How to Register a Bus as an RV or Motorhome

Did you know that you can convert a school van into a recreational vehicle? Yes, you heard it right. Most people use the school van as a motorhome for living, which saves them money, but they also get almost everything that perfectly fits their lifestyle choices.

However, if you are considering using a skoolie van as your customized motorhome, you have to learn various factors first. But if you are thinking about renovating it, then you are wrong. Renovating a skoolie van is a whole different topic. You are required to go through the registration process first.

Yes, it is about how to register a bus as an RV or motorhome?

In this post, I will outline everything related to how to register a bus as an RV or motorhome. I will go through every step in detail, so you get a better understanding. To know more, keep reading the post below.

How to Register a Bus as an RV?

Let’s start with the requirements that you need regarding the registration of a bus as an RV.

How to Register a Bus as an RV?

Since a bus is a commercial vehicle, which makes its premium insurance higher than a standard vehicle, such as an RV or a motorhome. Another vital aspect that you should know is that you can drive an RV or a motorhome with a regular driving license, but driving a private bus means you might have to get a different license type first, which varies depending on the state laws you are living in.

Now, let move to the topic – requirements of registering a bus as an RV or motorhome.

Although when registering a bus as your RV will require you to put some effort, don’t worry, as there is nothing that is too complicated for you. The very first step of yours will be to consult with the DMW. However, if the local DMW is unable to help you out, you can discuss the matter with the representative there who will then refer you to another DMW who can solve your issue.

You should also know that some rules and regulations vary depending on the state to state. That is why I will discuss the general rules and a list of requirements along with documentation that is the same in almost all the states. The rest of the process, you will easily figure out while consulting with the state DMW.

So, let’s discuss the requirements now!

1. Current Title

The first requirement is you should have the current title on your bus. And if you don’t have one, you will have to get a salvage title. This is more likely to happen because your bus may be too old or it is damaged. Since every state has its own requirements, you should know what you have to do next before getting the title.

2. Bill of Sale

Bill of sale
Example Template

The second requirement is the bill of sale. It is nothing complicated but a purchasing receipt from the seller to the buyer, which also should be legal and valid. In order to make it acceptable, make sure it has some certain required information. You may also get a downloadable form from the DMW that both you and the seller have to fill out to keep things smooth and organized.

The Bill of Sale must include, 

  • Purchasing Date.
  • Buying price in US Dollars.
  • The seller’s complete information, such as name, address, contact number, etc.
  • The buyer’s complete information, such as name, address, contact number, etc.
  • Description of the vehicle, including manufacturing year, model, etc.
  • VIN (Vehicle Identification Number).
  • Warranty details, such as does the vehicle currently have a warranty? Does the manufacturer of the vehicle offer a warranty? And the conditions of the warranty, etc.

3. Vehicle Weight Certificate

Vehicle Weight Certificate
Example Copy

if you currently don’t have your vehicle’s weight certificate, you can easily find a recycling center, truck shops, automotive repair shops, garbage dumps, etc. that usually have a scale to weight vehicles. When they weigh your vehicle, they will also give you the vehicle weight certificate, which is acceptable by the DMW.

4. Photos of the Conversion

Bus into RV

You must have to consider documentation when considering registering a bus as an RV or motorhome. Because when you mail your application along with the documentation, the DMW will ask for proof to confirm if you have already converted the bus.

You will have to take pictures of both interior and exterior and other modifications that you have made to your vehicle that you will then send to the DMW as proof. Again the rules vary state by state, and some states require you to remove some equipment from your vehicle, such as stop signs, flashlights, etc. However, you will get a list from them that will let you know what you have to remove from the vehicle.

For instance, the Texas state rules of conversion when you register your bus as an RV or motorhome include the installation of multiple life support features. A modified bus must have to be equipped with any of the four life support features give below.

  • 125V electric power supply.
  • Complete water supply system, including a water storage tank, faucet, sink, and external water supply connection.
  • Cooking facility.
  • Toilet with external dumping facility.
  • An air conditioning system or a heating system that draws power from the onboard source – except the engine.

It would be great if you start renovating the vehicle long before you apply for the conversion.

