Maine Driver's License: A Step-by-Step 2018 Guide

Learn what to expect and how to get behind the wheel faster.
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On this page: Types of licenses How to apply Knowledge test Road test Replace or renew New residents

How Does It Work?

If you are a Maine driver, or would like to become one, you will need a Maine driver’s license. There is a number of age-based requirements that you will have to fulfil. Here is a step by step guide that will help you save time and effort on the way.

Get a Learner's Permit

Allows you to practice driving under supervision.

Get an Intermediate License

Allows you to drive unsupervised with restrictions.

Get a Full (Adult) License

Allows you to drive with no restrictions.

Types of Driver's Licenses in Maine

For each license type there's a corresponding type of instruction permit
Maine Class C Driver's License
Class C
It is a standard driver license that allows you to operate most vehicles. Class C license is a commercial driver's license only if it carries a hazardous material, tanker or passenger (bus) endorsement. Read the ME DMV Motorist Handbook or take a free ME DMV practice test.
Maine Class A/B Commercial License
Class A/B (Commercial)
Class A is for operating any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds, provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds. Class B allows you to operate any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds. Read the ME CDL Driver's Manual or take a free ME CDL practice test.
Maine Motorcycle Driver's License
Class M
It allows you to operate a motorcycle or moped in Maine. Read the ME Motorcycle Operator Manual or take a free ME motorcycle practice test.

How to Apply for Your Class C Driver License in Maine

To apply for your class C driver license you must first take a written test, get a learner’s permit and take a road test. Here is your complete guide depending on your age.

How to Apply for Your Learner’s Permit in Maine

Before getting a driver license in Maine, every new driver will obtain a learner's permit. It is also the first step of a 3-step graduated licensing system for drivers under 18 years of age. The permit allows you to drive accompanied at all times by a licensed driver who is at least 20 years of age and has held a valid license for two years.

1COMPLETE DRIVER EDUCATION (UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE ONLY)

Choose one of the approved driver education courses and get the certificate of completion.

2COLLECT REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION

  • 2 forms of identification. Check suitable documents here.
  • Birth certificate (under the age of 23 only)
  • Proof of Maine residency. Check suitable documents here.
  • Proof of legal presence. For acceptable documents for US citizens go here, for non-citizens, check here.
  • Your Social Security Number Card (If you believe you do not qualify for a social security number, you must present an unexpired immigration document, such as an I-94, or a written statement from the Social Security Administration about your ineligibility.)
  • Driver education completion certificate ( under 18 only)

3COMPLETE AN APPLICATION FORM

Download the form and fill it in. You can also get this form at a BMV branch. If you are under 18 years of age, your parent or guardian must sign it together with you.

4SUBMIT AN APPLICATION AND SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS

You can do it in person at your local Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch or mail it to

Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Driver License Services Division
Examination Section
29 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0029

If you submit your application by mail, you can send copies of identity documents and show the originals at the exam later.

5PAY THE FEE

$35.00 mailed with application (check or money order made out to the Secretary of State) or paid at the BMV branch by card or cash.

6GET THE WRITTEN AND VISION TEST APPOINTMENT

Once the application is processed, the BMV will send you your appointment time by mail within 3 weeks. The location of the appointment will be the closest to your home. If you have any scheduling restrictions, make sure you mention them in advance in your application. If you can’t make it to the test, find contact information on the scheduling notice and reschedule with no penalty fee up to 48 hours prior to the appointment.

7PASS THE WRITTEN TEST

If you completed driver education, another written test is not required and upon submission of the appropriate paperwork and passing the vision test, your permit will be issued. If you haven't competed driver education, you will answer 30 questions about rules of the road, signs and safety rules. Practice online before you go and check frequently asked questions about the Maine written test.

8PASS THE VISION TEST

The vision screening will measure your visual acuity (how clearly you see) and your peripheral vision (how far you can see to either side while looking straight ahead). Alternatively, you may have a doctor of your choice provide the exam at your expense, fill out the eye form.

Your learner's permit will be mailed to you together with the road test request card. The permit will expire in 2 years and is not renewable. If you are younger than 21, you will have to hold your permit for at least 6 months before taking the road test. If you are 21+, there's no minimum time requirement for holding the permit.

