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Frequently Asked Questions
DRIVER LICENSING QUESTIONS

DRIVER LICENSE MAIL-IN RENEWAL QUESTIONS


DRIVER RECORD QUESTIONS

ROOKIE DRIVER QUESTIONS

VEHICLE REGISTRATION AND TITLING QUESTIONS

LOW SPEED VEHICLE QUESTIONS

Driver Licensing Questions

What do I need to get my learner's permit?
To get a Maryland learner's permit, please bring proof of age, identity, and Maryland residence. Please refer to sources of proof for required documentation. For more information...

What happens if a driving test is not taken before the expiration date of a learner's permit?
If the learner's permit has expired beyond one day, the applicant must reapply as though it is their first permit and pay applicable fees.  If the applicant is a minor this includes having their parent/guardian co-sign the application.
If the learner's permit expires on a day the MVA is closed (i.e., Sunday, holiday, emergency closing), the learner's permit holder may have one (1) attempt on MVA's next business day only to successfully pass their skills test on the expired permit.  If they fail the skills test, then they must reapply as indicated above.  top of page

What do I do if my license is lost or stolen?
A lost or stolen driver's license is not required to be reported to the MVA. To replace a lost or stolen driver's license you follow the same procedure as obtaining a duplicate license. You must bring proof of age, identity, lawful admission and residence, along with the $20 fee to the MVA. Please refer to sources of proof for the required documentation. For more information...

What do I do if my name changes from the one stated on my driver's license?
You must go to a full-service MVA office and bring proof of the name change such as a marriage certificate or court name change order, and your current license. The fee for a corrected license or permit is $20. A corrected license will be issued for name/address changes to the holder of a commercial driver's license or if an applicant is under 21 years of age. Other applicants changing their name/address on their license will be issued a corrected renewal license, and the expiration date will be set at 5 years. The fee for a corrected renewal license is $30.

What is needed to get an identification card?
To get a new identification card, please bring proof of age, identity, and Maryland residence. Please refer to sources of proof for required documentation. For applicants 16 years of age or older, the ID is valid for 5 years from the date of issuance with a fee of $15. Under 16 years of age, the ID is valid for 2 years with a fee of $5. The identification card will be mailed to the address on record. For more information...

As a new resident of Maryland, how long do I have to obtain a Maryland driver's license?
You must obtain a driver's license within 60 days after becoming a Maryland resident. Visit a full-service MVA and bring proof of name, identity, residence, and your out-of-state license, if you are under 18, you must also have a driver education certificate. You must pass a vision test and your license cannot be suspended.

As active military personnel, what happens to my license if it expires while I am out-of-state?
Maryland driver's licenses remain in effect for active duty members of the United States armed forces and their dependents (who must reside with the active member), while they are absent from Maryland. The licensees have 30 days after they return to Maryland, or when they are discharged or separated from active duty service, to visit an MVA office for their license renewals.

While absent from this state, the active duty member and their dependents must possess both their Maryland driver's license and active duty military ID card (the license must not be suspended, revoked, or canceled) while operating a motor vehicle.

As a hearing impaired customer, how do I arrange for a sign language interpreter at the MVA?
Hearing impaired customers may arrange for a sign language interpreter by calling the following TDD telephone number:  1-800-492-4575.  The MVA will schedule a sign language interpreter for the following reasons:

  1. Driver licensing knowledge tests
  2. Administrative hearings
  3. Point system conferences
  4. Driver Improvement classes
  5. Alcohol Education classes
  6. Medical Advisory Board Interviews  top of page

Driver License Mail-In Renewal Questions


I received a mail-in driver's license renewal application.  Do I have to mail my renewal in or can I still renew in person?
You may do either.  The option of mailing in your renewal or waiting at an MVA office to renew is entirely up to you. Generally, the best time to get a driver's license renewed is the middle of the week.  Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays are going to be very busy at the MVA and the end of the month is also extremely busy.  Top of Page

Why didn't I receive a mail-in driver's license renewal?
Some drivers will not receive an invitation to renew by mail, and the most common reason is the lack of a social security number. Federal law requires the MVA to collect the social security number for all those who are obtaining or renewing a driver's license, and if the MVA has not collected yours yet, you will need to renew your driver's license in person. The MVA keeps all social security numbers private. It is not being placed on your license. 

