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Montana Vehicle Registration

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Summary

On our MT Vehicle Registration page, you’ll find information about how to register a car or other vehicles with the Montana Motor Vehicles Division (Montana County Treasurer’s Office), including details on the differences between registering a vehicle as resident and temporary resident, registration time periods and Montana military registration.

Registering a Vehicle in Montana

NOTE: Montana requires both residents and temporary residents to register their vehicles.

You may register your vehicle with the Montana Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) in person at your nearest DMV office location.

The vehicle registration process in Montana depends on whether you are a permanent resident or temporary resident. There are also differing requirements for various types of vehicles, including snowmobiles, recreational vehicles, and custom-built cars.

WHAT TO BRING TO THE MT DMV
  • A valid driver’s license or other photo ID
  • Vehicle title
  • Proof of car insurance.
  • Form of payment for the required fees and taxes

Temporary residents of Montana must also provide their current out-of-state registration.

Vehicle Registration for Montana Residents

To register your vehicle in Montana as a resident with your local County Treasurer’s Office, you must provide all the following:

Vehicle Registration for Temporary or Non-Montana Residents

In Montana, you must register your vehicle, even if you are working in the state but not a resident. You must display both your Montana license plate and your home state license plates.

To register your vehicle with your local Montana County Treasurer’s Office, you must provide:

  • A completed Application for Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle (Form MV1).
  • Vehicle title, depending on whether you purchased via a dealership or individual:
    • Private party: the title must be signed by the previous owner
    • New vehicles: The dealership will process the title for you and forward it to your local County Treasurer’s Office You’ll need a copy of the title transfer.
  • Non-residents who are employed in Montana must also present their current out-of-state registration.
  • Provide proof of car insurance.
  • Pay the required vehicle registration fees as determined by the chosen registration period and vehicle age.
  • Pay the county option tax.

New Residents of Montana

You must apply for a Montana vehicle title and register your vehicles within 60 days of establishing residency at your local County Treasurer’s Office. You’ll need to provide:

Vehicle registration based on time periods

Montana offers drivers the option of registering their vehicles for certain periods of time.
Below are your renewal period options:

  • 12-month registration: the owner pays 1 year of the registration rate, county option tax, plus all other registration fees and any special plate fees.
  • 24-month registration, the owner pays the registration rate, county option tax, plus all other registration fees (except for the license fee for each 12-month period) and any special plate fees for the two-year period.
  • Permanent registration, MCA 61-3-562: the owner of a light vehicle 11 years old or older may choose to permanently register the vehicle. This registration does not need to be renewed as long as ownership is unchanged.
  • Quarterly registration: Montana offers an option to non-residents who are working in the state to register or renew their registration quarterly.
    • NOTE: You must still register your vehicle with the Montana DMV even if you are not planning to become a permanent resident.

Registration Requirements for Other Vehicles

Boats and Watercraft In Montana, you must permanently register all boats, personal watercraft and motorized pontoons and display a permanent registration decal and 2 boat validation decals.
Motorcycles

All motorcycles and quadricycles must be permanently registered.

You can register your vehicle for both highway and off-highway uses if you pay for each use separately. A license plate is also required.

Motorhomes

Motorhome owners must pay a fee in lieu of taxes, based on the age of the motor home. The age is determined by subtracting the model year from the current year.

You must pay an annual registration fee for motorhomes that are less than 11 years old.

Snowmobiles

Snowmobiles are permanently registered except ones owned by companies that rent them out.

Snowmobiles that are used exclusively as rentals can be registered annually for the first 2 years, then must be permanently registered thereafter.

Trailer Registration in Montana

All trailers must be permanently registered.

The single decal for trailers is the same as the decal for permanently registered light vehicles.

Military Registration

Military personnel may be eligible for a reduction in fees for certain light vehicle registration if on active duty in Montana or stationed in another state. Service members do NOT pay Montana taxes and fees; only the cost of the registration.

To apply for a military fee waiver, you must submit an Application for Military Registration (Form MV53). Contact your local County Treasurer’s Office to be advised on where to send the form.

Renewing Your Registration in Montana

NOTE: You must process your registration renewal during the month after your registration expires. The MT MVD will send you a renewal notice in the mail.

You can renew your MT registration online, by mail or in person at your local MT County Treasurer’s office. You may apply for permanent registration, if your car is 11 years old or older..

Online Vehicle Registration Renewal

If eligible, you may renew your Montan registration online with a renewal notice and your:

  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
  • License plate number.
  • Vehicle title number.
  • Payment for applicable fees.

If any of the following apply, you CANNOT renew your Montana vehicle registration online:

  • You changed your name or address.
  • You now qualify for an exemption (e.g., tribal, military, etc.)
  • You want to request a new license plate or adjust the vehicle’s gross weight.
  • Your registration is designated as disabled or veteran.

