Vehicle Registration

The Calais City Building is where residents of Calais can pay the excise tax on a motor vehicle and, when registering a motor vehicle in Maine, YOU MUST PAY THE EXCISE TAX FIRST.  If you go to a Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) office without first having paid the excise tax, they won’t be able to process your registration.

The Calais City Building is able to fully process most re-registrations.  In addition, if you bought a vehicle from a Maine dealer and have plates for it from a previously-registered vehicle, we can fully process that new registration.  In these cases, the City will collect your excise tax for the vehicle plus the state registration fees and an additional $3.00 per registration as a service charge.  Please be prepared to show us proof of insurance for the vehicle you want to register (showing that the vehicle is insured on the day you come in to register) and to tell us the current mileage of the vehicle.  For re-registrations, it helps if you also have your prior registration for the vehicle, but we can process your transaction without it.  For a vehicle purchased from a Maine dealer, please also bring all the paperwork you were given at the time of sale, including the title application, the sales receipt showing you have paid Maine sales tax and the vehicle’s original window sticker.  We may need any or all of these to calculate the excise tax and complete the registration paperwork.

In some cases, the City will only be able to collect the excise tax for the vehicle you want to register and you will have to complete the registration at the Calais (or any other) branch of BMV.  Some common examples of this are:

you bought the vehicle in a private sale;

you bought the vehicle from a dealer outside of Maine;

you bought the vehicle from a Maine dealer & you want or need to get new license plates for it;

you have moved to Maine and are registering a previously-owned vehicle for the first time in this state.

In these and related cases, we will need paperwork showing the complete vehicle identification number (VIN), such as a title or bill of sale.  We will give you paperwork showing you’ve paid the excise tax and you will then need to bring that, along with your proof of insurance and other paperwork from the sale, to BMV to complete the registration.

For additional details or questions regarding vehicle registration, feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to steer you and your vehicle in the right direction!

Rapid Renewal

This online service makes it possible for you to renew your motor vehicle registration and to pay your local excise tax in one simple transaction. This service is provided by a third party working in partnership with the State of Maine. The total amount you pay includes funds to develop, maintain and enhance the State’s official web portal,, and online services like this one.

Who can use this service?

  • Registrants with an excise-taxable vehicle who live in a participating municipality.
  • Registrants with a commercial or passenger vehicle.
  • Registrants with a non-taxable trailer.

Island use, emergency/coach, vehicles over 12,000 pounds GVW, apportioned, special mobile equipment, tractors, municipal and state vehicles must be renewed in person.

What you will need

  • Your current vehicle registration
  • Your insurance card
  • Your vehicle’s current mileage