5. Physical Inspection

When you have submitted all the documentation and photos as proof to DMW, the story, however, doesn’t end here. The DMW will also send someone for a physical inspection of your vehicle. They will confirm whether you have made the required modifications or not and confirm whether your vehicle is fulfilling the safety guideline of the road set by the Department of Transportation.

Moreover, it would be great to prepare for a long drive that will show your vehicle’s capability. You should also ask about documentation from DMW while driving. Furthermore, since you don’t have the title and registration yet, the bill of sale and the current title will be accepted.

6. Insurance Proof

You should also prepare the insurance policy of your vehicle in advance. Although there are many companies that assist with converted bus RVs insurance, I recommend going with Good Sam or National General. In this regard, the insurance company might need the same documentation that I have mentioned above.

7. Driver’s License

Your current driving license is not valid for an RV license, so you also have to upgrade it. If the vehicle has more weight than 26,000 lbs, you have to upgrade the license. However, this license is not the same as a CDL license (Commercial Driving License). It also means you should know the non-commercial Class B license requirements.

8. Fulfill the RV Definition

Although the definition of an RV varies depending on the state to state laws, here are some common requirements that will be the same in every state for a bus converted to an RV,

  • Food preparation space.
  • Sleeping area with beds.
  • Bathroom area.
  • Refrigerator.
  • Stove with fuel resources.
  • Water source.
  • Electrical system.

That is all that you will need to register a bus as an RV. Although the requirements will require you to put in some effort, they are not complicated. But, still, if you think it is hard for you to collect all the documentation that I have mentioned above, there is another way.

If you cannot collect all the above paperwork or find a suitable insurance company, you should consider doing it from Vermont. The Vermont state is the best place to register a bus as an RV for those who want to change their skoolie bus to an RV.

It is because the state has modified its requirement regarding the registration of the bus as an RV to make the rules more lenient. Moreover, to register a bus as an RV, you don’t have to be a Vermont state resident as well.

How to Register a Bus as an RV in Vermont?

The registration is simple, and you don’t even need to prepare insurance documentation, conversion proof and the DMW doesn’t need any physical inspection of the vehicle. However, what will be critical for the registration of your bus as an RV is the vehicle’s age. If your vehicle is less old than fifteen years, you will be given a real title.

But, if your vehicle is older than 15 years, you will be awarded a transferable registration, which you can use to change the registration to another state only. So, how to register a bus as an RV in Vermont?

Well, to apply for the registration, you will need an application form for re-titling in Vermont. You can get the form from the state’s official website, and the form name is VD119. Now, download the form and fill it out with the details it requires. After you have provided all the information, you have to send it along with the bill of purchase, as well as the title to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

But, before mailing to the department, it would be great to re-check the list of the requirements through the Vermont website for re-titling. The process might take up to a week until you get your vehicle’s license plate.

Wrapping Up

Don’t worry if you cannot afford to buy an RV to explore the world you want. There’s a solution that you can use to have an RV with all the necessities and amenities you want in an RV without paying a hefty amount. You can convert your bus into an RV, and the process is simple. You just need to make sure that you have all the required details, and your vehicle is meeting all the requirements necessary to register a bus as an RV. Above, I have outlined each and everything about how to register a bus as an RV or a motorhome, and I’m sure that it will help you. Moreover, if you think that the registration process is lengthy and it will be hard for you to prepare all those documents, you should consider registering your vehicle from Vermont state. The state has flexible rules and doesn’t need much documentation. If you think the above information guide is useful for you, do not forget to leave a comment below.

FAQ

Do I have to remove flashlights and other equipment from my bus to register it as an RV?

Yes, the requirements you have to meet to register a bus as an RV also require you to remove your RV’s flashlights and other equipment.

Do the DMW also inspect the vehicle before they register a bus as an RV?

Yes, DMW will send someone for the physical inspection of the bus you want to convert into an RV before the approval.

What skoolie bus is great to convert into an RV?

Although you can convert any skoolie bus as an RV after the registration process, the best skoolie bus that will look great as an RV with all the comforts is Crown Super Coach. These buses are generally armed with a diesel engine. However, they are extremely durable and don’t require much maintenance.

About Ted Mosby

My Name is Ted Mosby from Cleveland, Ohio. I am a freelance Architect. I live in New Jersey, USA right now and I take my RV every alternate weekend. As I am a Freelancer I can work anywhere so most of my work is done inside my camper remotely.