FAQs

Maryland vehicle registration: Questions and Answers

Moving your vehicle to Maryland or Registering a car in MD?
Mva registration, Maryland vehicle registration, Maryland car registration

As a new resident of Maryland you must register your vehicle within 60 days of moving to Maryland. If you delay beyond 60 days, you will not be eligible for a tax credit for any titling tax paid in another state, and you may be subject to a citation for an out of state registration.

Which documents do I need to register my car in Maryland?
MVA car registration / MVA vehicle registration
  • Proof of ownership of the vehicle
    • In some cases you need to provide Lien information or a Lien release, bill of sale, Lease agreement, a power of attorney, etc. For more information please call us 
  • Valid ID from the state of Maryland
  • Maryland Safety inspection certificate
MVA TAG RENEWAL
How can I renew my tags in Maryland.

Approximately 60 days before your vehicle’s registration period expires, you should receive a vehicle registration renewal notice by mail. 

If you are notified about a “flag” on your vehicle record, indicating an unpaid parking ticket or some other problem, you first must clear up the problem through the agency (e.g., local police department) that requested the flag’s placement. After the problem has been resolved, that agency will give you a flag release statement that you can submit as proof of its resolution.

You can obtain a 1 year or 2 years stickers and registration under your name.

You will need:

  • Valid identification: Valid ID or valid driver’s license from the state of Maryland.
  • Current vehicle registration: Under your name.
  • Proof of insurance : You must have a valid insurance in order to get your tags and registration on the same day or for a 30 day period. If you need proof of insurance we can help you with your transaction.
MVA suspended registration / MVA suspended tags
How do I know if my registration or tags are suspended in Maryland?

The MVA may place a flag on your vehicle’s record upon the request of an authorized flagging entity such as a local police agency. Most flags are associated with an unresolved problem such as vehicle emissions, insurance compliance, parking ticket, red light, speed or toll violation. The presence of a flag on your vehicle’s record will prevent you from completing certain types of MVA transactions such as renewing your vehicle’s registration.

Note: for the types of flags listed below, you will be required to pay an additional administrative fee to the MVA:

  • Flags resulting from the vehicle owner’s failure to resolve a parking violation
  • Flags resulting from the vehicle owner’s failure to resolve a toll violation
  • Flags resulting from the vehicle owner’s failure to resolve a red-light violation captured by an automated camera system
  •  Flags resulting from the vehicle owner’s failure to resolve a speed camera violation captured by an automated camera system

This administrative fee may be paid either before or after the jurisdictional flag has been removed.  However, the fee must be paid in full before you will be allowed to proceed with any MVA transaction blocked by the flag.

Some of the more common reasons why a flag may be placed include:

  • Insurance compliance violation – the MVA’s vehicle insurance records indicate a problem. See Insurance Requirements for Maryland Vehicles for information about insurance requirements;
  • Returned check – you may have submitted a check to the MVA that was not processed by your bank;
  • Red light camera violation – your vehicle was captured in a photograph showing that it ran a red light;
  • Parking violation – your vehicle received a parking citation;
  • Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) violation the MVA’s records on your vehicle’s emissions inspections indicate a problem.  See Vehicle Emissions for more information;
  • Safety Equipment Repair Order (SERO) violation – you may not have returned proof that your vehicle was repaired after being stopped for a safety-related problem (e.g., headlight was burned out).  See the infoMVA process description entitled Safety Equipment Repair Order (SERO) for more information.
  • Law enforcement agency referral – a law enforcement agency requested the placement of a flag for a variety of reasons;
  • Abandoned vehicle violation – a law enforcement agency identified your vehicle as abandoned;
  • Title violation – a problem may exist in connection with the titling of your vehicle;
  • Salvage vehicle violation – a problem may exist in connection with your salvaged vehicle;
  • Public Service Commission violation – your vehicle is not in compliance with the PSC.
  • Toll facilities violation – your vehicle was captured in a photograph when the required toll was not paid.
  • Comptroller violation – the Comptroller’s office has recorded a violation due to an individual or business owing  undisputed taxes.  For additional information individuals may call 855-213-6669 and businesses may call 410-649-0633.  You may also contact the Comptroller’s office by e-mail at mvahold@comp.state.md.us.
  • Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) violation – the DLLR has recorded a violation due to an individual or business owing undisputed unemployment insurance contributions.  For additional information you may contact DLLR at 410-767-2699 or e-mail DLLR at licnrelease@dllr.state.md.us.
  • Speed camera violation – your vehicle was captured in a photograph showing it exceeded the posted speed limit.
  • Administrative fee owed – the MVA places an additional, administrative fee flag if the original flag was placed as a result of a red light camera violation, parking violation, speed camera violation, or toll facilities violation.  For more information about this flag, see the question below about paying the administrative fee.