Certain restrictions on your license may also prevent you from being able to renew by mail. Commercial drivers are not allowed to renew by mail. Only non-commercial drivers older than 26 are eligible. If your current license has a profile photo of you, you will need to come into the MVA in person to obtain a full head shot for your license.  Top of page

Why was my mail-in driver's license renewal rejected?
Renewal applications must be signed by the applicant. That is the most common error renewal applicants are making. The other is the vision certification that is required for people 40 years of age and older. The vision certification section that was sent with the renewal notice must be completed and signed by a vision specialist. Vision certifications that are not part of the renewal notice or those that are faxed or scanned cannot be accepted by the automated system. The renewal application is read by an automated computer system.

Additionally, an application may not have the payment section signed. Also, only one payment is accepted per renewal. If you have to make a name change or change your address, the automated system cannot process your application.

Occasionally, the system may return your application in error. If your application is sent back to you and you still wish to renew by mail, you can still do so if you have at least 15 days left until your current license expires.  Top of page

Why are some people required to obtain a vision certification and others are not?
Maryland's law requires individuals who are 40 and older to obtain a vision certification every time their Maryland driver's license is renewed. Individuals under the age of 40 are required to obtain a vision certification every other time their Maryland driver's license is renewed.  Top of page

Do I have to obtain a vision certification if I plan to renew in person?
If you renew in person, you do not have to obtain a vision certification. You will be given a vision test at the MVA when your renew or you may bring your vision certification from your vision specialist. If you do plan to renew by mail and you are required to obtain a vision certification, please make certain that your vision specialist completes the certification section of the renewal application, the mail-in renewal system cannot accept any other vision forms.  Top of page

Can my optometrist submit my vision certification on a separate form or a faxed copy of the rear of the form so I can renew by mail?
Unfortunately, no supplements or attachments are acceptable. The renewal application and vision certification are scanned and read electronically. Therefore, the vision certification in the application must be completed, or the system will determine that it is missing and it will subsequently reject the renewal application.  Top of page

Will I receive the new Maryland driver's license (with the crab) if I renew my driver's license by mail?
The driver's license with the crab is the new design of the Maryland driver's license. You will receive the new driver's license (with the crab) if you renew by mail. The photo and signature from your previous license will be used to create your new license.  Top of page

Can I change my address or my name along with my mail-in renewal?
For security reasons, an address or name cannot be changed with a mail-in driver's license renewal. You can change your address online, or by calling the Customer Service Center at 1-800-950-1682, or in person so long as you do it before the renewal application is mailed out to you. If you are changing your name, you must do so in person.  Top of page

Can I pay for a renewal with a check that has been returned with a rejected mail-in renewal?
Yes, the MVA can accept a check that was returned with a mail-in renewal application. The check would not have been endorsed or deposited.  Top of page

Driver Record Questions

How do I obtain a copy of my driving record?
There are several ways that you can obtain a copy of your driving record:

1. You can request your driving record online, pay the required fee using either MasterCard, Visa, or an electronic check and it will be mailed to the address on record at the MVA, or

2. You can fill out an MVA "Request for Record" (form #DR-057) at any MVA branch office when you present valid identification and pay the required fee, or

3. You may also download the "Request for Record" (form #DR-057) and submit the form and required fee by mail. The remittance fee must be in the form of a check or money order made payable to the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). Checks must have an imprinted name and address. Please include your driver license number and your home or work phone number on your check.

How does a business obtain driver or vehicle records?
There are a couple of ways that a driver or vehicle record can be obtained:

1. A business may download the "Request for Record" (form #DR-057) and submit the form and required fee by mail to the Motor Vehicle Administration, 6601 Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie, MD 21062, Attn. Rm. 145 (for driving records), or Room 202 (for vehicle records).

2. For multiple driving records, an authorized business may fill out an "MVA Certified/Non-Certified Multi-Request" (form #DL-015) and submit the form and required fee by mail to the Motor Vehicle Administration, 6601 Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie, MD 21062, Rm. 145.

3. A business can fill out an MVA "Request for Record" (form #DR-057) at any MVA branch office with valid identification, pay the required fee, and state the reason for requesting the record.

4. A business can subscribe to one or more of the MVA's online services to access driver or vehicle records.  For an application/information packet to be mailed, include your business mailing address in your email message to: drivingrecords@mdot.state.md.us or MVRSDataRequests@mdot.state.md.us.   For more information about MVA's online services for businesses...   

How do I obtain my driving record after I have moved out of state?
You may download the "Request for Record" (form #DR-057) and submit the form and required fee by mail. The remittance fee must be in the form of a check or money order made payable to the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). Checks must have an imprinted name and address. Please include your driver license number and your home or work phone number on your check.