For the next step, go to how to apply for intermediate license if you are younger than 18.

Go to how to apply for unrestricted (adult) license if you are 18+.

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How to Apply for Intermediate Driver License in Maine

Intermediate license is the second step of a 3-step graduated licensing system for drivers between 16 and 18 years of age. It allows you to drive on your own but with a number of restrictions:

  • No driving between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m.
  • No carrying passengers except immediate family members (Family members include a grandparent; step grandparent; parent; stepparent; spouse; child; stepchildren; brother; sister; stepbrother; stepsister; a foreign exchange student living with your immediate family)
  • No using a mobile phone while driving.

Violations of the rules above or any other moving violations will result in the extension of the intermediate license restrictions and license suspension.

  1. HOLD YOUR LEARNER'S PERMIT FOR AT LEAST 6 MONTHS

    To apply for your driver's license, you must be at least 16 years of age and have completed an approved driver education course.

  2. LOG SUPERVISED DRIVING

    You must complete 70 hours of practice driving, which include 10 hours of night driving. Drive with a supervising driver who is at least 20 years old and has held a license for at least two years. Fill in the driving log which will be certified by your parent, step-parent, guardian or employer.

  3. MAIL YOUR ROAD TEST REQUEST CARD

    When ready to take the road test, mail your road test request card (you received it with the learner's permit) together with your driving log to

    The Bureau of Motor Vehicles
    29 State House Station
    Augusta, Maine 04333-0029.

    Your road test will be scheduled at the location nearest to your home.

  4. PAY THE FEE

    $30.00

  5. TAKE THE ROAD TEST

    Bring your learner's permit and appointment notice with you. You can reschedule the test at no fee due to inclement weather conditions by calling (207) 624-9000, ext. 52119. You will take the test in your own vehicle which is properly registered and inspected. You must come with a licensed driver. If you fail, you will get another receipt to send in, to request another test.

  6. GET A TEMPORARY LICENSE

    If you pass the road test, the BMV will issue you a temporary license. Your photo license will be mailed within 2-3 weeks.

    You will hold your intermediate license for 270 days before you can receive an unrestricted (adult) license. If you violate license restrictions, this period will be extended and your license will be suspended.

Your license will expire on the 20th day after your 21st birthday, unless it is an SB251 license. An SB251 minor license expires on the 20th day after your 21st birthday or in 3 years, whichever comes first. Between your 21st birthday and the expiration of your minor driver license, you must renew your driver license; this time, you will be issued a full adult driver license.

How to Apply for Your Unrestricted (Adult) Driver’s License in Maine

Before applying for your full license for the first time at the age of 18+, you should get the learner's permit. Check how to get the permit here.

Note that your first license is considered juvenile provisional for 2 years if you received it between the ages of 16-20, and it is provisional for one year for applicants 21+. It means that during this period any moving violation conviction will result in license suspension. Moreover, if you are convicted of operating under the influence prior to reaching 21 years of age, your license will be viewed as a juvenile provisional license, even if you have already held the license for two years.

Permit holder? Start with Step 1.

First timer? Start with obtaining a learner's permit.

Intermediate license holder? After holding your intermediate license for 270 days without moving violations, BMV will issue you a full license.

1HOLD YOUR LEARNER’ PERMIT AND PRACTICE DRIVING

If you are under 21 years of age, you must hold your permit for 6 months before applying for a road test. If you are older than 21, you don't have to hold the permit for any minimum amount of time unless you want to practice more before your road test.

Note that permit holders mustn't use a handheld electronic device or mobile telephone while operating a vehicle.

2LOG SUPERVISED DRIVING IF UNDER 21 YEARS OF AGE

You must complete 70 hours of practice driving, which include 10 hours of night driving. Drive with a supervising driver who is at least 20 years old and has held a license for at least two years. Fill in the driving log.

3MAIL YOUR ROAD TEST REQUEST CARD

When ready to take the road test, mail your road test request card (you received it with the learner's permit) together with your driving log ( if under 21) to

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles
29 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0029.

Your road test will be scheduled at the location nearest to your home.

4PAY THE FEE

$30.00 by cash, check (made out to the Secretary of State), money order, Visa, MasterCard or Discover.

