License Plates & Placards in Maine
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Maine has a wide variety of specialty plates available to anyone, including the popular Lobster, Black Bear, and vanity plates. Special users can also get identification plates, while specialized vehicles of all types are required to obtain specialty plates. Here's a rundown:
Available to anyone:
- Black Bear
For special users only:
- Disabled mobile home
- Disabled veteran
For specialized vehicles only:
- Antique Auto
- Commercial Tractor
- Horseless Carriage
- Motor Home
- Special Equipment
- Street Rod
There's never enough scholarship money in Maine, a relatively poor state. You can help out the state's college students by purchasing Maine black bear specialty license plates.
Black bear plates are available to anyone driving with a standard Maine noncommercial plate. They cost an extra $20 in addition to the regular registration fee when first purchasing the plates. Each renewal is an additional $15 on top of registration. The plates are issued in a unique numbering sequence, beginning with 101-ACA.
You can get vanity plates with up to six characters in the black bear series. The fee is an additional $25 above all other fees.
The University of Maine Black Bear Scholarship Fund receives $10 (which is tax deductible) each time you buy or renew a black bear plate.
Maine black bear plates can be purchased at all Maine BMV offices and at many town offices. If the plates are not available in your town, they can be purchased at the nearest BMV branch office or by mailing a copy of your registration and a check for $20 ($45 for vanity plates) made payable to the Secretary of State to:
- Bureau of Motor Vehicles
- Specialty Plate Clerk
- 29 SHS
- Augusta, ME 04333
Drivers can show their support for Maine's state parks and endangered wildlife by purchasing Maine conservation specialty license plates. Conservation plates are available to anyone driving with a standard Maine noncommercial plate and cost an extra $20 in addition to the regular registration fee when first purchasing the plates. Each renewal is an additional $15.
Vanity plates in the conservation plate series are available with up to five characters. The fee is an additional $25 above all other fees.
The Maine Environmental Trust Fund receives $14 from each conservation plate purchased or renewed. You may deduct this amount from your taxes.
Maine conservation plates can be purchased at all Maine BMV offices and at many town offices. They can also be purchased by mailing a copy of your registration and a check for $20 ($45 for vanity) made payable to the Secretary of State to the address listed above.
You can show off your allegiance to the critters that are synonymous with Maine and help keep them healthy and plentiful by purchasing Maine lobster specialty license plates. Lobster plates are available to anyone with a standard Maine noncommercial plate and cost an extra $20 in addition to the regular registration fee when first purchasing the plates. Each renewal is an additional $25. The plates are issued in a unique numbering sequence, beginning with 101-AAA.
You can choose up to six characters if you would like a lobster vanity plate. Vanity plates in this series cost an additional $15 on top of the other fees.
$10 from each lobster plate purchased or renewed―tax-deductible―goes to the Maine Lobster Promotion Council.
Maine lobster plates can be purchased at all Maine BMV offices and at many town offices. Otherwise, you can also send a copy of your registration and a check to the Secretary of State for $20 ($45 for vanity) to the address listed above.
You use the same process to obtain vanity license plates as you do to
apply for regular license plates: Visit your municipal offices; show proof of ownership and insurance; pay excise and sales tax; and pay the registration fee. (You may also register your vehicle at any BMV office.)
To obtain and renew vanity plates, you should plan to add an extra $20 in the first year and $15 extra in each subsequent year to your registration fee.
You can check the availability of your preferred vanity plate online.
To obtain a disabled license plate in Maine, you need to file an application for a disability plate or placard with the BMV. This application must be completed by a physician and must be resubmitted every four years.
To obtain a special disabled veteran plate, you must already have a set of standard special veteran registration plates or provide evidence of honorable discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces.
There's no extra registration fee for disabled plates. Placards cost $1. There are extra fees for a special disability veteran plate, however.
Maine's newest specialty plates allow members of the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Maliseet, and Micmac tribes in Maine to proudly display their heritage. Wabanaki registration plates cost $35 for vehicles registered up to 6,000 pounds and $37 for vehicles registered from 6,001 to 9,000 pounds. There is no additional specialty plate fee. The plates are issued in a unique numbering sequence, beginning with 101-AFA.
Applicants must submit a Certification of Membership form signed by a tribal official from a federally recognized tribe within the Wabanaki Confederacy proving the applicant's membership in the tribe.
The Wabanaki plate series allows you to order vanity plates with a maximum of seven characters. On top of the normal registration fee, you'll pay an additional $25 for vanity plates.
Maine Wabanaki plates can be purchased at all Maine BMV offices or by mailing a copy of your registration and a check made payable to the Secretary of State to the address above.
Maine offers four types of plates for older vehicles:
- Antique plates are for vehicles that are at least 25 years old. The engine must either be manufactured at the same time as the vehicle, or built in accordance with the original engine's specifications. Additionally, the vehicle cannot be altered or reconstructed, and cannot be for routine use.
- Custom plates are for vehicles that were built after 1948, but are at least 30 years old. Replicas built to resemble such a vehicle also fall into this category. The vehicle must have been changed from the original design or construction.
- Horseless carriage plates are for vehicles manufactured before 1916. The engine must either be manufactured at the same time as the vehicle, or be built in accordance with the original engine's specifications. The vehicle cannot be for routine use.
- Street rod plates are meant for vehicles built before 1949 that have been altered, or for replicas of such vehicles.
To apply for one of the plates, complete the appropriate affidavit, signed by a notary public or your attorney. Make sure to keep a copy of the form inside the vehicle.
Submit the form to a motor vehicle office. The cost for the plates are as follows:
- Antique: $15
- Custom: $30
- Horseless Carriage: $15
- Street Rod: $30
The state does not require Maine residents to return their license plates after relocating to another state, but the BMV strongly recommends it. Learn more on our ME License Plate Surrender page.
Other Topics in This Section
- Register Car
- Registration Renewal
- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
- Special Vehicles
- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Smog & Emission Checks
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