Rookie Driver Questions

Vehicle Registration and Titling Questions

As a new resident of Maryland how long do I have to register my vehicle?
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. You'll need to present your title certificate at one of the MVA's full service offices. For more information...

What should I do if title is being held by lienholder?
If your title is being held by a lienholder you could first contact the MVA at the Customer Service Center at 1-800-950-1682. If you do not have the title document or certificate, the MVA will provide you with a letter (form# VR-056) to send to your lienholder requesting the title(s) be sent to the MVA. Upon receipt of the title document(s), the MVA will write or call you to inform you that we have received the title(s). We will inform you of the excise tax due and ask you to send your completed Application for Title (form # VR-005) and payment (check or money order) made payable to the MVA. The check should include payment for the following: $23 title fee, $20 fee to record the lien, and excise tax and tag fees.

What should I do with my Maryland license plates after I have moved out of state?
After moving out of Maryland you need to return your plates to the MVA. If you have more than one calendar year left on your registration you are due a refund for the cost of the remaining year. If you are eligible for the refund you must first complete the Application for Registration Plate Refund (form # VR-021). Mail in the completed form, the license plates from your vehicle, a copy of the vehicle registration, your out of state address, and a reason for their return to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, Attn: Tag Return, 6601 Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie, MD 21062. Registration plates must be returned to the MVA prior to canceling vehicle insurance.

Do I need to return my Maryland registration plates prior to canceling my vehicle insurance?
Yes, you must return your registration plates prior to canceling your vehicle's insurance coverage. Failure to do so may result in a compulsory insurance violation.

What do I need to do to donate my vehicle to a charity?
To donate your vehicle to a charity you must have the title of the vehicle. If there is a lien showing on the vehicle's title you must have a security interest filing signed off by the lienholder showing that the lien has been satisfied. On the back of the title, please sign the ownership over to the charity to which you are donating in the "Assignment of Ownership" section. Be sure to place the odometer mileage in the appropriate field and sign and date the assignment of ownership. Registration plates do not go with the vehicle. Registration plates may be transferred to another vehicle titled in the same name as long as the vehicle is the same classification. Any other registration plates must be returned for cancellation prior to canceling insurance.

How can I get a personalized plate and what are the fees?
To request a personalized (vanity) plate you must first fill out an Application for Special Registration Plates (form # VR-164). The completed form can be mailed to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, 6601 Ritchie Highway, Attn. Vehicle Registration, Glen Burnie, MD 21062 along with the fee of $25 per year (payable by check or money order made out to the MVA) and a copy of the current registration card. The process takes approximately eight weeks.

How may I obtain a duplicate registration?
To request a duplicate registration you must fill out the Application for Substitute Plates / Stickers / Duplicate Registration Form (form # VR-009). The fee for a duplicate registration is $5. The completed form can be brought in person to your local full service MVA or mailed to the Motor Vehicle Administration, 6601 Ritchie Highway, Attn. Registration Renewal Section, Glen Burnie, MD 21062. You can also apply online to obtain a duplicate registration

How do I obtain a placard/plate for persons with disabilities?
To obtain a placard or license plate for persons with disabilities you must first fill out the Application for Maryland Parking Placards/License Plates for Individuals with a Disability (form # VR-210). Your physician must complete the disability certification portion of the application. You can then visit your local MVA full-service office to receive your placard or plates in person. Or, mail the completed form along with the appropriate fees to the MVA, Disability Unit, Room 202, 6601 Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie, MD 21062. Do not mail cash. A doctor certification is required prior to obtaining a disability placard or plate.

I have several vehicles; how can I apply for a disability placard to use when travelling in each vehicle I own?
An individual may request disability placard(s) or plate as follows:

  • One disability placard only, or
  • One disability plate only, or
  • One disability plate and one disability placard, or
  • Two disability placards.

You may choose either one-disability placard or disability plate, or one plate and one placard or two placards.  Placards are designed to easily move from one vehicle to another, whether its a vehicle you own personally or a vehicle you're riding in owned by another.  top of page

How do I obtain organizational plates?
To obtain an organizational plate it is necessary to contact the chairperson of the organization for which you want the plates. Organizational plates offered through the MVA are able to be viewed online.

If my license plates are stolen, what should I do?
If your plates are stolen, notify the police and obtain a report. You will then need to fill out the Application for Substitute Plates / Stickers / Duplicate Registration Form (form # VR-009). The fee for substitute plates is $20. The completed form can be brought to any full service MVA office. 

