License Plates in Montana
Motorists must apply for Montana car registration plates as part of the initial process of titling and registering a vehicle in the state. However, applicants cannot get an MT DMV license plate until they title and register their motor vehicles with their county treasurer’s office. As such, drivers must purchase new registration plates immediately after they pay for all of the applicable taxes and fees related to titling and registering a car. Overall, this procedure is conducted by the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) under the state’s Department of Justice (DOJ).
After obtaining the initial car tags, vehicle owners must renew license plate decals every 12 or 24 months, depending on which period they opted for. If you have recently purchased a new or used vehicle and would like to learn more about how to get license plate credentials, as well as what the process is for renewing existing ones, read the following sections.
Types of License Plates in Montana
When vehicle owners apply for new registration plates in Montana, they can choose from a variety of options, including standard plates, alternate standard plates, military plates, organizational plates or personalized plates. Additional car registration plates include antique plates, veteran plates, sponsored plates, physical disability tags or amateur radio operator plates. However, most drivers wish to obtain a basic car tag, and thus generally settle for a standard license plate.
In addition to issuing MT MVD car tags, the state provides motorists with license plate decals, which must be properly displayed on a vehicle’s rear license plate. Car owners must renew license plate decals every 12 or 24 months to show that they paid all of the yearly vehicle registration taxes and fees.
Note: When motorists purchase a vehicle from a car dealership, the dealer can provide them with a temporary registration permit (TRP), which is a short-term MVD license plate. Otherwise, drivers may obtain this permit from their county treasurer’s office.
How to Apply for a License Plate in Montana
Car owners must purchase car registration tags in Montana through the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), which is managed by the state’s Department of Justice (DOJ). Specifically, drivers must get car tags in person at a county treasurer’s office. After properly registering and titling newly-acquired vehicles, the county treasurer provides car owners with new plates. If applicants request an unavailable type of MVD license plate, they will receive a 40-day temporary registration permit.
Furthermore, drivers who need to get a license plate must decide between a 12 or 24-month registration period. In some cases, car owners may be eligible to apply for a permanent registration. However, this procedure is most common for motorists whose vehicles are older than 11 years.
How to Renew License Plate Tags in Montana
Car owners must renew license plate decals once every 12 or 24 months, depending on each applicant’s vehicle registration renewal period. In many cases, drivers may do so online, through the MVD’s registration renewal service. However, vehicle owners may apply for a license plate renewal online if they can provide their vehicle’s title number, vehicle identification number (VIN) or their vehicle number. If drivers cannot apply for a car tag renewal online, they must apply in person at a county treasurer’s office or by mail. In most cases, car owners must renew Montana car tags in person if they need to request a new license plate, move to a different county or state, as well as if their address changes.
Note: When renewing license plate materials by mail, motorists must refer to the specific renewal instructions and mailing address included on the vehicle’s registration renewal notice.
How to Replace License Plates in Montana
If tags or decals sustain damages, vehicle owners must replace license plate stickers and/or tags as soon as possible. When replacing license plate credentials, drivers must apply in person at a county treasurer’s office and pay the applicable replacement fees. For drivers wondering how to replace license plate tags or stickers that were stolen from them, it is important to note that drivers must file a police report with local law enforcement before requesting a duplicate plate or tag.
In addition to replacing car tags with damages or mutilations, you must obtain new registration plates every five years. Thus, if your MT registration credentials are older than five years, you must replace them through the MVD.
How to Transfer License Plates in Montana
Instead of purchasing car registration plates in Montana after acquiring a new vehicle, drivers have the option of transferring their existing car tags from one vehicle to another. To do so, car owners must transfer their old MVD car tags to their new vehicle while registering the new vehicle with their county treasurer.
On the other hand, if you do not transfer your existing car registration tags to a newly-acquired vehicle, you must remove your license plates before selling or disposing of the old vehicle.
Montana License Plate Fees
The fees for MT car registration plates vary depending on the vehicle’s lifespan and the length of its registration renewal period. For instance, MVD car tag fees for vehicles of up to four years require a higher base registration fee in comparison to vehicles between five and 10 years. In the case of vehicles that are older than 11 years, the base registration rate is even lower.
Furthermore, there are additional MVD car registration fees that are charged in Montana, which vary depending on the type of license plate and county taxes and fees. Overall, these general fees for car registration tags include plate or decal replacements and renewals.
License Plate Lookups in Montana
Vehicle owners may complete an online car registration tag lookup to learn more about the vehicle they are planning to purchase. When drivers perform a Montana MVD car tag lookup, they can learn more about the vehicle’s past performance, including any safety recalls or traffic collisions the car has been associated with. Moreover, a license plate lookup provides motorists with information about a vehicle’s previous owners, manufacturer, type of engine and more.