Find a licensing center
While some driver’s license services can be done by mail, you’ll need to visit a Department of Justice Motor Vehicle Division office in person for some driver’s license services. You can look up a Montana Driver License Station here.
Getting a license for the first time
First time getting your driver’s license? Here’s everything you need to know.
Age 14 1/2 until 18
Montana has a graduated license law that creates a three-step program for those under the age of 18. The first step is a learner’s license. Teens 14 1/2 who are in an approved driver’s education program, or 15, if not in a program, can receive a learner’s license. They must pass a written test and eye exam. During that time they may only drive under the supervision of a parent or guardian or adult assigned by their parent or guardian. They must complete 50 hours of driving, including 10 at night, and not receive any traffic citations. If they complete this stage successfully, they may apply for a first-year restricted license after six months.
To apply for a restricted license, the teen:
- brings all required identification and presence documents: proof of identity, proof of authorized presence, and proof of Montana residency
- brings proof of vehicle registration and learner’s permit to take the driving test
- brings Graduated Driver License Parent/Legal Guardian Certification
- potentially completes a driving test
During the restriction period, the teen may not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. with some exceptions, have only one other unrelated passenger under age 18 unless supervised by an adult for the first six months and only three under age 18 for the second six months. The restrictions end after one year, or when the driver reaches their 18th birthday, whichever comes first.
- The details: If you’re at least 18 years old and ready to get behind the wheel, the process at the driver exam station is smooth and simple.
- What to bring: Pack up your ID document, proof of address, proof of authorized presence,
- What you’ll need to do: When you arrive at the MVD, you’ll submit your application, and take a knowledge test and eye test, unless you’ve brought documentation of one from your doctor. You’ll get a learner’s permit, which gives you the opportunity to practice driving under the supervision of another licensed adult. Once you feel ready, you’ll return to the exam station to take a road test.
- What comes next: If you pass the road test, you’ll receive your license.
Renewing your license
If you’ve not changed your name, you may typically renew your license by mail every other time. In other words, you can renew by mail once, but your next renewal must be in person. To renew by mail, fill out the form and return it to P.O.Box 201430 Helena, MT 59620-1430 along with the fee. The fee is determined based on your age.
To renew in person:
- What to bring: Your expiring driver’s license, proof of name change, if applicable, and results of medical or eye exam, if applicable
You’ll receive a temporary driver’s license to use until you receive your permanent one in the mail.
Do you need a Real ID?
Do you have to get a Real ID? Nope. Will you want one? Probably.
Starting October 1, 2021, your standard driver’s license will no longer be accepted as proof of identification at airports. You’ll need a passport or a Real ID instead. Here is the list of required documentation to convert your license to a Real ID.
Upgrade your restricted license
Your restricted license will be automatically upgraded after one year.
Replace a lost or stolen license
Unless you are living outside the state, you’ll need to go in person to replace your lost or stolen license. You must provide proof of identity. If you are temporarily living outside the state, you may mail in a replacement form along with the appropriate fee: $10.30 for a regular license and $36.05 for a Real ID. You cannot replace a regular license with a real ID by mail.
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