Montana Department of Justice
Home / Motor Vehicle Division – MVD / Driver Licenses & ID Cards

Driver Licenses & ID Cards

Active duty does not include full-time active duty with the National Guard unless the National Guard member has been called to federal service. (ARM 23.3.141).

You may apply for a Montana driver license at any driver exam station, regardless of where in Montana you live. The state laws governing driver licensing are found in the Driver Licenses chapter of the Montana Code Annotated. Please be prepared to pay for your license with cash or check (U.S. funds only), since credit cards are not accepted.

Information on commercial driver licenses, including endorsements and renewals, is available on the Commercial Driver Licensing page.

You can schedule most of your driver licensing appointments from the convenience of your own computer. Scheduling online also helps you avoid waiting on the phone when our lines are busy. The Motor Vehicle Division has implemented online appointment scheduling for some driver licensing stations.

Drivers need to be familiar with the Montana Driver Manual. The Office of Public Instruction makes an adapted/illustrated version of the Montana Driver’s Manual available.

Identity Confirmation for Driver Licenses and ID Cards

Your identity is important. Identity theft is now the top-reported form of crime in the United States. The name and birth date on your application for a driver license or ID card must match the primary document you provide and will be checked with the Social Security Administration. This is to help protect you against fraud. It’s important to fix discrepancies now to avoid problems in the future for you and your family. You will need to provide your Social Security number when applying for a Montana driver license or ID card. Please make sure the full legal name and date of birth you’re going to use on your application for a driver license or ID card matches what is on file with the Social Security Administration.

Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation Program

Each day in the United States, 18 people die waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Thousands more await the cornea and tissue transplants that help blind people see and burn victims recover.

You can help. If you are 15 years old or older, you can choose to register your wish to become an organ and tissue donor on your driver license or ID card. When you renew, tell the driver exam station representative that you want to be a donor. You are already registered if your license says DONOR on the front or has a red heart in the upper left corner.

If you haven’t yet recorded your wish to be a donor, you don’t have to wait until you renew your license. Visit the donor registry online at www.DonateLifeToday.com. For questions about organ, eye and tissue donation, please contact Donate Life Today toll-free at (877) 275-5269 or e-mail info@DonateLifeToday.com.

 

New Drivers

Individuals wishing to obtain a Montana driver license must:

Driver Test for iOS Devices

You can download the free MVD Driver Test application for your iPhoneiPod, or iPad to test your knowledge of Montana’s driving laws. These apps were created by the MVD to help you learn the rules to become a safe driver.

Learner License (All Classes)

A learner license:

  • allows an individual to operate a vehicle when accompanied by a driver who has a valid license of the same class and type as that of the vehicle being driven
  • valid for up to one year from the date of issuance
  • must be used for six consecutive months by any new driver under 18 years old

A Traffic Education Learner’s License (TELL) allows minors to operate a motor vehicle when their licensed parent or legal guardian is in the seat beside them.

Individuals with a learner license from another state can drive in Montana for 60 days with a licensed driver.

 

Graduated Driver Licensing

Montana’s graduated driver licensing law creates a three-step program that allows new drivers under the age of 18 years to safely develop and improve their driving skills. Each step progressively increases the privileges and responsibilities of a new driver in an effort to reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes involving minors.

The Parents’ Guide to Teen Driving may be a helpful resource, as well as the teen driving log. A variety of mobile applications, including RoadReady and Fast Track Driving Log Free, can also be useful in keeping track of hours driven.

