The questions and answers provided below relate to issuing, renewing, changing and correcting a business license for a motor vehicle manufacturer, a second stage manufacturer, a distributor or a factory branch, as these terms are defined in Maryland law. Please note that the phrase “manufacturer or distributor” is used throughout to mean all four types of businesses.
Regardless of its location (i.e., in Maryland or outside of Maryland), manufacturers, second stage manufacturers and distributors must be licensed by the MVA if they sell or distribute their motor vehicles (not trailers) in Maryland. A factory branch must be licensed only if it is physically located in Maryland. If you are unsure about the type of license for which you should apply, refer to the Summary of Dealer Types.
Each of the following procedures is separately discussed below in answer to a commonly asked question. Either scroll down to the appropriate question and answer, or click on the procedure in which you are interested.
- Issuing a New License
- Renewing a License
- Changing Information on the License
- Name change
- Address Change
- Adding a Trading As Name
- Correcting Information on the License
- Requesting a Duplicate License
- Going Out of Business
- Fee information is available on a separate schedule of fees.
For telephone questions:
MVA Customer Service Center:
To apply for a business license for a motor vehicle manufacturer, a second stage manufacturer, a distributor or a factory branch download the Manufacturer & Distributor Business Licensing Packet which includes all the required forms and instructions. Mail the information identified below to the Business Licensing and Consumer Services (BL&CS) division. Incomplete applications or applications without required documents will not be accepted.
If you need additional information you may contact Business Licensing by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Application for License: Manufacturer, Second Stage Manufacturer, Distributor, or Factory Branch – Indicate the type of business license at the top and ensure that it is fully completed and signed.
- Surety Bond of Motor Vehicle Manufacturer - This form is proof of your insurance coverage. It must include the business or corporation name and any “trading as” name. It also must include the full names of all officers, partners, and/or owners, exactly as shown on the application. Your bonding company must stamp the form with its Seal of Surety and a representative (usually the company’s lawyer) must sign the form.
- Power of Attorney - The company providing the Surety Bond will provide this form.
- Criminal background checks - A criminal background check is required for all owners, partners, or officers and directors identified on your application who live in the United States. A background check from a private company will be accepted if the company is licensed as a Private Investigation Agency by the Maryland State Police.
- New Motor Vehicle Warranty – A copy of each form of any new motor vehicle warranty provided by your business must be submitted.
- Delivery Obligations – A copy of the vehicle preparation and delivery obligations of Maryland dealers must be submitted.
- Certificate of Origin (sample form) – A sample of the Certificate of Origin produced for each vehicle must be submitted.
- Brochures – A copy of each publicity brochure about your vehicles must be submitted.
- Business Registration letter - This document can be obtained from the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. It verifies that you are licensed to do business in the State of Maryland. All manufacturer or distributors must register with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation, even if they are based in another state. Both corporate and trading names must be registered. You may use the printout that can be obtained from the SDAT website.
- Insurance Information Form – This form certifies that you have vehicle liability insurance for the vehicles you will be transferring and, if required, Worker’s Compensation insurance for your employees.
- Other Forms – Additional forms may be needed depending upon your situation:
- Zoning Approval Form – If you plan to locate a facility in Maryland, a zoning official from the jurisdiction where the facility will be located must sign the form confirming that the property is zoned appropriately.
- Proof of Worker’s Compensation coverage or exemption from coverage requirements – If you have Workers Compensation Insurance, complete information requested on the Application for License in the appropriate section. If you are claiming exemption from providing Workers Compensation Insurance for your employees, please contact the Worker’s Compensation Office at 410-864-5400 or visit their website at www.wcc.state.md.us to obtain information and the appropriate forms for businesses who do not provide this type of coverage.
- Trader’s License – If you plan to locate a facility in Maryland, a copy of your Trader’s License must be submitted. This license can be obtained from the Circuit Court in the jurisdiction where the business is located.