5TAKE THE ROAD TEST

Bring your learner’s permit and appointment notice with you. You can reschedule the test at no fee due to inclement weather conditions by calling (207) 624-9000, ext. 52119. You will take the test in your own vehicle which is properly registered and inspected. You must come with a licensed driver. If you fail, you will get another receipt to send in, to request another test.

6GET A TEMPORARY LICENSE

If you pass the road test, the BMV will issue you a temporary license. Your photo license will be mailed within 2-3 weeks. Your driver’s license will be valid for 6 years.

Maine Written Test aka Knowledge Test

Take a free practice test
What does the written test consist of?
It contains 30 multiple-choice questions that check your understanding and knowledge of traffic laws, regulations, driving skills and vehicle handling, as well as your ability to identify and understand highway signs. A lot of attention is devoted to Maine’s drinking and driving laws.
How many questions should I answer correctly to pass the test?
You should respond correctly to 24 questions, which is 80% of the whole test.
How to prepare for the test?
Study the Maine Motorist Handbook and Study Guide as all questions are based on the information provided there. Then take free practice tests available here. When you feel comfortable with your score, you are ready! You can also download our free DMV Genie app to study on the go. Get it on the App Store or on Google Play.
What common errors must I avoid when taking the ME written test?
The most common mistake comes from not knowing enough information out of the guide. This happens when people study solely with practice tests. Make sure you read the manual first. Another problem is rushing through questions. Take your time and remember what you have studied.
May I use the ME Study Guide when I take the actual test?
No, you are not allowed to use the manual. You are being tested on your ability to recall the rules of the road. Prepare yourself before you go in and you will see that you can do well without the handbook.
Can I take the test if I don’t read in English?
Yes, you can require an oral examination while completing the application form. You may also bring your own reader/translator. Literacy or American Sign Language interpreters will be provided by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles upon advance request.
How do I schedule/reschedule the appointment for the test?
Once your driver license application is processed, the BMV will send you your appointment time by mail within 3 weeks. The location of the appointment will be the closest possible to your home. If you have any scheduling restrictions, make sure you mention them in advance in your application. If you can’t make it to the test, find contact information on the scheduling notice and reschedule with no penalty fee up to 48 hours prior to the appointment.
What happens if I fail the test?
You may take the test again later.

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Road Test

Step-by-Step Guide
What to expect during your ME driving test
Road Test FAQ
This exam is going to test your ability to operate a vehicle under normal traffic conditions. When you are ready to take your road test, mail the road test request card you received with the learner’s permit to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Your road test will be scheduled at the location nearest to your home.
Before the Test

You should bring the following to the exam:

  • A properly registered and inspected vehicle
  • Car registration
  • Proof of car inspection
  • Your learner's permit
  • Appointment notice

Note that you must be accompanied by a licensed operator who is in possession of a valid driver's license.

When you arrive, park in the designated area and head inside the office. The BMV employee may check your vision before the road test.

During the test

Pre-trip Inspection

The examiner's job here is to check your vehicle overall condition and your knowledge of the vehicle's basic operation.

You will be asked to show how the following car features operate and whether they are in working order:

  • horn
  • turn signals
  • headlights, high and low beams, rear tail lights, stop lights
  • windshield wipers

On the Road

The examiner will give you clear instructions ahead of time and your job is to drive safely and maintain control of the vehicle at all times while following the instructions. You will not be asked to do anything extraordinary or illegal.

The following skills will be assessed:

  • Maintaining proper lane position
  • Straight line backing (50 feet). Look over your right shoulder, don't hit the curb.
  • Looking over your left shoulder while leaving the curb
  • Parallel parking on the street of the examiner's choice
  • Right and left turns
  • Observing and reacting to other road users and pedestrians
  • Observing all traffic signs and signals
  • Obeying traffic laws
  • Checking blindspots by looking over the shoulder
At the End of the Test
At the end of the exam, your examiner will inform you whether you passed. If you do, they will give you a temporary license that will be valid for 60 days. If you don’t, you will learn what areas of driving you need to improve and receive another road test request card to be able to schedule another test whenever ready.

How to Replace or Renew Your Driver License in Maine

  • You can renew your driver license in person by going to any BMV branch office or mobile unit sites on or before the expiration date or as early as 6 months prior to your license expiration. If your driver license expires, you may be asked to retake the written test.

    Plan of Action:

    1. Bring documentation:
      1. Proof of Maine residency. Check suitable documents here.
      2. Proof of legal presence. For acceptable documents for US citizens go here, for non-citizens, check here.
      3. Your Social Security number (If you believe you do not qualify for a social security number, you must present an unexpired immigration document, such as an I-94, or a written statement from the Social Security Administration about your ineligibility.)
      4. Your current Maine driver license
    2. Pass a vision test (required at the first license renewal after attaining age 40, at every 2nd renewal after that, and at every license renewal after attaining age 62.)
    3. Pay the renewal fee of $30.00 (if age 65+, pay $21.00) by cash, check (made out to the Secretary of State), money order, Visa, MasterCard or Discover.
    4. Receive a temporary license which will be effective for 60 days. Your permanent license will be mailed to you in 2-3 weeks. If you have not received your license within 60 days, call 624-9000, ext. 52114.
  • BMV does not offer renewals by mail at this time.

  • You may renew your active Maine driver license online unless

    1. Your license is suspended or revoked.
    2. You hold a driver's license from another state.
    3. You have not provided proof of legal presence to the BMV.
    4. You changed your name since your last renewal.
    5. You have developed a medical condition, or an existing medical condition has changed since your last renewal.
    6. You need an eye exam. (required at the first license renewal after attaining age 40, at every 2nd renewal after that, and at every license renewal after attaining age 62.)

    To renew online, you will need

    1. your Social Security number
    2. a credit/debit card
    3. a printer

    You will print your temporary license at home. Your permanent license will be mailed to you in 2-3 weeks. If you have not received your license within 60 days, call 624-9000, ext. 52114.

    Note that if you receive an error message during your online renewal, you will be required to visit a BMV office and renew your license in person.

New Residents: How to Get Maine Driver's License

When you become a resident of Maine, in most cases you must exchange your driver’s license issued by another authority for the Maine driver license.
Out-of-state license Foreign license
Not sure if you are a resident of Maine?
Are you a Maine resident?

Maine law defines "resident" as a person who has established Maine as his or her state of domicile, which means you make it your home for a permanent or indefinite period of life. This is the place where you dwell and which is the center of your domestic, social and civic life.

Residing temporarily?
Are you visiting Louisisana?

Good news! If either of the following applies to you, you do not require to transfer your driver license.

  • You are a member of the military on active duty or a dependent of a military member who holds a valid license from another state.
  • You are a full-time student enrolled in school or college with a valid license from another state.

I’ve Got a Valid Out-of-State License

Moving from another US state? Welcome to Maine!
Moving from another state?

If you become a resident of Maine, you must transfer your out-of-state license within 30 days of establishing residence.

Plan of Action
  1. Visit any local Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch.
  2. Bring documentation
    • Proof of Maine residency. Check suitable documents here.
    • Proof of legal presence. For acceptable documents for US citizens go here, for non-citizens, check here.
    • documents certifying your name change if applicable (marriage license, divorce decree, etc.)
    • photocopy of the front and back of your current out-of-state license.

  3. Surrender your out-of-state license.
  4. Disclose your SSN.
  5. Pass the vision test. It will measure your visual acuity (how clearly you see) and your peripheral vision (how far you can see to either side while looking straight ahead). Alternatively, you may have a doctor of your choice provide the exam at your expense, fill out the eye form.
  6. Pay the fees. $35.00 application fee+ $3.00 license fee paid by cash, check (made out to the Secretary of State), money order, Visa, MasterCard or Discover.
  7. Receive a temporary license which will be effective for 60 days. Your permanent license will be mailed to you in 2-3 weeks. If you have not received your license within 60 days, call 624-9000, ext. 52114.

Note that in most cases your written and road tests will be waived.

driver's license in Maine

Your new Maine driver license will be valid for 6 years if you are younger than 65. If you are 65+, it will be valid for 4 years.

I've Got a Valid Foreign License

Moving from another country? Welcome to Maine!
If you hold a foreign driver license, the procedure of getting your Maine driver license is similar to applying for the driver license for the first time. You will be required to apply for instruction permit, pass vision, written and road exams. Check all step-by-step requirements here.
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