Can I register my boat at the MVA?
The MVA does not register boats. For further information about registering boats in the state of Maryland please refer to the Department of Natural Resources. However, the MVA does register the boat trailer. Your boat trailer must be titled and registered for use on the highways in this state. For specifics, please refer to the procedures for titling vehicles.

What are the insurance requirements in MD?
Maryland law requires that all motor vehicles registered in Maryland be insured by a company licensed in Maryland and carry coverage of $20,000 for bodily injury per person, $40,000 for bodily injury for two or more people, and $15,000 for property damage.

 Does my vehicle qualify for historic or street rod plates?

Historic:

  • To qualify as a historic vehicle, your vehicle must not have been substantially altered, remodeled, or remanufactured from its original construction, and must be 20 model years or older.
  • A historic vehicle 60 years or older may obtain a one-time, permanent, non-transferable registration.  This vehicle registration does not qualify for specialty plates.
  • Vehicles classified as historic certifies the vehicle will be maintained for use in exhibitions, club activities, parades, tours, occasional transportation and similar uses.  The vehicle owner further certifies the vehicle will not be used for general daily transportation or primarily for the transportation of passenngers or property on highways.  You will need to fill out the Application for Historic or Street Rod Registration (form # VR-096).
Street Rod:
  • To qualify as a street rod, your vehicle must be 25 years old or older and must have been substantially altered from the manufacturer's original design.
  • Vehicles classified as street rod certifies the vehicle will be maintained for use in exhibitions, club activities, parades, tours, occasional transportation and similar uses. The vehicle owner further certifies the vehicle will not be used for general daily transportation or primarily for the transportation of passengers or property on highways. You will need to fill out the Application for Historic or Street Rod Registration (form # VR-096).


Can I pay for a parking or red light ticket at the Motor Vehicle Administration?
No.  You must contact the jurisdiction in which the citation(s) was issued to pay your fine.  You should request a "Traffic Control/Parking Fine Receipt" (form #VR-119) release from the jurisdiction(s) to present to the Motor Vehicle Administration showing the citation paid in order to renew. Top of Page 

Do I need to register my vehicle in Maryland if I am a member of the armed forces of the United States or of the United Sates Public Health Service and I am serving on active duty in Maryland, an adjoining state, or the District of Columbia and my vehicle has a current out-of-state registration?
No, you do not need to register your personal vehicle in Maryland if you are an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States or of the United States Public Health Service.  top of page

I am in the military and stationed outside of Maryland.  I have purchased a vehicle that I want to title and register in Maryland; however, the vehicle has not been safety inspected. Can I obtain a safety inspection waiver?
You may be eligible for a "Temporary Inspection Waiver" (Section B for military) if:

  • You are on active duty in the U.S. military; and,
  • You are stationed outside of Maryland, and;
  • Your home of record is in Maryland; and,
  • You apply for the waiver when you apply for the vehicle's Maryland title.

For more information on submitting the "Temporary Inspection Waiver" application...   top of page

Low Speed Vehicle Questions

What is a low speed vehicle?
Motor Vehicle includes a  low speed vehicle, which is a four-wheeled electric vehicle that:

  • has a maximum speed capability that exceeds 20 miles per hour but is less than 25 miles per hour;
  • designed to carry not more than four persons;
  • has at least four wheels in contact with the ground;
  • has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of less than 2,500 pounds; and
  • complies with the standards for safety of such a vehicle set forth in Federal Motor Safety Standard 49C.F.R.571.500.

Note:  Golf carts are not considered a low speed vehicle.   top of page

Are low speed vehicles required to be titled and registered?
Maryland law now requires all low speed vehicles to be titled and registered.  top of page

Do I need a driver license to operate a low speed vehicle on Maryland roadways?
Yes, you must possess a valid driver license to operate a low speed vehicle on Maryland roads.  top of page

Are operations of low speed vehicles on roadways restricted to certain posted speeds?
Yes, a person may not drive a low speed vehicle on a roadway for which the posted maximum speed limit exceeds 30 miles per hour; or on an expressway or another controlled access highway that is signed so as to prohibit the use of these type of vehicles on its roadways.  top of page

May I use my low speed vehicle to take my driver test?
No, individuals may not use a low speed vehicle to obtain a driver's license.  top of page

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Last updated:
March 15, 2007



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March 26, 2007