Step 1: Permit Period
  • Age and Permit Requirements
    • Teenagers may obtain a Traffic Education Learner’s License (TELL) as early as age 14½ years old only if they are in a state-approved traffic education program (online courses are not approved).
    • Teenagers may get a Learner License from a driver exam station if they meet all of the following criteria:
      • are 16 years old -OR- are 15 years old and successfully complete a state-approved traffic education program (online courses are not approved)
      • pass the required driver license tests
      • turn in any other driver licenses
      • do not have a license suspended, revoked, or denied in any other state or jurisdiction
      • pass the medical requirements for the type of driver license desired
      • have not been found by a court to be mentally incompetent, alcoholic, and/or a habitual user of illegal drugs
    • A teenager under 18 must hold a Learner License for a minimum of six consecutive months before applying for a First-Year Restricted License.
    • The Learner License is valid for up to one year.
  • Conditions During Permit Stage
    • Teen drivers must acquire at least 50 hours of supervised driving experience, including 10 hours at night.
    • A driver with a TELL permit must be supervised by a licensed parent or guardian.
    • A driver with a Learner License must be supervised by a licensed parent or guardian, or a licensed driver age 18 years or older who is authorized by the parent or guardian.
    • Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt.
    • The teen driver must not receive any traffic violations or alcohol/drug offenses in the six-month period before advancing to GDL Step 2 (First-Year Restricted License).
    • The teen driver must hold the Learner License for a minimum of six consecutive months before advancing to GDL Step 2 (First-Year Restricted License).
Step 2: First-Year Restricted License

When teens have satisfied all Step 1 requirements, they may apply for a First-Year Restricted License at a driver exam station. They must:

Initially, the driver license will show a restriction code on the front and back. This restriction remains in effect for one year. During this period, the following restrictions apply:

  • Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt.
  • Teenage drivers may not drive between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., with some exceptions.
    • These exceptions including emergencies, farm-related activities, travel to and from school, church or work, and specific parent-authorized purposes.
    • Law enforcement officials may contact the parent or guardian of a teen driver to verify the purpose for which the teen is authorized to drive between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
  • For the first six months, unless supervised by a licensed driver age 18 or older, a teenage driver may have only one unrelated passenger under age 18 in the vehicle.
  • For the second six months, unless supervised by a licensed driver age 18 or older, a teenage driver may have three unrelated passengers under age 18 in the vehicle.

Penalties for violating the Step 2 license restrictions are:

  • First Offense – between 20 and 60 hours of community service
  • Second Offense – suspension of the teen’s driver license for six months
Step 3: Full Privilege Driver License

First-Year Restricted License restrictions automatically end on the date indicated on the back of the driver license, or when the individual turns 18, whichever occurs first. Once the teenager reaches Step 3, the driver license confers full privileges.

For more information on graduated driver licensing, go to the Graduated Driver License Law page on the Office of Public Instruction website.

 

New Residents

Individuals with out-of-state licenses who wish to obtain a Montana driver license must:

  • apply for a Montana driver license within 60 days of moving to the state if seeking a non-commercial driver license and within 30 days if they need a commercial license
  • provide the required documents
    • proof of identity
    • proof of Montana residency
    • proof of authorized presence

They also may be required to pass written and driving tests, in addition to a vision test. However, driver examiners may, at their discretion, waive the written and driving tests for individuals who have in their possession a valid license issued by another state.

 

Military Personnel

  • Military personnel on active duty in Montana who have a valid license issued by another state and who are not employed in Montana, except as a member of the armed forces, do not need a Montana driver license.
  • If the spouse of member of the armed forces stationed in Montana gets a job here, the spouse must get a Montana driver license within 90 days of becoming employed.
  • Military personnel who have a valid Montana driver license when they enter the armed forces may use their Montana license until 30 days after an honorable discharge.
  • To obtain a military exemption or to renew your Montana driver license, contact the Motor Vehicle Division Customer Care Center at (866) 450-8034 or, if you are out of state, e-mail the Motor Vehicle Division at mvd@mt.gov.
  • Active duty does not include full-time active duty with the National Guard unless the National Guard has been called to federal service. (ARM 23.3.141).

Cost and Length of Regular License

The cost of a regular, non-commercial (Class D) license is $40 for an eight-year license ($5 per year), plus the 50-cent fee for mailing the license renewal reminder. The term or length of your Montana driver license depends on your age at the time the license is issued or renewed.

