Maine License Plate Lookup

Maine License Plate Lookup

Welcome to the “Vacationland”!

“Vacationland” has been the first and the only slogan of Maine license plates since 1936. This is also Maine’s motto.

There is, of course, the reason behind this slogan/motto. Every year, thousands of visitors from all over the world flock to the New England state. Here, visitors can enjoy scenic vistas and an unhurried pace of life.

As we have already talked about the unhurried pace of life, let’s not forget to drive without hurrying as well.

Moreover, let’s remember that for driving in Maine you must have a license plate.

All You need to know about Maine License Plate Lookups

In 1987, Maine introduced a license plate base with a pink-red lobster on retro-reflective white background. The lobster license plate was the first to appear anywhere in the world ever.

Now, let’s look through Maine vanity license plates in the 21st century.

The article will provide you with the necessary information about the Maine license plates. Consequently, you will not get tired of endless search of information from different sources.

Getting Your Maine License Plate

Plates are currently issued by the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The Department of Secretary of State is the department responsible for license plates.

There are some laws about the license plates in Maine you should know:

  1. The license plate must be displayed horizontally
  2. One vehicle can only have one set of Maine license plates

In addition to this law, a license plate must be attached to the front and rear of each vehicle. However, there are exceptions as well. For instance, you should attach a license plate only to the rear of trailers, semitrailers, manufacturer, dealer, or transporter vehicles. Meanwhile, you should attach a license plate only to the front of motorcycles or truck tractors.

How to get a license plate in Maine?

Before getting your license plate in Maine you should take some steps. These steps depend on your local municipal office laws, your vehicle age, and, of course, the plate type you choose.

First of all, you should contact your local municipal office to get more information about the registration. Afterward, you should provide the following documents:

  1. Bill of sale agreement from the dealer
  2. Blue title application (it only applies to the vehicles from 1995 or newer)
  3. Evidence of insurance (it can be an ID card, binder, or policy)
  4. The white and yellow copy of the registration
  5. Excise tax receipt

Note: There may be cases when the local municipal office isn’t participating in the registration program. In these cases, you should apply to a Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) branch office.

Fees for Maine License Plates

After approval of all the documents for getting a license plate, you should pay registration fees. Fees are based on license plate type. License plates registration fees in Maine may differ even according to the class of vehicle.

Let’s take a look at registration fees for standard license plates. The fee for both getting and renewing the standard license plate is the same. But it is different for types of vehicles. For example, a standard registration plate will cost you $35. Meanwhile, the same standard plate for motorcycles will be $21.

There is also a BMV fee chart for having a better understanding of the fees. Fees you will see there are in accordance with the vehicle weight, year, type, and model.

Types of Maine License Plates

There are different types of Maine license plates. You can order specialty plates, vanity plates, general issue plates, combination plates, appointed plates, temporary license plates.

Now, you can look through each license plate and decide which one you need.

Maine Specialty License Plates

The specialty license plate is a specially designed registration plate. It can be used instead of regular plate and registration for fundraising purposes. Currently, there are 9 specialty license plates available in Maine.

The Department of Secretary of State shall issue a specialty license plate in a 3-number and 3-letter combination sequence.

The registration fee for specialty license plates differs. The fee for a specialty license plate is added to the regular motor vehicle registration fee.

Maine Vanity License Plates

Vanity license plates give you a great chance to personalize your motor vehicle. Vanity plates have a maximum of 5 characters. Personalized vanity plates consist of 7 characters. You can use both numbers and letters. But you are obliged to use, at least, one letter.

You pay an additional $25 with your regular registration fee for ordering a vanity license plate. There is also a $15 fee for each renewal.

There is a service providing you with online search/order for vanity plates. Here, you can search for vanity plates available and order them. For online ordering vanity plates, you will need:

  1. Complete online application
  2. A copy of the current vehicle registration
  3. Email address and printer
  4. Credit or debit card

The process will take up to 30 working days. You will receive official registration and a new plate in the mail.

