Montana Driver’s License – Application and Renewal

Montana Driver’s License – Application and Renewal

by Zutobi · Updated Mar 18, 2021

The process of getting your driver’s license in Montana can be simple. In this article you’ll find everything you need to know on one easy-to-access page.

Who Can Apply for a Montana Driver’s License?

If you pass these basic qualifications, you are eligible to go through the application process for your license.

15-18 years old: 

  • You must be at least 16 OR a 15-year old that successfully completed a state-approved driver’s education course (online courses do not count).
  • A parent or guardian signs consent for you to drive and accepts financial responsibility.
  • Can submit proof of identity, residency, and authorized presence. You can find a list of state-approved documents here.

18 Years or Older:

  • Can submit proof of identity, residency, and authorized presence. You can find a list of state-approved documents here.
  • Pass the required tests
  • Turn in any other permits or licenses you own, including out-of-state
  • Have not been found by the court to be mentally incompetent, alcoholic, or a habitual user of illegal drugs

Where Do I go to Apply for a License?

You can apply for your driver’s license at your nearest Montana MVD Driver License Station. If you don’t know where your nearest station is, the Montana state government provides a helpful live map here.

Please note that you can’t go to them on holidays. You should try to arrive early in the day to ensure you have enough time to comfortably complete the tests. Some may even require you to make an appointment in advance.

The Steps to Getting Your MT Driver’s License

Montana has a three-phase graduated license program to help drivers under 18 develop safe driving practices over time.

Step 1: Instruction Permit

To get a permit, you must:

  • Bring approved documents to prove identity, residency, and lawful presence in the United States
  • Bring a parent or legal guardian to sign your application and a parental consent form
  • Pass the written test, which consists of 33 questions. You must get 28 right to pass.
  • Turn in other licenses, get a physical, and not be deemed by a court to be incompetent or otherwise disabled.
  • Pay the appropriate fees.

Your permit is good for up to two years. During this stage, you must get 50 hours of supervised driving practice with ten hours at night. You must always drive with a licensed adult. Everyone must wear seatbelts, and no one can be inebriated in any way. 

You’ll have to hold your permit for at least six months before you can progress to the next license. 

Step 2: First-Year Restricted License

To get your first-year Montana license, you will go to a local driver exam station after you have practiced for at least 6 months and hold no suspension or major violations. You may have to book an appointment in advance, depending on the location.

  1. Bring approved documents to prove identity, residency, and lawful presence in the United States
  2. Bring a parent or legal guardian to sign your application and a parental consent form
  3. Pass the Driving test. In the Behind the wheel exam, you will be expected to bring your own safe, road-worthy vehicle for the exam. It must also be registered and insured. The test will measure your competence in driving, along with your practical knowledge of Montana laws and safe driving practices.
  4. Turn in other licenses or permits, get a physical, and not be deemed by a court to be incompetent or otherwise disabled.
  5. Pay the appropriate fees.
  6. Have a picture taken

Montana First-Year License Restrictions

In the second stage, you can drive unsupervised, but not during the hours between 11 PM and 5 AM. There are limited exceptions to this rule, mostly for emergencies.

Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt. For the first six months, you can only have one friend under eighteen in your vehicle UNLESS you have a licensed adult in the seat beside you. In the second six months, this changes to three.

Step 3: Full Montana Driver’s License

If you have a First-Year restricted license, you can turn it in for your unrestricted adult license in place of the tests. If you have a permit, you must still take the road test before you can attain a license.

The licensing restrictions end either on the date indicated on your license or when you turn 18, whichever happens first. All restrictions aside from driving laws are lifted. 

To apply for an unrestricted license, you must be able to prove your residency, identity, and lawful presence in the United States. You will also have to:

When you turn 21, you will renew your license for one that does not have the “Under 21” label.

  1. Bring approved documents to prove identity, residency, and lawful presence in the United States
  2. If you have not taken the written or driving exam, you will do so at this time.
  3. Turn in other licenses or permits, get a physical, and not be deemed by a court to be incompetent or otherwise disabled.
  4. Pay the appropriate fees.
  5. Have a picture taken

Renewing Your License

Renewing your Montana license should be done at least six months before your license expires. You have a 90 day grace period after the license expires, but the right to drive expires at midnight of that final expiry date. You can’t drive until the renewal is processed without heavy fines and penalties.

You have to renew in person at an MVD exam station. Make sure to bring your license, proof of identity, and any proof of name changes if applicable. You’ll also need to bring the $41.72 fee.

Need to take a test for getting your Montana driver’s license? Check out our Summarized Montana Drivers Manual and practice tests. We help our users pass their exams on the first try!

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