What happens when a flag is placed?

When a flag is placed on your vehicle’s record, you will be prevented from:

  • Renewing the vehicle’s registration;
  • Transferring the vehicle’s license plates to another vehicle;
  • Obtaining substitute license plates for the vehicle;
  • Obtaining a duplicate registration card.

A few flags can cause even more serious consequences for you, such as subjecting your license plates to immediate retrieval by law enforcement agencies.

Note that when a flag is placed as a result of a parking, toll, speed camera or red-light camera violation, the MVA will charge you an additional administrative fee.  That fee must be paid, along with any fines associated with the original citation, before the flag can be completely resolved.

How can I have the flag removed?

To remove a vehicle flag, you must first contact the authorized entity that requested its placement and resolve the problem (e.g., pay a parking fine).  The MVA can provide you with contact information for the parking, red-light, speed and toll facility flagging program jurisdictions.  If you are unsure which agency placed the flag, check your violation notice or contact the MVA Customer Service Center at 1-410-768-7000.

Certain jurisdictions allow payments via their websites or by telephone for central collection, parking, red-light and speed camera violations.

After you have complied with all requirements, the entity may provide a flag release which you need to present to the MVA before requesting a vehicle-related transaction.   Only the entity that requested the flag placement is authorized to request its deletion; sometimes, the deletion of the flag may take several weeks.

If your flag is associated with a parking, toll speed camera or red-light camera citation, you also must pay the MVA’s administrative fee.  You may pay this fee either before or after you resolve the original problem.

NOTE:

An administrative fee is charged for each flag that results from the vehicle owner’s failure to resolve:

  •  a parking violation;
  •  a toll violation;
  •  a red-light violation captured by an automated camera system; or
  •  a speed camera violation captured by an automated camera system.

The administrative fee may be paid before or after you resolve the problem with the flagging jurisdiction.

MVA tag return
How can I return my tag to the MVA?

Maryland law requires you to return your license plates to the MVA when your vehicle’s insurance is cancelled, when you move out of Maryland, or when you no longer need the license plates. Under certain circumstances you may be eligible for a partial refund of your registration fee.

Note: When you return the license plates, always include your registration card.

WARNING:  Do not cancel your insurance until you are sure that the MVA has received your license plates.  Failure to do so could result in a large fine.

What should I do if one or both of my license plates have been lost or stolen?

If your license plates have been lost or stolen, report the theft to your local law enforcement agency. Be sure to obtain a copy of the police report, or at least the police report number. Then contact any MVA branch office to report the theft.

If your license plates are not recovered, you will need to obtain substitute license plates for your vehicle. 

Can I get a refund of my registration fee if the license plates are not expired?

You may be eligible for a refund if your license plate expiration date is more than 12 months away.  Ask the MVA customer service agent about a refund when you return the license plates.  Otherwise you will need to complete the MVA form titled Application for Registration Plate Refund and include it with the license plates you are returning

How long will it take for me to receive a refund?

Your refund is actually prepared by the Comptroller’s Office in Annapolis. You should receive the refund within 6 weeks of returning the license plates. If you never receive the refund, call one of the numbers below or contact any MVA branch office for assistance.

MVA driving record
How can I obtain a copy of my driving record in Maryland?

We will need:

-Valid identification: Valid ID or valid driver’s license from the state of Maryland.

MVA PERSONALIZED TAGS / Personalized ( Vanity ) License Plates
Can I customize my tag in Maryland?

