Frequently Asked Questions

Are there times I won’t be allowed to renew registration?
When you begin the process of renewing vehicle registration in Montana, you will need to prepare the required documentation, which proves ownership, and insurance of the vehicle. Additionally, you will need to follow the instructions given on the registration renewal notice.

However, you might find yourself in a situation when your already registered vehicle will not meet the requirements for renewing vehicle registration. For additional details concerning your situation, visit in person a local DMV office.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Montana

Can somebody else renew my registration for me?
Yes, anybody can renew vehicle registration for you only if you are eligible to renew online or by mail and provided they have all the necessary information. The vehicle registration renewal notice sent to you by the Montana DMV should arrive in the mail several weeks prior to your expiration date, and you should only follow the instructions on it in order to get your vehicle registration renewed. Car registration renewals done in person require your personal presence at a local Montana DMV office.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Montana

Do boats need to be registered?
Montana residents who own boats must have them permanently registered through the Titling and Registration Bureau of the Montana DMV. You have the options to register your boat in person or by mail to the following address:

Title And Registration Bureau

1003 Buckskin Drive, Deer Lodge, MT 59722-2375

Either way you must provide a completed boat registration application and proof of ownership (bill of sale, bill of lading, certificate of origin, out-of-state title or previous title and registration), along with the required payment for the registration, which varies according to the length of the boat:

  • Under 16 feet: $65.50
  • From 16 and 19 feet: $125.50
  • 19 feet and longer: $295.50

For more information: How to Register a Boat or Water Craft in Montana

Do I need to file a police report if my registration was lost or stolen?
When your registration is stolen or lost and you plan to request a car registration replacement from the Montana DMV, you might also want to file a police report at your local law enforcement agency. It is recommended that you file a police report in order to protect yourself from fraud, identity theft or illegal usage of the car registration. If you file a police report on time, you will avoid unnecessary problems with the police if pulled over or in the case of an accident while waiting for the car registration replacement.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Montana

Do I need to return my license plate if I move out of the state?
If you are a Montana resident who plans to move out of the state, you do not need to return your license plates. In fact, you may use them until the day when your annual vehicle registration will have to be renewed. Do not forget to update your address at the DMV of the state where you are planning to move within 10 days. In case your vehicle is permanently registered, you will not have to take any registration action.

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Montana

Do I need to turn in my damaged registration?
Yes, if you are a Montana resident and your car registration has been damaged, you need to turn it in when applying for a car registration replacement at a local Montana DMV office. You also need to complete an application for duplicate car registration, pay a duplicate vehicle registration fee and provide a license plate number or title as proof of ownership.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Montana

Does a motorized scooter need to be registered?
In Montana, a motorized scooter must be permanently titled and registered in the same way as registering motorcycles. In order to register your motorized scooter, you need to complete a title application and prepare yourself for the payment of the following fees:

  • Permanent registration fee:
    • Street-legal fee: $53.25
    • Off-highway legal fee: $61.25
    • Street and off-highway legal fee: $114.50
  • Motorcycle safety fee: $16
  • Montana Highway Patrol Salary and Retention fee: $5
  • Plate manufacturing fee: $10

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Montana

Does my vehicle qualify for a smog inspection?
If you are a Montana resident registering your motor vehicle and wondering whether you should take your vehicle to a smog inspection, you must know that the state of Montana does not require a vehicle emissions test. This kind of test is not required for initial registrations or for annual auto registration renewals. However, Montana has certain Air Quality Program Laws and Rules for lowering the level of emissions brought by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.

For more information: Vehicle Emissions Testing in Montana

How can I renew my vehicle registration?
Residents of Montana interested in how to renew car registration, can apply for car registration renewal online, in person, or by mail.

First, the Montana DMV will send you a registration renewal notice several weeks before the expiration date of your car registration. Once you receive the registration renewal notice, you can begin the process of renewing car registration. No matter whether you are planning to apply online, in person or by mail, you should prepare the following documents:

  • Vehicle registration renewal notice
  • Title number, vehicle identification number (VIN) or vehicle number
  • Montana drivers license (only when applying in person)
  • Payment for the required renewal fee

The Montana DMV will mail you the renewed car registration documents if you have applied online or by mail. In the case of applying in person, you will immediately receive the renewed vehicle registration.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Montana

How can I transfer my registration to another state?
Montana residents with a vehicle registration within the state who want to move to another state, need to transfer their vehicle registration and title to the new state. Each state has its own vehicle registration regulations, so the requirements in Montana may be different in other state. You should contact the DMV of the state where you are planning to move in order to get familiar with their vehicle regulations.
How do I apply for a disabled person parking placard or plates?
In Montana, you can apply for a disabled person parking placard or plates by email, fax or mail. You will need to prepare the following documentation:

