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Applying for Special Plates in Montana

SUMMARY: Apply for a Montana Specialty License Plate

You can apply for specialty plates in Montana by meeting certain eligibility requirements and paying any applicable fees. A number of military plates are also available for military members, veterans, or surviving spouses. You can also renew your plates easily by following the same steps as you took to apply. If you lose your plate or it gets stolen, you'll simply pay a minimal fee for duplicates. Fees vary based on plate type.

In Montana, drivers can choose from a large selection of specialty plates. Continue reading to learn how to apply for, renew, and replace custom plates.

Applying for Specialty Plates in Montana

The Montana Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) allows drivers to choose from a variety of specialty plates and also to personalize standard or specialty plates.

You'll apply for your custom plates when you register your vehicle. You'll submit:

Certain plate types have specific eligibility and documentation requirements. Continue reading to find your plate type and the process for your plate.

NOTE: If your desired plates aren't available when you register, you'll get a temporary permit valid for 40 days to use while you wait.

Personalized Plates

You can personalize any type of Montana specialty plate by:

The MVD recommends submitting 3 choices for your personalized messages in case one or more is not available.

Sponsored Plates

Sponsored license plates are those that are sponsored by a specific organization. They typically require a donation at application and renewal.

Plates with No Eligibility Requirements

Most sponsored plates have no eligibility requirements. For those that don't, simply submit the required fees and donations when you register your vehicle.

Plates with Eligibility Requirements

For plates that have certain eligibility requirements, such as the Montana State Fire Chiefs' Association plate, you'll need to do the following to apply and renew:

  • Request an application form from the organization.
  • Complete the form and mail it to the organization.
    • When the form has been approved and sent back, take or mail it to your county treasurer's office (with renewal form if renewing).
  • Pay all applicable fees.

NOTE: In order to have a sponsored plate, you MUST renew your registration annually unless your car is at least 11 years old and eligible to be permanently registered.

Antique Plates

You can order an antique plate ONLY if your vehicle is:

  • At least 30 years old.
  • Used only as collector's item.

Vintage and Pioneer Plates

To apply for one of these plates:

  • Make sure your vehicle is titled in your name.
  • Ensure your vehicle meets the eligibility requirements:
    • Vintage: At least 30 years old and manufactured in 1934 or later.
      • Snowmobiles must be at least 25 years old.
    • Pioneer: Manufactured in 1933 or earlier.
  • Complete an Application for Registration of a Vintage or Pioneer Vehicle (Form MV3).
  • Mail or present application and any specialty plate fees to the Title and Registration Bureau at:
    302 N Roberts
    Helena, MT 59620

Original Montana Plates

In order to acquire original MT license plates (those issued in the same year of vehicle manufacture), your vehicle must be:

  • At least 25 years old, if used for general driving purposes.
  • At least 30 years old, if used only as a collector's item.

To apply for an original plate:

NOTE: Original MT plates are NOT manufactured; you must obtain plates that already exist. Vehicles used as collector's items must have a set of 2 plates.

Disability Plates

Disability plates are available in MT for those who have permanent disabilities.

To apply, you must:

To learn more, visit our MT Disability Plates and Placards page.

Montana Military Plates

Those eligible for Montana military plates include:

  • Active member of the military or veteran.
  • An eligible veteran's surviving spouse (if not remarried).

If you are an active duty military member, you can request special plates that correspond to your branch (i.e. regular armed forces, National Guard, reserve); however, you must surrender your plates if/when you become ineligible.

Applying for Military Plates

To apply for military plates:

  • Obtain one of the following from your unit commander and submit it in person to your county treasurer's office:
    • Department of Defense form (Form DD-214).
    • Proof of other-than-dishonorable discharge.
    • Reenlistment documents.
    • Documents showing your status in the military.*
  • Pay all applicable fees.

Certain documents and eligibility requirements apply to specific types of military plates (see below).

* The veteran status on your driver's license or ID card is NOT considered proof of eligibility.

Gold Star

Drivers with family members who have died during service with the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible for Gold Star Label Buttons. To apply, you'll need:

Fee Waivers

Registration fees may be waived for those who qualify for disabled veteran plates (see above) OR who were a prisoner of war.

Waivers for Surviving Spouses

Surviving spouses are eligible for fee waivers IF they are not remarried AND their deceased spouse:

  • Qualified for a disabled veteran plate (see above).
  • Was killed during active duty.
  • Died as a result of a service-related disability/injury.

In order to get the waiver, you must submit an official letter from:

  • The Department of Veteran's Affairs.
    OR
  • The U.S. Department of Defense (if spouse was killed during active duty).

Renewing Specialty Plates in Montana

To renew your specialty plate, you'll typically take the same steps when you renew your registration as you did when you initially purchased your plates and pay the renewal fee. For questions, contact your local county treasurer's office.

Note that you MUST renew your plates annually if you have sponsored plates UNLESS your car is at least 11 years old and eligible for permanent vehicle registration.

NOTE: Any donation fees required upon initial application are typically required at renewal. See your plate type for details.

To learn more, visit our guide to Registration Renewal in Montana.

Replacing Specialty Plates

The process to replace custom plates in Montana will be the same as to replace a standard plate:

Fees for MT Specialty Plates

Application Fees

Fees for specialty plates in Montana vary by plate but generally apply as follows:

  • Personalized plates: $25.
    • If personalizing a specialty plate, additional fees may apply (e.g., donations for sponsored plates).
  • Sponsored plates: Require a donation that will vary depending on which sponsored plate you choose. Check your plate type for the donation amount.
  • Disability plates: Free.
  • Military plates (application and renewal): $10.
  • Other plates: Fees vary. Find and click on your plate to find your fee.
  • Administrative cost: $10.
  • Production cost: $10.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Not all of the above fees apply to all plates. For example, certain plates have no administrative fee. Always check your plate BEFORE applying. Also, plate fees are separate from any registration fees.

Renewal Fees

  • Personalized plates: $10.
  • Military plates: $10.
  • Sponsored plates: Fees generally match initial donation amount. Check your plate.
  • Disability plates: Free.
  • Other plates: Check your plate to find your fee.

Replacement Fees

  • Duplicate plate with a new number: $10.
  • Duplicate plate with current number: $15.

For any questions about fees, contact your local county treasurer's office.

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