Welcome to the MVD Frequently Asked Questions page! Here, we’ve consolidated the most commonly asked questions from the public. However, for the most comprehensive information, we recommend visiting the appropriate MVD web page (Driver Licensing, Title and Registration, License Plates) or calling (406) 444-3933.
- How do I get a Montana driver license?
- What are the age requirements for obtaining a Montana driver license?
- How much does a driver license cost?
- What documents do I need to bring with me when applying for a driver license?
- What forms of payment are accepted?
- Do I need to schedule an appointment?
- How do I renew my driver license?
- I lost my driver license, what should I do?
- How should I prepare for my driver license exam?
- How do I obtain a certified copy of my birth certificate?
Have questions about REAL ID? Visit our new website mtrealid.gov for the most up-to-date information and FAQs!
Light Vehicle Title and Registration
- What is a light vehicle?
- What documents do I need to bring with me to title and register my vehicle?
- What forms of payment are accepted?
- How long is my vehicle registration valid for?
- How much does it cost to register my vehicle?
- When can I permanently register my light vehicle or motorhome?
- How is the fee for permanent registration assessed for light vehicles?
- Can I use specialty plates when I purchase permanent registration for my light vehicle or trailer?
- Can I transfer a permanent registration to another owner after I have sold the vehicle registered?
- When can I permanently register my trailer, street-legal motorcycle, street-legal quadricycle, or snowmobile?
- How do I renew my vehicle registration?
- How do I title a car in my name?
- How do I get a replacement title for my vehicle?
- What license plates can I order for my vehicle?
- Where can I order a license plate?
- How much does a new license plate cost?
- How do I personalize a plate and how much does it cost?
Montana residents who meet the age requirements and who wish to obtain a driver license must pass both a written knowledge test and a road skills test. Both tests can be taken at any Montana driver license exam station. If you’ve recently moved to Montana and have a valid driver license from another state, the requirement for a written and road test can be waived. Applicants must have their current out-of-state license with them at the time of their appointment. If an applicant does not have a current out-of-state license, they may be required to pass written and road tests.
All applicants ages 18 and over may apply for a full privileged driver license. A 16 year may apply for a learner license with the written consent of their parent or guardian. A 15 year old may apply for a learner license upon completion of a state-approved traffic education program and with the written consent of their parent or guardian. After satisfying the requirements of the learner license, a teen may apply for a first-year restricted license.
Along with the flat .52 cent fee for mailing the license renewal reminder, the cost of a class D (non-commercial) license is $5.15 for every year it is valid for. For example, a license valid for 12 years would be $62.32, a license valid for 11 years would be $57.17, etc. Typically, applicants between the ages of 21 and 63 will receive a license valid for 12 years (non-REAL ID). More information can be found at cost and length of a regular license. Pre-paid receipts will have a nominal fee variation when paid at a county treasurer’s office.
Cash, check, money order, and credit cards.
Yes. Most transactions require appointment scheduling.
You may renew your license in person at any driver license exam station. Appointments are recommended and may be scheduled up to 6 months prior to the expiration date. If you are temporarily out of state or in a county that does not provide driver license services, you may renew by mail. However if you renew by mail, your next renewal must be done in person.
You may obtain a replacement license from any driver license exam station in person by bringing in two documents as proof of identity and a form of payment. If you are temporarily out of state, you may request a replacement license by mail using Mail-in Replacement (All Driver Licenses) (form 21-2000). The cost of a replacement license is $10.30. Pre-paid receipts will have a nominal fee variation when paid at a county treasurer’s office.
To prepare for the written knowledge test, read through and be familiar with the Montana Driver Manual. Applicants can also practice using MVD’s Practice Test App, available Google Play. To prepare for the road skills test, get as much time as you can behind the wheel under the supervision of a licensed driver before testing.
A certified birth certificate can serve as both proof of identity and proof of authorized presence. If you were born in Montana, you may obtain a certified copy of your birth certificate from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Vital Statistics office, or, in some cases, at your County Treasurer’s Office. If you were born in another state, please refer to the CDC’s state directory for your vital records.
Light Vehicle Title and Registration
A light vehicle is a passenger car, pickup truck weighing 1 ton or less, van, or SUV.
You’ll need to bring a valid Montana driver license, proof of insurance, and a form of payment.
All County Treasurer Offices accept cash and check, though at their discretion and with some additional fees, some counties do accept credit or debit cards.
Standard vehicle registrations are valid for 1 year.
This depends on a variety of things, including the age of your car, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), and the county that you live in. Please refer to the Title and Registration web page for details.
If your light vehicle or motorhome is eleven years old or older, you may be eligible for permanent registration. According to Montana Code Annotated (MCA) 61-3-501, “the age of a vehicle is determined by subtracting the manufacturer’s designated model year from the current calendar year.” You can view all registration fees under MCA 61-3-321. You can view all permanent registration fees and considerations under MCA 61-3-562.
Permanent registration starts with a base fee of $90.13 for light vehicles. County option taxes are assessed and added. The $6.18 optional state parks support, $10.30 Montana Highway Patrol Salary and Retention Fee, the $5.15 insurance verification fee (if existing plates are kept on vehicle), and certain special plate fees and gross vehicle weight (GVW) fees (if applicable) are added as well. MCA 61-3-562 explains how fees are assessed for permanent registration, including multiplication of certain fees when permanently registering.
Certain sponsored plates are available when permanently registering your vehicle for a one-time contribution amount. However, plates that require a yearly recertification and plates that require a yearly donation fee are not eligible. These plates include: National Guard, reserved armed forces, amateur radio, and some organizational specialty plates.
No. Remove the permanent plates from any permanently registered vehicle before the new owner takes possession of the vehicle. You are legally and financially liable for those plates. Any damages, traffic tickets, or even criminal activities associated with permanent plates/registration are bound to the original applicant.
All trailers, street-legal motorcycles, street-legal quadricycles, and snowmobiles must be permanently registered.
All titling work should be done at your County Treasurer’s Office (CTO). If you purchased your car from a dealership, the dealership will have mailed your paperwork to the CTO, where you will need to go to fill it out. If you purchased your car from a private seller, you’ll need to bring the original title to your CTO, signed by the seller.
If you’re the registered owner of a light vehicle, you may select from any of the five standard Montana plates or from most of the non-standard plates. Some restrictions apply to a handful of plates, such as military or antique license plates.
You must order your license plate in person at your County Treasurer’s Office.
The production fee for a standard license plate is $10.30. Additional fees for non-standard plates vary.
To personalize a plate, you’ll need to submit form MV8 at your County Treasurer’s Office when ordering a license plate. A personalized plate is an additional $25.75, on top of the $10.30 production fee, and any non-standard plate fees that may apply.