Once you have prepared the documents and paid the required fee, send the full documentation to the Montana DMV, using one of the following methods:

  • Email: mtdriverhistory@mt.gov
  • Fax: 406-444-3816
  • Mail:

Motor Vehicle Division

302 N. Roberts, Third Floor, Scott Hart Bldg

P.O. Box 201430, Helena, MT 59620-1430

For more information: Information for Disabled Drivers in Montana

How do I file a police report if my car registration was stolen?
If you are a Montana resident with a stolen car registration, you need to request not only a car registration replacement from the Montana DMV, but also you should file a police report in order to protect yourself from fraud, identity theft, or illegal usage of the car registration. You can file a police report by visiting your local law enforcement agency and reporting that you are dealing with a stolen car registration.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Montana

How do I obtain a duplicate car registration?
If you are a Montana resident and your car registration has been lost, stolen, or damaged, you can apply for a car registration replacement in person at a local Montana DMV office. In order to obtain a duplicate car registration, you need to complete an application for duplicate car registration, pay a duplicate registration fee and provide a license plate number or title as proof of ownership. In the event that your current car registration card has been damaged, you should attach the damaged card to the application.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Montana

How do I obtain car registration?
Montana residents who are getting car registration for the first time, must show up in person at a local Montana DMV office. Prior to the car registration process, Montana requires an inspection of the motor vehicle and proof of insurance documentation.

Once the vehicle has been insured and inspected, be prepared to complete a vehicle registration application at a local Montana DMV office, where you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Proof of insurance
  • Proof of the vehicle’s title
  • Payment for the car registration fee

Your vehicle registration process may vary according to whether you are a new, permanent or temporary Montana resident.

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Montana

If I do not renew on time, will there be an additional fee?
In Montana, you should renew vehicle registration by the end of the expiration date on your registration documents. You will receive a registration renewal notice via mail, which will remind you that you should begin collecting the needed documentation for a vehicle registration renewal.

Residents who have not received a vehicle registration renewal notice may apply in person at a local Montana DMV office. If you fail to renew vehicle registration on time, you can get a ticket when pulled over by a police officer or maybe even you will have to pay a late fee when found with an expired registration. For additional details contact the Montana DMV.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Montana

Is there a different process I must follow if I lost personalized plates?
Residents of Montana who have damaged, stolen, or lost vehicle registration and lost personalized license plates should follow the same process for replacing vehicle registration. When you decide to apply for a vehicle registration replacement, you will need to prepare the whole documentation as for a regular replacement of license plates. The only thing different is the fee that you will have to pay, since there are additional fees for special, sponsored or personalized license plates. For additional information, contact the Title and Registration Bureau at 406-444-3661.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Montana

Should I carry the registration on me or in the car?
Montana residents who are getting car registration might wonder where they should keep the vehicle registration documentation. Since Montana does not have any specific requirements on this question, you are advised to keep the registration documentation either with you, or somewhere secure in your vehicle.

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Montana

What are the most common reasons why I would need to replace my registration?
The most common reason for vehicle registration replacement is losing the car registration certificate. Moreover, some Montana residents might have had their registration stolen and as a result have been subject to identity theft. If your vehicle registration has been stolen, you should immediately file a police report to your local law enforcement agency or police department. Having filed a report, you can visit a local Montana DMV office to submit an application for a duplicate vehicle registration.
What are the required fees for my vehicle registration?
Montana has different vehicle registration fees based on the vehicle type, age, size, value and registration time period. The required fees for an annual light vehicle registration (passenger cars, pickup trucks one-ton and under, vans and sport utility vehicles) are the following:

  • Vehicles from zero to four years: $217
  • Vehicles from five to 10 years: $87
  • Vehicles of 11 years or more: $28

The vehicles in Montana can have a permanent vehicle registration if they are over 11 years old. Once you have your vehicle registered permanently, you will never have to renew your registration. The required fees for a permanent vehicle registration are the following:

  • Registration rate: $87.50
  • Montana Highway Patrol Salary and Retention fee: $5
  • Fees for:
    • County tax
    • Optional state parks support: $6
    • Special plates
    • Gross vehicle weight (for light trucks)
  • Insurance verification fee: $5

If your vehicle has special license plates that require annual renewal, you will not be able to obtain a permanent vehicle registration.