You must contact your local County Treasurer’s Office to complete your renewal.

To check the status of your renewal, you can contact the Montana MVD plate division:

Montana MVD plate divisionPhone at (406) 444-3661
Email: mvdtitleinfo@mt.gov

Vehicle Registration Renewal By Mail

To renew your registration by mail, please follow the instructions on your renewal notice.
You must also mail a check (NO CASH) made out to your local County Treasurer for all required fees, plus any required documents and mail to the address on your renewal notice.

Did you lose your renewal reminder? Please contact the Montana MVD

Registration Renewals In Person

To renew your Montana vehicle registration in person, you will need to visit your local MT MVD office. You must provide your:

  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • License plate number.
  • Vehicle title number.
  • Payment for your fees.
  • Montana driver license.
  • Renewal notice.

Replace Lost or Damaged Montana Registration

To replace your lost or damaged MT vehicle registration or plate decal, you can order a replacement through the Montana Motor Vehicle Division (MVD).

You must visit your local County Treasurer’s Office. Unfortunately, you cannot replace your registration online or by mail.

You must provide the following when requesting a duplicate MT registration card:

  • Vehicle registration or license plate number.
  • Your driver’s license.
  • Proof of car insurance.
  • $2 applicable fee for registration replacement.

The fee for a replacement registration decal or replacement license plates is $10. You’ll need to provide all of the same documents above.

Out-of-state Registration Transfers in MT

New residents must apply for a Montana vehicle title and register their vehicles within 60 days of establishing residency. You’ll need to visit your local County Treasurer’s Office and provide.

If you have any specific questions, please contact your nearest MT MVD office.

Changes to Your Montana Car Registration

To change your name, address, or vehicle color on your registration and title, you must visit your County Treasurer’s Office in person. You CANNOT update your registration documents online.

These changes can be made at the time of your registration renewal. If moving to a new county however, you must inform the MT MVD of your address change within 10 days.

If there has been a recent marriage or divorce, you must:

  • Amend your MT MVD documents to reflect your updated name changes.
  • Provide proof of name change (e.g., a marriage license, divorce decree, etc.).

There are no fees for address or name changes to vehicle registration in Montana.

NOTE: If you have a permanently registered vehicle, you do not need to change your address on your registration.

Vehicle Registration Fees in MT

In Montana, vehicle registration fees vary by vehicle type, age, and registration period.

Montana Vehicle Registration Fees

Below are the current Montana registration fees for passenger vehicles and lightweight trucks (weighing under 1 ton) over a 12-month registration period:

  • Vehicles 4 years old and under: $217.
  • Vehicles 5 years old to 10 years old: $87.
  • Vehicles over 11 years old: $28.

Any other time period should be pro-rated or multiplied accordly.

Permanent Vehicle Registration Fees

The owner of a light vehicle 11 years old or older may choose to permanently register the vehicle. You do not need to renew this registration as long as ownership is unchanged.

In Montana, the fees collected at the time of permanent registration include:

  • $87.50 vehicle registration fee.
  • $10 Montana Highway Patrol Salary and Retention Fee.
  • County taxes, such as a $9 optional state parks support, certain special plate fees and the gross vehicle weight (GVW) fees for light vehicles.
  • $5 car insurance verification fee if you want to keep your original Montana plates.

Boat Registration Fees in Montana

A one-time fee will apply for boats in Montana, if:

In Montana, the fees collected at the time of permanent registration include:

  • Under 16 feet: $65.50
  • Between 16 feet and 19 feet: $125.50
  • Longer than 19 feet: $295.50.

MT Motorcycle Fees

Permanent registration fees for motorcycles are as follows:

In Montana, the fees collected at the time of permanent registration include:

  • $61.25 for off-highway.
  • $114.50 for a combination of off-highway and street legal.

Motorhome Fees in Montana

Permanent registration fees for motorcycles are as follows:

Fees for annual registrations are as follows:

  • Less than 2 years: $282.50
  • 2 years and older, but less than 5 years: $224.25
  • 5 years and older, but less than 8 years: $132.50
  • 8 years and older: $97.50

Motorhome is older than 11 years? A permanent registration option is available for $237.50. Please note, permanent registration does NOT transfer with the motor home when there is a change of ownership.

Snowmobile Fees

Snowmobile fees are as follows:

  • Personal use is $60.50.
  • Business rental use is $40.40 for the first year and $20 for the second year.
    • After the second year, the permanent fee for rentals is $60.50.

Trailer Fees in Montana (Permanent Registration)

The permanent registration fees for trailers are as follows:

  • Vehicles under 6,000 pounds are $61.25.
  • Vehicles over 6,000 pounds are $148.25.
  • There is also a $10 plate fee and $10 highway patrol retention fee.

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Last Verified:
Oct 11, 2022