Vanity license plates may be rejected for several reasons, check out our Maine banned license plates page for more details.

Maine General Issue Plate

Maine’s general issue plate is The Chickadee Plate. It has been in a use since July 1, 1999. Previously, it was The Red Lobster Plate.

The general issue plate is considered the basic design for any plate. You can get it in different classifications. For instance, Antique Autos, Bus, Farm, Hire, and so on.

Maine Combination Plates

The plate is directly connected with the conveyance of passengers. Any automobile or sport utility vehicle used for transferring people is considered a “combination” vehicle. Thus, the word “combination” substitutes the word “Vacationland”.

In addition, the passenger vehicle having a contract with the State, school district, or a municipality for transferring students must be included on the list of “combinations”. However, it doesn’t apply to parents of legal guardians operating the vehicle.

The fee for registration slightly differs according to the registered pounds. For example, the fee for a pickup truck, an automobile used as a passenger transporting vehicle varies. In terms of vehicle registration for 6.000 or less the fee is $35. Meanwhile, the fee for a pickup truck registered for more than 6.000 pounds but less than 10.000 pounds is $37.

Maine Appointed Plates

Apportioned plates are license plates issued to commercial vehicles. The apportioned plate is the type of plate you get when you register under the International Registration Plan (IRP). These plates are mostly for trucking businesses that have a plan to travel in more than two jurisdictions under the IRP and exceed a certain weight limit.

Maine is a full member of the International Registration Plan. Vehicles that are registered in Maine must have IRP registration if:

  1. They travel to another IRP jurisdiction.
  2. Have a gross weight.
  3. The combined gross weight in excess is 26,000 pounds.
  4. There are three or more axles on the power unit.

At the same time, vehicles from another IRP jurisdiction must have Maine on the cab card or a valid Maine IRP trip permit before entering Maine. Vehicles from non-IRP jurisdictions may operate through Maine only in interstate commerce.

Maine Temporary License Plates

Maine temporary license plate or transit plate is valid for a one-way trip or for a round-trip, depending on the customer’s needs. The validation date, however, can’t exceed 10 days.

The fee for the Maine temporary license plate maybe $12 or $25 depending on the type.

Renewing Maine License Plates

You should renew your license plate in the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The process of renewal can be both online and in person.

Online renewal

You may renew online up to 60 days before the registration expires. The online renewal should take place in Rapid Renewal System. There, you should choose “Renew Vehicle”. Afterward, you will choose your town and enter your control number. Certainly, there will be also a need to provide some additional details like registration number, registrant name, registration, and insurance information. Eventually, submit the renewal fee.

You can still renew your registration online up to 7 months after the expiration date. However, if you fail to renew within this period, you must renew in person.

In Person renewal

For renewing in person, you must visit your local Maine DMV municipal office. There you should pay your excise tax.
After, you must visit a BMV office and take with you:

    1. Proof of Maine car insurance
    2. Excise tax receipt
  1. Copy of vehicle registration application (yellow and white)
  2. Payment for car registration renewal fees

Replacement of Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Plates

If you lose, damage or someone stoles your license plate you should ask for the replacement within 24 hours. You can submit the application only in person. Submit your application at a BMV office or participating municipal office. The fee for replacing only the plate is $5, with validation stickers $5,50.

Transferring or Surrendering License Plates

You can transfer your license plate if you register your new care exactly the same year of old registration cancelation. The transfer fee is $8. There can be also a difference between registration fees which you should again pay.

If you don’t need your license plate anymore you should surrender it to the BMV. You should complete and notarize Plate Cancelation Request and send it to the address mentioned there.

Manush K

Manush K

Manush considers writing as a form of art. Mixing facts with good grammar and the right punctuation is not enough for having unique content. She is sure, that you can't be a good writer if you are not able to leave the traces of your individuality in your work. She is a freelance content writer, translator, and voice talent in Upwork. She also works as a freelance writer on and has written many academic essays and literature reviews. Her educational background in social studies and linguistics give her the chance to find the right approach for each written material.