Maine Vehicle Registration (A Complete Guide)

Maine Vehicle Registration (A Complete Guide)

Need to register your vehicle in Maine?

Or maybe it’s time to renew the registration…

Whatever the case, we have the complete guide to do just that. We’ll list the steps on how to register and renew your car. 

Plus, we’ll also show you how to apply for a vehicle title, as well as talk about the vehicle laws in the state. 

This is your complete guide to Maine vehicle registration. 

So let’s dive right in!

How to Register A Car in Maine

Three situations will require you to register your vehicle to the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV):

  • When you’ve bought a car from a licensed dealer in Maine
  • When you’ve bought a car through a private purchase
  • When you recently moved to Maine and brought your vehicle 

Let’s take a look at the different steps of registering for each situation. 

Registering a Vehicle Bought from a Licensed Dealer

If you bought your car from a licensed dealer, here is how to register it:

  1. Pay excise tax (a municipal tax) at your town office. 

NOTE: if your vehicle is brand new, provide the Monroney Label (or at least a copy) showing the manufacturer’s SRP (suggested retail price).

  1. Prepare the following documents:
    • The bill of sale or sales agreement from the dealer
    • A blue title application (only for 1995 models or newer)
    • Proof of auto insurance
    • The white and yellow copies of the registration application (should be taken from your town office)
    • The excise tax receipt
  1. Ask your municipal office if it’s part of Maine’s registration program. If it is, submit the necessary paperwork there. Otherwise, visit your local BMV office
  1. Pay the appropriate registration fee, depending on what plate type you choose. Click here to see all available license types.

NOTE: you must have your doctor’s signature on your application to qualify for disability plates.

Registering a Vehicle Bought Through a Private Purchase

If you decided to go for a second-hand car from a private owner, then here is how to register it in Maine:

  1. Visit your town office and pay for the excise tax.
  1. Gather the following documents for submission: 
    • A signed bill of sale
    • The vehicle’s title (if it’s a 1995 model or newer)
    • Proof of auto insurance
    • The white and yellow copies of the registration application (found in your town office)
    • The receipt of your excise tax payment
  1. You must submit these to a local BMV branch if your town office isn’t part of Maine’s registration program.
  1. Pay for the following:
    • The required 5.5% Maine sales tax.
    • The $33 application fee if your vehicle’s year model is 1995 or newer. 
    • The registration fee

NOTE: The type of plate you choose determines the registration fee. 

Registering an Out-of-State Vehicle

If you just recently moved to Maine and want to drive your vehicle around, here is how to register it to the state of Maine:

  1. Pay your excise tax at your town office.
  1. Gather the following documents:
    • Your out-of-state registration certificate
    • Your out-of-state title for vehicles with a 1995 model or newer

NOTE: If you’re still financing it, the lien holder’s name and address will be on it.

  • Proof of auto insurance
  • The white and yellow copies of the registration application (get from the town office)
  • The receipt for your excise tax payment
  1. Submit these to your municipality office. If they don’t participate in Maine’s registration program, you must go to a BMV office.
  1. Show a Maine Use Tax form to be exempted from paying sales tax.
  1. Pay the $33 application fee if your car’s model year is 1995 or newer.
  1. Pay the registration fee, depending on the type of plate you choose.

How to Renew A Car Registration in Maine

Registering your car in Maine is one thing — keeping your registration valid is another. Each year, you will have to renew it. 

Fortunately, there are two ways to go about this, so you can choose which works better for you:

  • Online
  • In Person

Let’s look at what these require.

Renewing Your Vehicle Registration Online

Online renewal is your most convenient option. You can save yourself a trip to a BMV office and do everything from the comfort of your home.

However, not everyone qualifies for an online renewal. Go through the following items and see if any of these apply to you:

  • Your registration expired more than seven months ago
  • You use your vehicle for any of the following:
    • It is an emergency vehicle
    • It is used as a coach
    • It weighs over 12,000 pounds
    • It’s a tractor or special mobile equipment
    • It’s a municipal or state vehicle
  • You need to file for an SR-22 insurance

If you placed a check on ANY of these boxes, you must renew in person. 

If you didn’t need to check anything, then you are eligible for online renewal. 