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Montana

What are the required fees to get replacement registration?
In Montana, the car registration replacement requires payment of a required fee, which varies according to the replacement you need:

  • Replacement license plate (same number and type of plate): $15
  • Replacement license plate (new plate number): $10
  • Replacement decal: $1

Remember that the fees for special or sponsored plates might vary.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Montana

What are the required fees to renew my registration?
In Montana, the required fees for an annual light vehicle registration renewal (passenger cars, pickup trucks one-ton and under, vans and sport utility vehicles) are the following:

  • Vehicles from zero to four years old: $217
  • Vehicles from five to 10 years old: $87
  • Vehicles of 11 years old or more: $28

The vehicles that are over 11 years old in Montana can have a permanent vehicle registration, which will not have to be renewed ever again. Moreover, have in mind that if your vehicle has special license plates that require annual renewal, you will not be able to obtain a permanent vehicle registration. The required fees for a permanent light vehicle registration are the following:

  • Registration rate: $87.50
  • Montana Highway Patrol Salary and Retention fee: $5
  • Fees for:
    • County tax
    • Optional state parks support: $6
    • Special plates
    • Gross vehicle weight (for light trucks)
  • Insurance verification fee: $5

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Montana

What documents do I need to present to get a replacement car registration?
Montana residents whose vehicle registration card is lost, stolen, or damaged, need to go through the process of replacing car registration at a local Montana DMV office, providing the following documentation:

  • Application for duplicate car registration
  • Proof of ownership:
    • License plate number
    • Car title
  • Payment for a duplicate registration fee
  • The damaged registration card, in case it was damaged

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Montana

What documents do I need to present to get new registration?
Residents of Montana who want to get car registration, need to submit a completed vehicle registration application and payment of the required registration fee no matter whether they are new, permanent or temporary Montana residents. You need to bring the registration application and payment in person to a local Montana DMV office, along with the following documents:

  • Proof of insurance
  • Proof of the vehicle’s title
  • Registration certificate from the former state (if you are a new Montana resident) or the vehicle’s current registration certificate (if you are a temporary Montana resident)
  • Payment for the county option tax, for titling fees and for the license plate fees, if any of these is required

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Montana

What documents do I need to present to renew my car registration?
Montana residents with expiring car registration can renew car registration online, in person or by mail, upon receiving a registration renewal notice. You should prepare the following documentation:

  • Vehicle registration renewal notice
  • Title number, VIN or vehicle number
  • Montana driver’s license
  • Payment for the required fee

Once you have successfully applied, the Montana DMV will mail you the renewed car registration documents.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Montana

What should I do if I have not received my registration tags or stickers?
Montana residents who need to renew expired vehicle registration can do that in person, online or by mail. When you apply for a vehicle registration renewal online or by mail, you should follow the instructions given on the registration renewal notice. If you have not received a renewal notice or new car registration tags or stickers, you should visit a local Montana DMV office in order to solve the problem as soon as possible, since you are not permitted to operate a motor vehicle without a valid registration or tags and stickers.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Montana

When does my car registration expire?
Montana offers you different time periods for vehicle registration out of which you can choose the one that is the best for you. There are several types of vehicle registration, including:

  • 12-month vehicle registration
  • 24-month vehicle registration
  • Permanent vehicle registration

According to this, your car registration expires either after one year or after two years. There is also a permanent vehicle registration, which does not expire and does not require a vehicle registration renewal.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Montana

Where can I find a local tax county collector office?
Residents of Montana who have had to deal with a lost, damaged, or stolen vehicle registration can always begin the process of replacing vehicle registration in person at a local Montana DMV office. Upon visiting the DMV, you should fill out an application, provide documents for insurance and pay a duplicate vehicle registration fee. Montana DMV offices are located throughout the state, so you can choose to visit the DMV closest to you and located in your county.
Will I need to fill out an application to replace my car registration?
Yes, when you apply for a car registration replacement in Montana, you need to fill out an application for duplicate car registration. Apart from the application, you will need to provide proof of ownership, payment for the duplicate registration fee, and your current registration card, in case it has been damaged.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Montana

Will I receive a renewal registration notice in the mail?
If you are a Montana resident and you approach the expiration date on your vehicle registration, you should expect the Montana DMV to send you a registration renewal notice in the mail. This notice should arrive several weeks before the expiration date on your registration documents and you will have to begin the process of renewing car registration.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Montana

Will my registration expire on my birthday or birth month?
Montana residents who want to renew vehicle registration need to watch out for the expiration date written on their vehicle registration documentation, since the registration will not expire on the operator’s birthday, but on the date of expiration.

Most vehicles in Montana need to be registered annually, but there are also options of a 24-month vehicle registration and a permanent vehicle registration. Several weeks prior to the expiration date, you should receive a registration renewal notice reminding you that you should start preparing the needed documentation for a vehicle registration renewal. You can apply for a vehicle registration renewal online, in person or by mail.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Montana