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If you have recently purchased a vehicle through a dealership or a private seller, you will need to apply for a car registration. All vehicles in your possession must be registered in your name to be driven legally in your state. You cannot typically apply for a new vehicle registration online or by mail. You must visit a DMV office in person to register a car. To make sure that you are fully prepared for the process, download our informative digital guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know to register your vehicle with ease. You will also learn how to replace or renew your car registration, and how to change your name or address.

2. By Mail

Some states allow residents to register cars by mail. However, these applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements, such as temporarily residing out of state or having purchased the vehicle out of state. To obtain your new car registration by mail, you will need to send your completed application and all necessary documents (such as proof of ID, a bill of sale, an insurance card, etc.) to your local DMV office. You will also need to send in a check or money order for the full payment amount. Due to mailing and processing times, delays are common with the mail-in application method. It may take several weeks for you to receive your new car registration.

3. In Person at a DMV Office

In most instances, you will be required to get your car registration in person at a local DMV office. You must submit a filled-out application, proof of your identity, evidence of the car purchase and proof of auto insurance coverage for the vehicle. Additionally, you need to provide payment for all applicable fees, such as registration fees, titling fees and state taxes. Because many car owners are not sure which forms are required or which fees must be paid, application delays are common at the DMV. Additionally, any mistakes on DMV forms will add to your potential wait time for receiving your new registration.


Vehicle registration in Maine is required for all cars that will be driven by residents on public roads, because the state needs to be able to determine who is responsible for the vehicle. Though the purpose of Maine DMV registration is the same for all vehicles, the process itself is not. This is because new cars, used cars and cars coming from out of state all have different ownership documentation, and you will need to determine whether you need to transfer a title or get an initial title. As well, if you brought a car in from out of state, it is helpful to understand whether Maine’s registration requirements match what is required in the state you originally titled your vehicle in. If it does not, you may need to get an affidavit.

In this article, you will learn about registering a car in Maine. This includes the insurance you need to get beforehand, the documentation you must present, the perks that are available to active service members and more.

Maine Car Registration Requirements

In order to get a vehicle registration in Maine, you need to be a resident of the state who has a title or Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin. All drivers will need to have proof of insurance before they register, and they will need to get a car inspection. Emissions inspections are only required for Cumberland County residents, with residents of other counties simply needing a VIN/safety inspection.

You need to know how to register a car in Maine before you buy a car or soon afterwards, because you have 30 days to register your car after you have bought it. If you moved to Maine with a car already in possession, you have 30 days to register once you become a resident.

Car Insurance Requirements for Registering a Car in Maine

To register a car in Maine, you will need to get auto insurance coverage that protects you, as well as coverage that protects other people on the road. These forms of insurance are designed to ensure everyone gets the financial help they need in the event of an accident. Here are the forms of insurance you are required to get before registering your car:

  • Bodily Injury Liability Insurance and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage that each offer at least $50,000 for each individual in the accident and $100,000 to cover the entire accident
  • Property Damage Liability Insurance that covers at least $25,000 for an accident
  • Medical Payments Coverage that offers at least $2,000 for your medical bills

The total payout of both Bodily Injury Liability Insurance and Property Damage Liability Insurance can be capped at $125,000. Though you are only required to have the above forms of insurance when you pay for a car registration, additional insurance can help protect you in the event of an accident. The Maine Bureau of Insurance recommends Collision Coverage and Other Than Collision Coverage as forms of insurance to consider.

Vehicle Inspection/Smog Inspection/VIN Inspection Requirements in Maine

In order to get a vehicle registration in Maine, you must get a VIN inspection and safety inspection. These inspections check to make sure that the brakes, seatbelts and other parts of the car are working well enough to keep both you and others on the road safe. They also confirm that the VIN matches the vehicle.

Emissions inspections are only required for Maine residents getting their vehicles registered in Cumberland County. They may be conducted at the same location where you get your safety/VIN inspection.

Safety/VIN and emissions inspections are conducted by private businesses, but they must be held to the state’s standards. The car registration inspection cost cannot be more than $12.50.

Registering a Vehicle in Maine

Maine car registration services require new car buyers and used car buyers to go through different processes, because new cars and used cars have different ownership documentation. New car buyers need to get their vehicle titled and registered, whereas used car buyers will need to transfer the title before they can register their vehicle.

You cannot register a vehicle online in Maine, though you are allowed to renew your registration online.

How to Register a New Car in Maine

Before you apply for a new car registration in Maine, you will need to pay an excise tax on the car and get it titled. Once you have done that, you must bring the following two documents to the BMV:

  • Proof of Liability, Underinsured/Uninsured and Medical Payments Coverage insurance
  • Bill of Sale

You cannot get a car registration online, because the BMV will need to see your documents in-person. Likewise, the BMV does not offer the registration application online. This means you will need to have all the required information before going to the office.

The information you will need includes basic personal information about yourself, such as your name and address, as well as identifying information about your vehicle, such as its model and VIN.

Registering a Used Car in Maine

Car registration requirements in Maine state that once you have bought a car, you will need to go to your local municipal office. There, you will be able to pay both the sales tax and municipal tax owed on the vehicle. Some municipal offices allow you to register your vehicle there, while others require you to go to the BMV in order.

Either way, you will need to fill out a car registration form that provides identifying information about both you and the vehicle, as well as providing the following documentation in order to get your registration:

  • Signed Title
  • Proof of Liability, Underinsured/Uninsured and Medical Payments Coverage insurance
  • Bill of Sale

You to not need to schedule an appointment to get your car registered, but you will want to contact the office ahead of time to determine what forms of payment they accept.

How to Register a Car in Maine as a New Resident

“How do I know where to register my car in Maine if I have just moved to the state?” is one of the most frequently asked registration questions for new residents. First, you will need to go to your municipal office. This will allow you to pay the excise tax, which you must do before registration. Some municipal offices offer registration services. If they do not, you will need to go to a Motor Vehicle Bureau office in order to apply.

Either way, here is what you need to register a car in Maine if it was previously registered in another state:

  • Title
  • Registration
  • Proof of Liability, Underinsured/Uninsured and Medical Payments Coverage insurance

Acceptable forms of payment vary between offices, so you will need to contact your office ahead of time to determine what they will accept.

Vehicle Registration for Military Members in Maine

Car registration fees in Maine do not change if you are in the military. As well, service members and civilians are expected to go through the same vehicle registration process, though service members do not have to get their vehicle registered in Maine if their out-of-state registration is up to date.

Maine License Plates

License plates provide important vehicle registration details, which is useful for both you and law enforcement. You will find the vehicle registration renewal date on your plates, which helps you remember when you need to go to a BMV office, while law enforcement officers will be able to look up ownership information about the vehicle without pulling you over.

The license plate application occurs at the same you register your vehicle. Once you have applied for both a front plate and a rear plate, you will need to wait to receive your plates in the mail. In the meantime, you will need to attach a temporary plate to your vehicle.

Maine Car Registration Fees

How much is car registration in Maine? Below you will find the registration fees:

  • A vehicle safety and VIN inspection costs $12.50 or less.
  • The title fee is $33.
  • The registration fee is $35.
Last updated on Monday, December 3 2018.

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