Here are the steps:

  1. Go to the Maine Rapid Renewal portal.
  1. Select your city or town.
  1. Encode your tax receipt number. You can find this either in the upper left or bottom-left corner of your registration card. 
  1. Prepare the following information:
    • Class Code
    • Registration number
    • Registrant name
    • Insurance information
    • Odometer details
  1. Pay the renewal fee online.

Renewing Your Vehicle Registration In Person

If you can’t renew through the online portal, then here is how to do it at a BMV office:

  1. Pax your excise tax.
  1. Bring the following documents to a local Maine BMV location:
    • Excise tax receipt
    • Proof of auto insurance
    • White and yellow copies of the registration application (found at your town office)
  1. Pay the necessary fees.

How to Apply for a Vehicle Title in Maine

More than knowing how to register your vehicle, it’s also essential that you know how to transfer the car’s title to your name.

A title serves as proof of ownership, so your name only appears if you’ve paid for it entirely. The lien holder’s information appears on the document if you’re still financing your car.

What’s more, you can find crucial information on your vehicle’s title. These include its make, model, and VIN (vehicle identification number).

Here’s how to apply for a vehicle title in Maine:

  1. Pay for your excise tax at your town office.
  1. Get a copy of the Application for Certificate of Title form from a local BMV branch.

NOTE: alternatively, you can request a copy of the form from the Title Examination Unit. Contact them through (207) 624-9000, extension 52138.

  1. Visit a BMV office and submit the following:
    • A filled-out application form
    • Photocopy of your valid driver’s license
    • The original vehicle title
    • The reading of your odometer
    • Proof of auto insurance and excise tax payment

NOTE: You can also send these through the mail. If you prefer this route, send the required documents, plus the payment, to this address:

Title Examination and Information Unit

Bureau of Motor Vehicles

29 State House Station

Augusta, ME 04333-0029

  1. Pay the title fee.

Vehicle Inspection in Maine

Maine wants to ensure that all vehicles on its roadways are safe. 

So besides renewing your vehicle registration every year, you must also have it inspected yearly.

The primary objective is to catch any damage or potential issues before it becomes a hazard on the road.

To do this, you must bring your vehicle to an authorized dealership, service station, or garage. You also need to have it undergo an emissions test if you registered your vehicle in Cumberland County. 

Now, technicians inspect several areas, including the following:

  • Brake, electrical, exhaust, fuel, lighting, windshield wipers, and washing systems
  • Body and chassis
  • Defrost
  • Glass and mirrors
  • Odometer
  • Steering
  • Suspension
  • Tires

Vehicle Laws in Maine

Finally, let’s look at the vehicle laws in Maine. 

There are two that all drivers must be familiar with — registration and insurance laws.

Registration Law

Maine’s laws require drivers to register their vehicles within 30 days of purchase or transfer. If you don’t comply with this timeline, you may face the following penalties:

  • A fine of up to $50 for a first offense if you purchased/moved more than 30 days ago but less than 150 days
  • A fine of up to $500 for each offense after
  • A Class E crime if more than 150 days have passed since you purchased your vehicle or became a resident of Maine

If law enforcement pulls you over and finds you driving a vehicle with an expired registration, you’ll get off with a warning if it’s only been 30 days from its expiration date. However, you must complete the registration within 10 business days.

Auto Insurance Law

To register/renew your vehicle in Maine, you have to show proof of auto insurance. 

The minimum insurance requirements vary between states. For Maine, your auto insurance policy must have the following:

  • $50,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $100,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $25,000 for property damage
  • $2,000 for medical payments
  • $50,000 per person for bodily injury from uninsured motorists
  • $100,000 per accident for bodily injury from uninsured motorists

Your policy can help you cover medical bills and treatment up to $100,000 per accident, with each person capped at $50,000. It also protects you against repair costs due to property damage up to $25,000.

Your policy must also protect you against uninsured motorists. Not only that, your auto insurance should protect you from medical expenses up to $100,000 per accident, with an upper limit of $50,000 per person.

So this law is placed for your own good. 

The Wrap Up

And that concludes your complete guide to Maine vehicle registration. 

So if you newly purchased a vehicle or transferred to the state, remember that you only have 30 days to get your car registered. 

Every year after that, you need to ensure that it is renewed. Thankfully, you can renew it online for convenience and flexibility — just make sure you’re eligible. 

And, of course, don’t forget to adhere to the vehicle inspection, as well as registration and auto insurance laws, in the state. 

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