License Plates & Placards in Maine
Keep reading for information about Maine license plates.
NOTE: Are you eligible for disabled parking? Get application information on our Disability Placards and Plates page.
Most vehicles in Maine require license plates issued by the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), including:
- Passenger cars.
- Trucks and vans.
- Recreational vehicles (RVs).
Most vehicles have to display a license plate on the rear of the vehicle and another on the front. However, motorcycles and trailers only need a rear plate.
Your rear license plate must have registration expiration decals on the right side of the plate.
In addition to the standard Maine license plate, you can apply for a specialty plate. The ME DMV offers several specialty plates, including occupational and organizational plates.
If you have a disability, you may be eligible for a disability license plate for access to disabled parking.
Maine car dealers can give you a temporary registration plate valid for 14 days when you buy a motor vehicle or trailer. Dealers may charge a fee to provide this tag.
NOTE: If you are a non-resident member of the Armed Services, you can use the temporary plate for 20 days.
You can apply for an extension of 20 days if you have not yet registered your vehicle or received your registration from the BMV.
You'll apply for a license plate in Maine by registering your vehicle with the ME BMV.
You must complete the registration process yourself, even if you bought your car at a dealership. If you move to Maine, you have 30 days to register your vehicle.
For more details, see our page on Vehicle Registration in Maine.
Your tags must be renewed before the expiration date shown on the validation stickers.
The ME BMV does not send a renewal reminder unless you request one, which can be done online.
When you renew your registration, you'll receive a new expiration sticker for your license plate.
See our Registration Renewal page for more information.
If your Maine license plates have been lost, stolen, or damaged, you need to request replacements within 24 hours.
If your plates are lost or stolen, you must create a temporary plate showing your tag number to attach to your vehicle until your replacements arrive.
To apply for replacements, you need to submit:
- A completed Notice of Loss of Number Plates and Request for New Plates (Form MV-9).
- Any remaining license plates in your possession.
- Payment for the appropriate fee:
- $5 per license plate for plates only.
- $5.50 per license plate with validation stickers.
Submit your application in person at a BMV office or participating municipal office.
You can transfer your Maine license plates as long as you register your new car in the same year you cancel the old registration.
You'll have to pay:
- Any difference in registration fees.
- An $8 transfer fee.
You'll transfer the plates when you register your car for the first time.
You may be required to surrender license plates to the Maine BMV if you no longer need them. Contact the BMV at (207) 624-9000, extension 52149 for more information.
The fees below DO NOT include taxes, services charges, or other fees you may need to pay.
- New standard plates and yearly renewal:
- Passenger car: $35.
- Motorcycle: $21.
- RV: See the BMV fee chart. Fees are based on vehicle weight, type, year, and model.
- License plate only: $5.
- License plate with stickers: $5.50.
- License plate transfer: $8 PLUS any difference in registration fees.
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
Black Bear Plates
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 6 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 State House Station
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. The fee is an additional initial $45 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 6 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.
Vanity License Plates
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.
Wabanaki Specialty Plate
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 lbs. and $37 for vehicles registered from 6,001 lbs. to 10,000 lbs. There is no additional fee for specialty plates. 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 7 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 25 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 an Antique Auto Custom Vehicle Horseless Carriage Street Rod Registration Affidavit (Form MV-65), 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: $35
- Horseless Carriage: $15
- Street Rod: $30
Other Specialized Plates