection will complete the registration process.

Read more about motorcycle registration requirements in Pennsylvania by downloading our free guide.

Pennsylvania Motorcycle Registration Dealership Purchases

Much of the motorcycle registration process is taken care of when purchasing a motorcycle at a dealership. However, one key difference is that the lessor will complete an Application for Lessee Information form. This form is needed when completing a leased motorcycle registration, and can only be received at a local Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) office. This form will work in place of the Title of Ownership requirement, as it will inform the PennDOT office that you are the lessor of the bike.

Upon completion of the purchase, all other motorcycle registration fees will be taken care of, as they are built into the cost of the purchase. As such, the customer will receive a temporary PA motorbike registration and a tag for his or her vehicle at the dealer, and will then receive the permanent documentation in the mail. In this situation, it is still the responsibility of the customer to complete his or her vehicle safety inspection within 10 days after the purchase, should the vehicle's inspection tags be out-of-date. This may be the case when purchasing from a used bike dealership. Download our complimentary guide to review more information about motorcycle registration procedures.

Pennsylvania Motorcycle Registration: Private Purchases

You should note that there is no 'register motorcycle online' option when titling a motorbike in the state of Pennsylvania. As such, when you purchase from a private seller, like those via the internet, you will need to confirm all required listed items and submit them in person to a PennDOT office.

In the case of the vehicle's Title of Ownership, this will need to be verified by a PennDOT agent with the person from whom you are purchasing the motorcycle. To completely register a motorcycle, a PennDOT agent will need to validate the transfer of title from the seller to the buyer. Similar to purchasers of used bikes at a dealership, it will then be your responsibility to complete a vehicle safety inspection within 10 days after motorcycle registration if the vehicle's inspection tags are expired.

Furthermore, if the purchase is made at a price point that is considerably below the fair market value (as is the case with friends and family who sell to each other) then a Motor Vehicle Verification of Fair Market Value form must be completed. As part of registering motorcycle titles, applicable sales taxes will be contingent upon the price paid for the vehicle. Without this document, a registrant may be liable for sales tax at the fair market value.

Pennsylvania Motorcycle Registration: Out-of-State Registration

To register a motorcycle in Pennsylvania which is currently registered out-of-state, the registrant must surrender the vehicle's title to the state and apply for a new one. Once the title has been surrendered, the registrant may follow the same steps listed above.

However, in the case of a leased vehicle, the motorbike registration applicant may not have the certificate of title, and instead, the lienholder will. To transfer the motorcycle registration to Pennsylvania, the bike registrant must request the lienholder to transfer the title to the either himself or herself, or to the PennDOT office. Many times, lienholders will not release the title to the lessee until the lien has been satisfied. It is up to the registrant to either pay off the loan before transferring the title and registering motorcycles as a first-time registrant, or to satisfy the current lienholder by refinancing the vehicle at a Pennsylvania state institution. Should the lienholder release the title to the PennDOT office, the appropriate forms will be filed on the behalf of the applicant, once all other documentation has been submitted.

Learn more about the different motorcycle registration scenarios in our comprehensive guide.