Apply for a License (Drivers 18+) in Montana

Applying for a Driver's License in Montana

To legally drive in Montana, you must hold a valid driver's license.

Whether you are a new resident, a first-time driver, or a non-U.S. citizen, the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) of the Montana Department of Justice (DOJ) requires you to complete several steps before obtaining your driver's license.

Continue reading this page to find information about how to transfer or apply for a new driver's license in Montana.

REAL ID Requirements in Montana

The Montana MVD complies with the REAL ID Act of 2005, meaning it provides first-time driver license applicants with REAL ID-compliant driver licenses. REAL ID driver’s licenses meet the federal identification requirements required for tasks such as entering federal buildings and boarding domestic commercial flights. Without a REAL ID, you'll need to bring your passport or birth certificate for such activities after October 1, 2021.

Depending on the documents you provide when you apply, you'll receive either a REAL ID or non-compliant license. For more details, visit the MVD's guide to REAL ID licensing.

New to Montana?

Just Moved?

Find all the information you need to finish your moving requirements with the DMV.

If you're a new resident of Montana and have an out-of-state driver's license, you must apply for a new Montana driver's license within 60 days of moving.

NOTE: Your out-of-state driver's license must not have been suspended or revoked.

To apply for a new driver's license, you must visit your local Montana MVD office and:

  • Surrender your out-of-state driver's license, if you have it.
  • Show proof of your identity, residency, and legal U.S. presence.
  • Pass the written permit test and driving tests.
    • Your examiner may waive these tests if you have your valid out-of-state driver's license with you.
  • Pass a vision test.
  • Have your photo taken.
  • Pay the new driver's license fee. (Differs depending on your age.)

Types of Montana Driver's Licenses

  • Class D basic driver's license (non-commercial driver's license):
    • Valid for up to 8 years  (12 years for a standard license).
    • For non-commercial vehicles weighing less than 26,000 lbs.
  • Commercial driver's license (CDL).
  • Motorcycle endorsement:
    • Allows you to operate a motorcycle or any vehicle with 2 or 3 wheels.
    • An endorsement on your class D driver's license.
  • Motorcycle learner's license:
    • Valid for 1 year.
    • A licensed driver who has a motorcycle endorsement must supervise you.

If you are under 18 years old, you must complete the Montana MVD's graduated driver licensing (GDL) program in order to obtain your driver's license. The process includes additional steps to help you become a safe and responsible driver.

For specific details, visit our Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Montana page.

For license types other than a Class D basic driver's license, visit the following guides:

New Driver's License Eligibility Requirements

To apply for a new Class D non-commercial driver's license in Montana, you must have not been deemed by a court to be:

  • Mentally incompetent.
  • An alcoholic.
  • A habitual user of illegal drugs.

If you are younger than 18 years old, the MT DOJ requires you to fulfill every requirement of its GDL program. See Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Montana for more information.

NOTE: The Montana Motor Vehicle Division will not issue you a Montana driver's license if you have received a suspension or revocation in any other state.

Getting Your Montana Learner's License

If you want to practice driving before you apply for your driver's license, you must first obtain your learner's license. Your learner's license will allow you to drive as long as a licensed driver accompanies you.

To apply, you must visit your local Montana MVD office and:

  • Show documents to prove your identity, MT residency, and authorized presence.
  • Pay the driver's license fee. (Will differ depending on your age.)

Your learner's license will be valid for 1 year.

Apply for a MT Driver's License

To apply for your first driver's license in Montana, visit your local MT driver exam station in person and:

  • Show proof of your legal U.S. presence, identity, and Montana residency.
  • Pass a written test.
  • Pass the driving test.
  • Pass a vision exam.
  • Have your photo taken.
  • Pay the driver's license fee (varies depending on your age).
Pass The Written Test On Your First Try

If you want to pass the written test the Montana DMV has an app for that. We also suggest preparing for the exam with an online practice test from our certified partner, because taking the test more than once isn't our idea of a good time.

The length of your driver's license will vary depending on your age. For more information, see the Montana MVD website.

For information on renewing your driver's license, visit our Renewing Your License in Montana page.

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