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Learner's Permits for Beginner Drivers in Montana

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Obtaining a learner's permit is generally the first step that a beginner driver takes toward becoming a fully licensed driver in Montana. There are different types of learner's licenses in Montana depending on age. You are eligible to apply for a learner's permit if you are at least 14 and ½ years old and:

  • you have never been licensed to operate a vehicle, or
  • you are a new resident of Montana who has been licensed in another state and are applying for a license within 60 days of relocation. The driving and written tests may be waived (at the discretion of the driver examiners) if you hold a valid out-of-state license.

At 14 and ½ years you may obtain a Traffic Education Learner's License (TELL) but only if you are enrolled in a state approved traffic education program. You may obtain a regular learner's license at 15 - if you have completed a state approved traffic education program - or you have to wait till you are 16 or older.


  1. Download a copy of the Montana Driver's Manual, or get a hard copy by visiting a local Driver Exam Station/mt/montana/mvd-location-hours.
  2. If you are under 18 years of age, you must obtain parental consent.
  3. Visit your local Driver Exam Station to submit the application. You must bring with you:
    • Proof of proper identification, authorized presence and Montana residency. If you have changed your name, you must bring documents that support and clearly indicate your current name.
    • Cash or check (credit cards are not accepted) to pay the appropriate fee.
  4. You will be given a written knowledge test and an eye screening at the Driver Exam Station. If you pass these tests, you will be issued a learner's permit, which is valid for one year.

When driving with a learner's permit you must be accompanied by parent/guardian or a designated licensed driver age of 18 or older. This person must sit beside you. All passengers must wear seat belts. A driver with a TELL license must be accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian.


You are eligible for a first-year restricted license if you have held the learner's license for a minimum of six months and you meet the following requirements:

  1. You have completed at least 50 hours of behind-the-wheel driving experience ten of which was at night (under direct supervision of an experienced adult driver).
  2. You have no traffic convictions or alcohol or drug related convictions in the six month period before applying for license.
  3. Provide all documents you did for the learner's permit along with the completed Graduated Driver Licensing Parent Certification Form.[ ]
  4. You pass the skill tests as well as the written and vision tests.

Once you have satisfied all these requirements you will be issued a first-year restricted license.
This license comes with the following restrictions:

  1. Restricted license holders are not permitted to drive between 11 pm and 5 am except during emergencies, when traveling to or from work, school, church activities or farm related activities.
  2. For the first six months you are permitted to carry only one unrelated passenger less than 18 years of age, unless accompanied by a licensed driver age 18 or older.
  3. For the second six months you may carry up to three unrelated passengers less than 18 years of age, unless accompanied by a licensed driver age 18 or older.
  4. Everyone in the vehicle must wear seat belts.


A full, unrestricted license may be issued when you are at least 18 years old. Restrictions on the first-year restricted license ends automatically on the date indicated on the back of the license or when the licensee turns 18, whichever occurs first. For additional information about graduated driver licensing go to Traffic Education Program/Driver Education.