Customer Age (years) Driver Licensing Fee Total Fee with a Motorcycle Endorsement Length of Driver License (years)
14 $35.50 N/A 7
15 $30.50 $33.50 6
16 $25.50 $28.00 5
17 $20.50 $22.50 4
18 $15.50 $17.00 3
19 $10.50 $11.50 2
20 $5.50 $6.00 1
21-67 $40.50 $44.50 8
68 $35.50 $39.00 7
69 $30.50 $33.50 6
70 $25.50 $28.00 5
71 $20.50 $22.50 4
72 $15.50 $17.00 3
73 $10.50 $11.50 2
74 $5.50 $6.00 1
75 & older $20.50 $22.50 4

 

Motorcycle Endorsements

Other Resources:

A motorcycle endorsement is required to operate motorcycles, motor scooters, three-wheel motorcycles, etc. Written and driving tests are required. Depending on where you plan to take your test, you can schedule the test through the online Appointment Scheduling Service or, at exam stations that don’t offer online scheduling, you can walk in to take the written test. You must pass the written test before you can make an appointment for the driving test. Note that motorcycle driving tests are not given on wet roads.

Drivers applying for a motorcycle endorsement should be familiar with the Montana Motorcycle Supplement.

Type of Driver Licensing Service
Driver Licensing Fee
Number of years valid

Add a motorcycle endorsement
$4 or less (50 cents per year)
Same as expiration on existing MT driver license

 

Renewals

To keep your Montana driving privilege valid, the renewal may be completed six months before your license expires (usually on your birthday). The license can still be renewed three months after its expiration, but your driving privilege expires at midnight on the expiration date and is not valid until the renewal is processed.

Type of Exam Station
Renewal Options

Full-service driver exam station
You must renew in person.

Rural, limited-service driver exam station
You must renew in person by first paying for your license at the county treasurer’s office and getting a prepaid receipt, which you present to the driver examiner.

If you are a Montana resident who is temporarily outside the state and will not return before the expiration of your Montana driver license.
You may renew by mail. However, after renewing by mail, your next renewal must be completed in person at a driver exam station.

If you live in a county that does not provide driver license services (Carter, Garfield, Golden Valley, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Madison, Petroleum, Prairie, Treasure and Wibaux)
You may:

  • renew in person at a full-service driver exam station; or
  • renew at a rural station by first paying for your license at the county treasurer’s office and getting a prepaid receipt, which you present to the driver examiner; or
  • renew by mail. However, after renewing by mail, your next renewal must be completed in person at a driver exam station.

 

Renewing in Person
  1. If you do not have your expiring Montana driver license with you, you must provide proof of identity and, if your name has changed, documentation of name change.
  2. Be prepared to pay the $40.50 fee for an eight-year regular, noncommercial (Class D) license with cash or check (U.S. funds only). Credit cards are not accepted.
    OR
    In rural locations with limited driver license services, you must bring your prepaid receipt from the county treasurer’s office.
  3. You will be given a temporary license and receive your new license in the mail within approximately two to four weeks.

 

Renewing by Mail

To be eligible to renew your Montana driver license by mail, you must either:

  • Be a Montana resident who is temporarily outside the state and will not return prior to the expiration of your Montana driver license OR
  • Live in a county that does not provide driver license services—Carter, Garfield, Golden Valley, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Madison, Petroleum, Prairie, Treasure and Wibaux.

Renewals completed by mail are valid for eight years. After renewing by mail, your next renewal must be completed at a driver exam station.

How to Renew a Non-Commercial License by Mail
  1. For a regular Class D license, complete and sign all three mail renewal application forms:
    Form 1, Class D Driver License Mail Renewal Application #21-1900A
    Form 2, Medical Evaluation for Driver License Mail Renewal Application #20-1900B, completed by a physician
    Form 3, Report of Eye Examination Application #22-1801, completed by an optometrist
  2. If your name has changed, you must also enclose documentation of name change.
  3. Enclose a money order or a photocopy of your prepaid county receipt (which may be purchased at a county treasurer’s office or a driver exam station):
    $40.50 for a regular eight-year license
    an additional $4 if you have a motorcycle endorsement and would like to retain it
  4. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you want the temporary license mailed back to you. Your new driver license will be mailed in two to four weeks.
  5. Mail the completed packet to: Motor Vehicle Division
    Montana Department of Justice
    302 N. Roberts
    P.O. Box 201430
    Helena, MT 59620-1430

 

Replacement Licenses

If you lose or misplace your Montana driver license, you may obtain a replacement license from any driver exam station. If you are temporarily out of state, you may download Form 21-2000 online, or you may call (406) 444-4590 or email your current out-of-state address or fax number to the Motor Vehicle Division at mvd@mt.gov to have the appropriate paperwork mailed to you. You can receive a replacement license by mail only if you are currently out of state, the license must be mailed to you, and the process could take two to four weeks.
If your lost license is within six months of its expiration date, you may be eligible to apply for a renewal instead of a replacement.

Type of Driver Licensing Service
Driver Licensing Fee
Number of years valid
Required Documents

Replacement Montana driver license
$10.00

  • Same as expiration on existing Montana driver license

 

ID Cards

The Motor Vehicle Division issues identification cards only to Montana residents. Montana ID cards can be obtained at your local driver exam station. Appointments for this service are required at exam stations that offer scheduling.

Type of Driver Licensing Service Driver Licensing Fee Number of years valid Required Documents
Montana Identification (ID) Card
(for residents 21 years old and older)
$16.00 8
Montana Identification (ID) Card
(for residents under 21 years old)
$8.00 4

*If you already have a Montana driver license, the name and address you use must match that on the ID card.

 

Veteran Designation on Your Driver License or ID Card

Montana law lets a qualified veteran add the word VETERAN to the front of their driver license or identification (ID) card. This designation not only recognizes your service; it may also help you qualify for veteran discounts offered by some businesses.

To apply for this designation, complete and submit form 21-3000 Application to Add Veteran Designation to Driver License or ID Card. This application explains the two steps needed to have VETERAN printed on your license or ID card.

You can also visit the Montana Veterans Affairs Division.

When purchasing license plates, registering your vehicle, or renewing vehicle registration:
The veteran designation on a driver license or ID card is not proof of eligibility to receive veteran license plates or exemption from vehicle registration fees under Montana law. Veterans must continue to provide official documentation confirming eligibility to display veteran license plates or receive exemption from vehicle registration fees.

 

Changing Your Address on Your Driver License or ID Card

You must notify the MVD’s Driver License Bureau within 10 days of any change of address. This is required by law because the licensing authority may wish to contact you regarding your driver license at any time. If they are unable to contact you, you could lose your driving privilege because you were not aware of orders or requirements that affect your privilege to drive.

  • To update the address on file with the MVD, complete and mail in form 34-0300 Change of Driver License Address (Electronic Record). There is no fee for updating your electronic record. This form is available on the MVD forms website, from most county treasurers, a Montana Highway Patrol trooper, or any driver license examiner.
  • If you want your new address on your photo driver license, you must:

1. Go to a Montana driver exam station for a replacement driver license

2. Pay the $10 replacement driver license fee at the exam station

For a list of exam station locations and hours, see the Driver Exam Stations page. You may be able to make an appointment for this service.

 

Changing Your Name on Your Driver License or ID Card

A name change must be completed at a driver exam station (with the exception of a mail renewal).

An applicant’s full legal name is required on a driver license or identification card application, including a renewal application, and on the license itself. See the Identity Confirmation section above for Social Security Administration requirements.

The name on your application must be the same as the name shown on a primary document unless:

  • you submit the required name change documentation
  • your last name replaced your middle name prior to marriage. U.S. or Canadian birth certificates are acceptable proof of prior last name.
  • your name has been truncated in accordance with policy (Administrative Rules of Montana 23.3.127(3))

The space provided for recording a full legal name on a driver record or driver license may not exceed 31 characters, including up to three commas. Titles such as Dr., Rev., Mrs. and Mr. are not allowed. You may include hyphens only if they are used in your name as it appears in the primary document you use as proof of your identity.

