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
They also may be required to pass written and road tests, in addition to a vision test. However, driver examiners may, at their discretion, waive the written and road tests for individuals who have in their possession a valid license issued by another state.
- 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.
- If you are stationed out of state and wish to obtain a military exemption, you can request a military extension using Military Exempt Status Driver License by Mail (form 34-1303). You can renew your Montana driver license by mail by downloading the instructions page and Mail-in Renewal Standard License (form 21-1900A). For questions 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 [email protected].
- 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).
You can find more military resources on the military services page.
Individuals wishing to obtain a Montana driver license must:
- provide parental consent and complete the graduated driver licensing process if they are under 18
- pass written, vision, and road tests
- provide the required documents
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
- If the individual with the learner license is under 18, the accompanying licensed driver must be 18 or over
- 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
- must be held for 14 days by a Commercial driver applicant before taking the road test
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, MCA 61-5-131, 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 get a Learner License from a driver license bureau if they meet all of the following criteria:
- are age 14½ years old only if they are in a state-approved traffic education program (online courses are not approved)
- are 16 years old
- 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 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 license bureau. 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 Office of Public Instruction Graduated Driver License Law page.
If you lose or misplace your Montana driver license, you may obtain a replacement license from any driver license exam station. To obtain a replacement license, you must provide proof of identity.
If you are temporarily out of state, you may download Mail-in Replacement (All Driver Licenses) (form 21-2000) online, or you may call (406) 444-3933 or email [email protected]. 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.
A replacement Montana driver license costs $10.30. Pre-paid receipts will have a nominal fee variation when paid at a county treasurer’s office.
A motorcycle endorsement is required to operate motorcycles, motor scooters, three-wheel motorcycles, etc. Written and driving tests are required. Schedule the test through the online appointment scheduling. You must pass the written test before you can make an appointment for the road test. Note that motorcycle road tests are not given on wet roads.
Drivers applying for a motorcycle endorsement should be familiar with the Montana Motorcycle Supplement.
It costs an extra $4.12 or less (52 cents a year) to add a motorcycle endorsement during a renewal or when applying for a brand new license. If you are outside your renewal schedule, you will need to pay an additional $10.30 (including the 52 cents a year for the endorsement until your license’s expiration date) to receive a replacement license with the motorcycle endorsement displayed. Pre-paid receipts will have a nominal fee variation when paid at a county treasurer’s office.
Motorcycle endorsements expire at the same time as your existing MT driver license. You must renew you license six months prior to, or within three months after, the expiration date on your license to avoid retesting.
The Motor Vehicle Division issues identification cards only to Montana residents. Montana ID cards must be obtained at your local driver license exam station through appointment scheduling. Mail in processes are not available for identification cards. Appointments for this service are required.
Pre-paid receipts will have a nominal fee variation when paid at a county treasurer’s office.
*If you already have a Montana driver license, the name and address you use must match that on the ID card.
Changing Your Address on Your Driver License or ID Card
You must notify the MVD’s Driver Services 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 Change of Driver License Address (Electronic Record) (form 34-0300). There is no fee for updating your electronic record. This form is available from most county treasurers, a Montana Highway Patrol trooper, or any driver license station.
- If you want your new address on your photo driver license, you must:
1. Go to a Montana driver license station for a replacement driver license.
2. Pay the $10.30 replacement driver license fee at the driver license station. Pre-paid receipts will have a nominal fee variation when paid at a county treasurer’s office.
For a list of driver license stations’ locations and hours, see the Driver License Station page. You can use appointment scheduling.
Changing Your Name on Your Driver License or ID Card
A name change must be completed at a driver license exam station.
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.
Required Documents for name change
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.
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 Application to Add Veteran Designation to Driver License or ID Card (form 21-3000). 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.
You can find more military resources on the military services page.
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.
Renewing by Mail
*Please note: Montana law does not allow name changes through the mail. You must make an appointment at a driver exam station.
To be eligible to renew your Montana driver license by mail, you must either:
- 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.
- Be a U.S. Citizen (mail renewals not allowed for foreign nationals per MCA 61-5-111)
Renewals completed by mail are valid for eight years. After renewing by mail, your next renewal must be completed at a driver license exam station.
How to Renew a Standard License by Mail
- For a standard Class D license, download the instructions page and Mail-in Renewal Standard License (form 21-1900A).
- Enclose a check or money order payable to MVD: Please use the age you will be on the expiration date.
- A temporary, secure paper driver license will be sent to the address indicated on the application within 3-10 days of receiving your application at headquarters. A permanent, hard copy license will also be sent to the address indicated on the application within 2-6 weeks. Please note that MT driver licenses cannot be sent out of country.
- Mail the completed packet to:
ATTN: Mail-In DL
P.O. Box 201430
Helena, MT 59620-1430
- For express mailing please use the physical address in place of the P.O. Box:
ATTN: Mail-In DL
302 North Roberts
Helena, MT 59620
Cost and Length of Regular License
The cost of a regular, non-commercial (Class D) license is $41.72 for an eight-year license ($5.15 per year), plus the 52-cent fee for mailing the license renewal reminder. Pre-paid receipts will have a nominal fee variation when paid at a county treasurer’s office. The term or length of your Montana driver license depends on your age at the time the license is issued or renewed.
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. The document will be checked with the Social Security Administration. This is to help protect you against fraud. It is 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
Montana currently leads the nation in donor designation. Montanans demonstrate their generosity of donation with 87 percent of the population that are 18 and older being registered as organ, eye and tissue donors.
You can help save and heal lives. If you are 15 years old or older, you can choose to register as an organ, eye, and tissue donor on your driver license or ID card.
Donor designation is an individual’s right to make their own decision about organ, eye, and tissue donation. This is a legally binding decision, supported by the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act.
When you apply for your license:
a. Indicate on the application you want your license to show that you are an organ donor.
b. Tell the driver license bureau representative that you want to be a donor.
c. Share your decision with your family
d. You are already registered if your license says DONOR on the front or has a red heart in the upper left corner.
LifeCenter Northwest manages the organ, eye and tissue donor registry for Montana. To learn more visit LifeCenter Northwest or call 877-275-5269.
You can also learn more about the benefits of being a registered organ donor through LifeCenter Northwest’s short film, “It’s Your Choice”.