- Letter of Good Standing – If your business is licensed in another state and you are now applying to open a new location in Maryland, you will need to obtain this letter from the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. The letter indicates that your business is operating in compliance with state laws and requirements.
- Use and Occupancy Permit – This form is needed only if you will be using a trailer as an office and the local zoning board requires that you obtain the Permit.
As part of the BL&CS review process, if your facility will be located in Maryland an MVA investigator will visit the location to ensure compliance with the Maryland Code of Regulations (COMAR) established by State law. Before submitting your Application for License please contact MVA Investigation Division at 410-768-7216 to schedule a site review. Upon approval of your site inspection and the receipt of the site approval, please submit the approval documentation and your completed Application for License to BL&CS for review. Once your business license has been approved, the BL&CS will contact you about how to pay for and obtain the license, any interchangeable license tags needed (businesses located in Maryland ONLY), and other materials that you may need to operate as a manufacturer or distributor in Maryland.
The Business Licensing and Consumer Services (BL&CS) Unit will mail you a renewal packet about 60 days prior to the expiration date of your licenses. If you do not receive a renewal packet, please contact the BL&CS.
Complete the Business License Renewal form and submit it to the BL&CS, along with all applicable fees and, as applicable, the documents listed below. You must submit these items at least 15 working days prior to your license expiration date. Note that the MVA will assume you are going out of business if you do not request renewal before your expiration date.
- Business License Renewal form
- Surety Bond rider (or new Bond) – This is required only if changes in your Surety Bond have been made.
- Power of Attorney - This form is required only when a rider or a new Surety Bond is submitted.
- Copies of flag releases – You will be notified of any outstanding flags with the renewal packet.
- Trader’s License – Be sure that the current year’s License is copied.
- Explanation of MVA administrative actions – If any administrative actions have been taken or are pending against your manufacturer or distributor, you will be asked to submit a written statement.
- Notice of criminal convictions – If any owners, officers, or persons with a financial interest in your manufacturer or distributor have been convicted of a criminal offense, you will be asked to submit a written statement explaining the situation.
Once your renewal request has been approved, the BL&CS will mail a new license and forms for you to use in renewing your interchangeable tag registrations at any full service branch office.
Maryland law requires that you report all changes affecting your license to the MVA within 30 days after the change occurs. If the change occurs during your license renewal period, you may indicate the change on the Business License Renewal form that will be sent to you prior to the license expiration date. Otherwise, contact the Business Licensing and Consumer Services (BL&CS) Unit either by phone or by mail to report the changes.
The BL&CS will send you a packet of forms to be completed, as well as instructions for other actions that you must take in order to request the change. The documents required vary by the type of change involved.
Once your change request has been approved, the BL&CS will mail you a new manufacturer or distributor license and, if applicable, updated Registration Cards for your interchangeable tags.
Contact the Business Licensing and Consumer Services (BL&CS) Unit, as soon as possible, either by phone or by mail and report the corrections needed. The BL&CS will send you a packet of forms to be completed, as well as instructions for other actions, if any, that you must take in order to request the corrections.
Once your correction request has been approved, the BL&CS will mail you a new manufacturer or distributor license and corrected Registration Cards for your interchangeable tags, if these items needed correction. Some corrections will not require the reprinting of these documents (e.g., your phone number).
Contact the Business Licensing and Consumer Services (BL&CS) Unit and request an Application for Duplicate Vehicle Dealer’s and/or Salesperson’s License. Written requests will be accepted when submitted on company letterhead and accompanied by the appropriate fee.
Once your request has been approved, the BL&CS will mail the duplicate license.
If you are forced out of business, the Business Licensing and Consumer Services (BL&CS) Unit will contact you. Otherwise,contact the BL&CS either by phone or by mail and indicate that you are going out of business. The BL&CS will advise you which materials must be returned to the MVA. Typically, you must return the following items which are considered State properties:
- Manufacturer or distributor license - This document is often referred to as a “wall license”.
- Interchangeable tags - All tags must be returned to an MVA branch office. The receipts showing that you returned the tags then must be submitted to the BL&CS.