Acceptable Documents

Applications for name change must be supported by a certified copy of one of the following documents:

  • a marriage certificate from the issuing government jurisdiction
  • a decree or judgment granting a name change from a court of competent jurisdiction
  • a divorce decree or dissolution of marriage specifying change of name
  • a U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), certificate of naturalization (form N-550, N-570) issued to the applicant
  • a declaration of marriage filed with the district court clerk where the declaration was made

Upon payment of the required fees and providing proof of name change documentation, an applicant may also apply for a replacement driver license in the legally changed name.

ago-lsd

Attorney General's Office & Legal Services Division

The Attorney General’s Office, headed by Attorney General Tim Fox, and the Legal Services Division function as the lawyers for the State of Montana. The attorneys in the Office have expertise in a wide range of legal topics and handle a broad range of legal cases involving the State of Montana and its people.

Enter
ago-lsd

Children’s Justice Bureau

The Children’s Justice Bureau is an agency-wide initiative at the Montana Department of Justice dedicated to IMPROVING how we respond to child victims, DEVELOPING state-of-the-art approaches by keeping up with the newest research and, most importantly, HELPING child victims recover and move on with their lives.

Enter
ago-lsd

Forensic Science Division & State Crime Lab

The mission of the Montana Forensic Science Division is to use operationally efficient and financially responsible practices as the laboratory provides accurate, objective, and timely forensic analyses to the criminal justice community in order to maximize value to the citizens of Montana.

Enter
ago-lsd

Missing Persons Clearinghouse

The Missing Children Act of 1985 established a Montana Missing Persons Clearinghouse within the Department of Justice. In March 2008, the department implemented a searchable online database that, for the first time, is updated in real time and includes any photos provided by law enforcement.

Enter
ago-lsd

Office of Victim Services

The goal of the Office of Victim Services is to provide tools and information to help crime victims recover from their experience and provide them with a range of services available. The criminal justice system can be confusing and intimidating for victims. To assist them as they go through the justice system, the Office of Victim Service is available to answer any questions they may have.

Enter
ago-lsd

Central Services Division

The Montana Department of Justice’s Central Services Division provides financial and human resources support for the department. We make sure that everything works for the people Working for Justice. If you’re interested in a rewarding career helping protect the rights and safety of all Montanans, we invite you to join our team of over 800 dedicated employees working across the state.

Enter
ago-lsd

Justice Information Technology Services Division

Our Justice Information Technology Services Division (JITSD) provides vital Information Technology (IT) infrastructure upon which Montanans and lojitsdcal and state law enforcement agencies rely for timely, accurate information. JITSD manages the IT systems, services, and interfaces to support nearly 800 DOJ employees, 325 statewide county motor vehicle system users, and over 3,000 Criminal Justice Information Network (CJIN) users across the state.

Enter
ago-lsd

Motor Vehicle Division

The mission of the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) is to identify and promote efficient, cost-effective programs that benefit the interests, safety, and well-being of Montana citizens through licensing, registering, and regulating the motoring activities of the public. The MVD continuously strives for excellence in customer service. Streamlining the way we do business has allowed us to improve our efficiency and make our services more convenient for our customers.

Enter
ago-lsd

Human Trafficking

The Montana Department of Justice has a continued commitment to victims of human trafficking. In partnership with federal authorities, our agency plays a key role in the investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of crimes related to human trafficking in Montana. This form of modern day slavery does happen here in Big Sky Country.

Enter
ago-lsd

Natural Resource Damage Program

The Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP) was created in 1990 to prepare the state’s lawsuit against the Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) for injuries to the natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin (UCFRB). Decades of mining and mineral processing operations in and around Butte and Anaconda released substantial quantities of hazardous substances into the Upper Clark Fork River Basin between Butte and Milltown. These hazardous substances extensively degraded the area’s natural resources.

