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May 29, 2008
Contact: Don Cookson

Shorter Wait Times at BMV?
“It’s Up to All of Us”

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap reminds Mainers to “have paperwork ready”

Augusta- Maine’s new law requiring all driver license and ID card holders to prove they are residents of Maine is just 5 weeks old, and despite this new requirement, wait times at Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) branch offices have been held in check. “The new law was created to help safeguard Mainers and enhance the security of State-issued credentials,” Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap says. He continued, “Of course, these new requirements mean everyone getting a new or duplicate license, or renewing a current license, must provide proper documentary evidence of where they live. When people have with them what they need the first time, long waits and repeat trips to the BMV can be avoided, or even eliminated entirely. In the first days of the new law being in effect, there was a brief spike in wait times. That’s really leveled out in the past three weeks, and now wait times are getting back to where they were before the new rules took effect. ”

The BMV web page provides a detailed explanation of how people can meet the state residency requirement here: . “One acceptable document to prove residency is an existing, valid Maine driver license, as long as it displays a physical address,” Dunlap noted. “Since many Mainers’ current license already displays a physical address, those folks won’t need anything else to meet the residency requirement. However, if your license doesn’t display your current physical address, we do require some other documentary proof of where you reside. The documentary requirements are designed to be both simple and effective, and the majority of Mainers will already have some acceptable documentation readily available at their home; for example, a tax return with your current physical address meets the requirement, as does a recent pay stub which displays your physical address.”

“It’s the most common reason for delays at BMV- not having proper documentation when you get to the service window,” says Cathie Curtis, Deputy Secretary of State at BMV. “We’re asking everyone to make sure they have everything they need before they leave their home or office. A minute of preparation is the single most effective way to reduce wait times for everyone. It’s not just license transactions; people should make sure they have everything they need to register their cars or get an ID card, too.”

Curtis says many Mainers may be able to handle their license renewal needs using the on line Rapid Renewal service. You can check to see if this service will work for you here: . Curtis noted, “The driver's license Rapid Renewal service was temporarily disabled when the residency law first went into effect, but we have been able to restore it for many users. It’s always worth checking to see if it will work for you, because it just might save you a trip to a nearby BMV branch office.”

Important websites for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles

BMV Homepage:

Branch Office locations and directions:

Information on Maine’s new residency requirement law: