How to Get a New Car Title in Montana
A Montana car title is the legal document used to establish ownership of a vehicle. Any time a vehicle changes ownership, the new owner must obtain a new car title immediately after purchase. This is true whether getting a used car title or one for a vehicle purchased new. Drivers must apply for an MT vehicle title in person and pay the appropriate fees to obtain the new car title certificate.
Car registration happens at the same time as titling, and is good for one year from the date of registration. Continue reading the sections below to learn more about getting car title documents in Montana and how a certificate of title differs from a vehicle registration certificate.
Where to Apply for a Car Title in Montana
A Montana title certificate, or pink slip, can be applied for at your county of residence’s county treasurer office. These full-service motor vehicle offices issue MT vehicle titles, vehicle identification number (VIN) inspections and other vehicle-related matters and are conveniently located near each county seat. You must get car title documents in person, but you may go online to schedule appointments ahead of time at the Montana MVD.
Car title appointments can also be scheduled by calling the toll-free number provided below. The MVD recommends filing your auto title application at your county treasurer’s office on Wednesdays or Thursdays, as those are generally lower-volume days.
The Montana Auto Title Application
If you are wondering how to get car title documentation in Montana, the process begins with filling out Form MV1, Application for Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle. DMV car title applicants may print the form online and fill it out prior to going to the county treasurer’s office or obtain one at the appointment. The form requires certain information about the car owner and the vehicle, including current address, VIN, odometer reading and lien information.
If you already have an MT vehicle title, car registration or driver’s license, you will use your customer identification number to add a certificate of car title to your MERLIN account. MERLIN is the Montana Enhanced Registration and Licensing Information Network created to streamline motor vehicle title and registration services. Most drivers create a MERLIN account when applying for their first MT driver’s license, but new residents or non-drivers getting vehicle titles will need to create a MERLIN account using a state ID number or tribal identification card number.
In some cases, while getting a title for car ownership, the MVD representative may ask you or another person named on the title to complete a Statement of Fact (Form MV100). The MVD uses this form to collect additional information to verify facts or claims about the title application.
Documents You Must Provide When Applying for a New Car Title in Montana
In addition to completing the car title application, you should bring your valid Montana driver license, proof of insurance and a form of payment. If applying for a used car title, bring the current Montana certificate of car title.
All persons named on the pink slip certificate must sign off on it and have their signatures notarized. Moreover, all county treasurer’s offices accept check and cash payments, while some also accept certain credit or debit cards.
What is a Montana car registration?
Montana car registration is a document provided by the Title and Registration Bureau of the Montana Department of Justice (DOJ) after a vehicle obtains an MT car title and is deemed safe to drive on the state roadways. Usually, a vehicle’s first car registration is obtained simultaneously with the initial car title because the same document, Form MV1, takes care of both processes.
Most owners of light passenger vehicles will apply for a one-year vehicle registration. Some drivers will be eligible for a two-year auto registration, while others can obtain a permanent DMV car registration after meeting certain requirements. Drivers are responsible for renewing motor vehicle registration at the intervals determined by the initial registration type.
What is the difference between a car title and a vehicle registration in Montana?
There are several differences between a car title and a new car registration in Montana. Primarily, a car title is issued only when a driver takes ownership of a vehicle, while a car registration has to be renewed on a regular basis. The length of time between a new vehicle registration and a registration renewal will vary according to the type of registration originally issued.
The car title provides proof of ownership and should be safely stored at home or at a safe deposit box. A vehicle registration provides proof that a vehicle has met the Montana standards for roadworthiness.
According to state law, not only must Montana drivers get car registration documentation, they must keep a copy of the registration receipt inside the vehicle at all times. A law enforcement officer can request to see the car registration document at any time, and can issue a citation if it is not inside the vehicle.
Car Title Costs in Montana
The cost of a standard vehicle title in Montana is $10.30. If you decide to purchase a security interest, you will need to pay an $8.24 fee on top of the titling fee.
Note: DMV forms change regularly. The forms provided above are current based on the date of writing.
- Title Manual from DOJMT.gov
- Titling: General Information from DOJMT.gov