Enter
ago-lsd

Division of Criminal Investigation

The Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) at the Montana Department of Justice is involved in many aspects of Montana law enforcement and is integral to the Department dciof Justice’s mission of promoting public safety.

Enter
ago-lsd

Montana Highway Patrol

Montana is rich in natural beauty and history. From Glacier Park in the west to Makoshika Park in the east, the men and women of the Montana Highway Patrol are working hard to make your travels safe and enjoyable. The Highway Patrol’s core values are “Service, Integrity and Respect.” These values are reflected in our commitment to public safety through diligent and fair enforcement of our traffic codes.

Enter
ago-lsd

Office of Consumer Protection

Enforce consumer laws designed to protect the consumer from unfair or deceptive business practices. Enforce statutes relating to telephone solicitation and telemarketing. Provide information to consumers about the Consumer Protection Act. Assist consumers by distributing consumer education materials including scam and consumer alerts. Investigate false, misleading, or deceptive trade practices.

Enter
ago-lsd

Montana Law Enforcement Academy

The Montana Law Enforcement Academy is the premier law enforcement and public safety educational and training institution for state, county, city and tribal officers throughout the state. The Academy offers entry-level programs referred to as Basic Programs and advanced training through an array of Professional Development Programs.

Enter
ago-lsd

Public Safety Officer Standards & Training

The Council was formed in 2007 under 2-15-2029, MCA as an independent Quasi-judicial board. And as allowed by statute the Council adopted Administrative Rules in order to implement the provisions of Title 44, chapter 4, part 4, MCA. Per 44-4-403, MCA the Council is required to set employment and training standards for all Public Safety Officers as defined in 44-4-401, MCA and in addition the Council shall provide for the certification or recertification of public safety officers and for the suspension or revocation of certification of public safety officers.

Enter
ago-lsd

Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Program

Montana’s deadliest drugs aren’t made in secret labs and they don’t always come from dealers on the corner. They’re in our own medicine cabinets. Each year, prescription drug abuse contributes to the deaths of more than 300 Montanans — making prescription drug abuse 15 times more deadly than meth, heroin and cocaine combined. Our kids report the third-highest rate of prescription drug abuse in the country and more than half of them say prescription drugs are easier to get than street drugs.

Enter
ago-lsd

Safe in Your Space

When it comes to embracing new technology, kids have rapidly outpaced their parents and teachers. By their early school years, many children are already more comfortable on the Internet than their parents. But just because children are smart enough to know how to navigate the Internet, doesn’t mean they have the experience to make good decisions about some of the possibilities they may face online.

Enter
ago-lsd

Gambling Control Division

Through the Gambling Control Division, the Department of Justice regulates all forms of gambling in Montana, except for the Montana Lottery and horse racing. The legislature has charged the division with maintaining a uniform regulatory climate that is fair and free of corrupt influences. The division is also responsible for collecting gambling revenue for state and local governments.

Enter
ago-lsd

Montana Sexual or Violent Offender Registry

Created by the Montana Department of Justice in 1989, the Sexual or Violent Offender Registry is a valuable resource for Montanans to protect their families against sexual or violent offenders.

Enter
ago-lsd

Montana 24/7 Sobriety Program

Drinking and driving has been a chronic – and deadly — problem on Montana’s roadways for decades. In 2008, Montana was ranked as the deadliest state in the nation when it came to per capita DUI-related traffic fatalities.

Enter
ago-lsd

Work for Justice

Everyday at The Montana Department of Justice, our employees are dedicated to ensuring the well-being and rights of the people of our great state. We’re passionate about what we do because it’s more than a job or a career. It’s about who we are as people. If this sounds like you, your unique experiences, knowledge, and values may be just what the Montana Department of Justice is looking for and needs. In return we can offer a culture that promotes fairness and growth opportunities.

Enter