Personalized message (vanity) license plates have the customer’s special message imprinted on them.  Depending upon the vehicle, you may request a message with at least 2 and up to 7 characters (numbers and/or letters).  The MVA reserves the right to decline a requested message because it has already been issued or because it is objectionable.  Note that it takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks for you to receive the plates.

Vehicles in the following classes are permitted to display personalized message license plates:

  • A (passenger car)
  • M (multi-purpose vehicle)
  • D (motorcycle) where applicable
  • EPO (truck with a one ton or less manufacturer’s rate capacity)
  • G (non-freight trailers)
  • L (historic vehicle)
  • N (street rod).

Note:  Class G, Class L and Class N personalized plates will be issued on the black and white background.

Specialty license plates include an unusual feature such as your own personalized message.  The MVA offers a variety of specialty plate features:

  • Chesapeake Bay or Agricultural license plates – colorful background scenes; available to most drivers
  • Combat-related license plates – reserved for drivers who have achieved a military award or honor
  • Disabled veteran’s license plates – reserved for drivers with a service-related disability
  • Ham (amateur radio operator’s) license plates – reserved for drivers who hold an amateur radio operator’s license issued by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission)
  • Organizational license plates – reserved for members of organizations having an MVA approved license plate design
  • Personalized message (vanity) license plates – create your own message; available to most drivers

Before reviewing the application requirements associated with a specialty plate, note the following general stipulations:

  • Only certain classes of vehicles are eligible to display specialty license plates, and not all types of specialty license plates can be displayed on every eligible vehicle.  Vehicle eligibility criteria and possible combinations of features are summarized below in the appendix.

Fees:

The additional fee charged for displaying specialty license plates on the vehicle depends upon whether the plates are being purchased for the first time (i.e., initial plate issuance), being renewed (i.e., renewal of license plates), or being requested to replace license plates currently issued to the vehicle (i.e., substitute license plates).

Notes:

  • All plate fees are in addition to standard registration fees.
  • Disabled veterans with a 100% disability are exempt from the yearly registration fee and additional fee charged for Disabled Veteran, Ham, Organizational or Combat Related plates. They are also exempt from paying the yearly registration fee for Bay or Agricultural plates though they must pay the initial fee.
  • National Guard members, members of the Fireman’s Association, and members of Volunteer Fire Departments organizational license plates are initially provided at no cost (gratis).  However, there is a $20.00 charge for substitute license plates.
  • License plates issued to members of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) are considered organizational license plates and cost $25.00 at the initial time of issuance.
MVA TITLE / MVA TITLE REPLACEMENT
How can I replace my Maryland title?

You may request a duplicate Certificate of Title (title) if your original title has been lost, destroyed, altered, or mutilated. You may also request a duplicate title if the lien on the vehicle has been paid-off, or if the title has been assigned to the wrong owner(s). Finally, if you are returning to Maryland from another jurisdiction, you may be issued a duplicate title if your vehicle had been previously titled in Maryland in the same name(s) as the out of state title.

What should I do if my title contains incorrect information?

If your title contains incorrect information, you need to request that your title be ‘corrected.’  The Real ID Act requires that all Personal Identifying Information (PII) must be placed on the actual driver’s license, Identification Card or Permit.  Therefore, any name changes must be done through the driver’s license System (DLS) prior to document changes.  Once the DLS system is updated, a corrected title may be applied for.  An Application for Corrected Title Due to a Name Change, form VR-448 will need to be completed.

What should I do if I never received my original title, or if I requested a duplicate title and never received it?

If your original or duplicate title was processed and returned to the Administration, you may submit a completed Certification of Non-Receipt of Original/Duplicate Title Certificate form (VR-091) by mail to the MVA.  A title will be issued at no charge.  If your title was not returned to the Administration and your request for a title was made within the last 90 days, you may submit the Certification of Non-Receipt of Original/Duplicate Title Certificate for review by supervision.  A charge may apply.  Requests made after 90 days will require you to apply for a duplicate title and pay the $20.00 fee.

Fees:

  • There is a fee for requesting a duplicate certificate of title.



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