Montana has some of the most pristine, scenic areas in the West, including Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park. It is also home to the Old Faithful geyser, Flathead Lake, and our “most livable place,” Bozeman. If you’re relocating to Montana, you’ll need to handle the following:
- Change of address registration (driver license or ID card)
- Montana driver license application (new residents and military personnel)
- Military services license requirements (if applicable)
- Vehicle registration (for residents, military, and non-residents)
In this article, we will guide you through the Montana car registration guidelines you must follow once you become a resident.
- Montana DMV Change of Address Registration (Driver License or ID Card)
- Getting a Montana Driver License (New Residents)
- Driver Licenses for Military Personnel
- Car Registration in Montana
- Trust Mesa Moving and Storage with Your Move
Montana DMV Change of Address Registration (Driver License or ID Card)
Individuals must notify Montana’s Motor Vehicle Division within ten days of a change of address. State law requires this deadline in case there are any registration problems. If the state’s MVD cannot reach a driver, the person could lose their driving privileges.
To update or file an address with the MVD, complete the Change of Driver License Address (Electronic Record, Form 34-0300). There is no fee for updating your record online. This form is available from the county treasurer and driver license stations. People can also get them from Montana Highway Patrol offices.
If you want your new address on your driver license, you must:
- Visit a Montana driver license station and get a replacement driver license.
- Pay the 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 and hours, visit Montana’s Driver License Station page. You can also use their appointment scheduling page.
Getting a Montana Driver License (New Residents)
Out-of-state drivers can apply for a Montana driver license. The state’s Motor Vehicles Division requires drivers to do the following:
- Individuals must apply for a state driver license within 60 days of moving to the state if the applicants seek non-commercial licenses.
- People seeking a commercial driver license must apply within 30 days of arriving in Montana.
Additionally, they must provide the required documentation:
The MVD may ask new residents to pass a written test, road test, and a vision test. Driver examiners may issue tests at their discretion and waive them for people with a valid license issued by another state.
Driver Licenses for Military Personnel
Montana’s MVD has specific regulations for military members who want to apply for a driver license within the state.
- Active-duty personnel who have a valid driver license (issued by another state) don’t need to get a state license unless they also work a non-military job.
- If armed forces spouses get jobs within the state, they have 90 days to get a driver license after they find employment.
- Personnel (with valid Montana driver licenses when they enter the military) may use a state driver license until 90 days after an honorable discharge.
- If you’re stationed out of state and need a military exemption, you can request an extension using the form for mail-in military exempt status (all driver licenses application).
You can renew your Montana driver license by mail. Download the instructions page and mail-in renewal standard license form (21-1900A). For Montana registration renewal details, contact the Motor Vehicle Division Customer Care Center at (866) 450-8034. If you are out of state, e-mail the Motor Vehicle Division at email@example.com.
Active duty doesn’t include full-time active duty with the National Guard unless the National Guard has been called to federal service (ARM233141). More military resources are available on the military services page.
Car Registration in Montana
Under Montana car registration laws, new residents must apply for a title and register their vehicles within 60 days of establishing residency.
Residents who move to another county may continue using their plates until their registration renewal date. The state requires residents to update their address with the MVD Driver Services Bureau within ten days of moving. Their current vehicle registration and plates remain active until it expires. Once it does, they can renew their vehicle registration with the county treasurer’s office. Citizens with permanently registered vehicles don’t have to take any registration action.
For a list of current registration fees, visit this page.
When Can You Get Permanent Plates in Montana?
Montana’s vehicle title and registration laws state that all vehicles over 11 years old qualify for permanent registration. As a resident, you will never have to renew your registration after paying all one-time permanent registration fees. This regulation remains in place as long as the vehicle remains with the same owner.
Large vehicles, anything bigger than a one-ton pickup truck, are not eligible for permanent registration. The exception to this rule is if you own a motorhome. In addition, if your vehicle has a special license plate with annual renewal fees, you will not be eligible for permanent registration.
How Much Are Permanent Plates in Montana?
Permanent registration fees for vehicles over 11 years of age are as follows:
- $87.50 for registration
- $10.30 for Montana Highway Patrol Salary and Retention
- $5 fee for insurance verification (if existing plates remain on vehicle)
- $9 for optional state parks support
There’s also a county tax levied. However, the rate depends on the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), the type of vehicle, and the vehicle’s depreciation value.
Car Registration for Military and Non-Residents
If you’re a military service member or a non-resident, the following Montana car registration laws apply:
- Military Employees: Non-residents stationed in Montana may register their vehicles in their home state. If they hold a job outside the military, they must register their vehicles in Montana.
- Non-Residents: Under the MCA 61-3-701 through 704, non-residents who have a job in-state must register. They should present their current out-of-state registration to the county treasurer’s office. Taxes or fees (in lieu of taxes) are due, along with registration fees (U.S. funds only). Non-residents may register by the calendar quarter. The vehicle must display the license plates from both its home state and Montana.
Trust Mesa Moving and Storage with Your Move
Are you moving to Montana soon? Mesa Moving and Storage has affordable moving services across several locations that can help with your relocation. So whether you plan to relocate to our capital city of Helena or the carved valleys in Whitefish, our friendly professional movers will ensure your transition is a smooth and easy one.
Contact us today to learn about our relocation services.