License Renewal in Montana
COVID-19 Effects on Licensing Services
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state DMVs nationwide have closed driver licensing offices, extended license and registration expiration dates, and/or limited the transactions they are processing. If possible, residents should use the MVD's online services to complete any relevant transactions. Follow the DOJ's most recent updates for the latest information.
Notice for Military Members Stationed in Germany
If you are currently stationed in Germany, please be aware that some states require you to have a valid U.S. driver's license in addition to your USAREUR license. Read our article for more information.
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 renew, you'll receive either a REAL ID or non-compliant license. For more details, visit the MVD's guide to REAL ID licensing.
Determine the Status of Your License
You must have a valid driver's license in order to legally drive in the state. So, you'll need to watch for when your license expires. You may renew your license up to 6 months before its expiration date.
You'll need to carry auto liability insurance, too. If you're looking for a provider, or want to get some quotes from some new providers, visit our Insurance Center.
Class D (standard) driver's licenses expire at varying intervals and the renewals are valid for different lengths, all depending on your age. Check out the DOJ's license renewal page for renewal periods specific to your age.
You can renew your license :
- In person (all drivers).
- By mail (only drivers who live in Carter, Garfield, Golden Valley, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Madison, Petroleum, Prairie, Treasure, or Wibaux counties, OR are temporarily out of state).
- At AAA office in Bozeman, Kalispell and Missoula.*
*NOTE: You will pay an additional fee for renewing at a AAA office.
You can always verify your license status by obtaining a copy of your driver record.
Commercial drivers should turn to our Renewing Your CDL page for information about their situation.
While it's illegal to drive if you're license has expired, you have 3 months after the expiration date to renew without having to repeat the licensing process, although you will face stiff fines if you get ticketed. If your license does expire, you should simply follow the same renewal procedures as those with unexpired licenses. Should you need to confirm your license status, you may purchase a copy of your driver record.
Suspended license issues can be complex and challenging to understand. If you want to verify your license status, you may always buy a copy of your driver record. It is likely that your insurance rates will rise, too, so you might want to check through our Insurance Center to look for the most affordable rates available.
See our Suspended License page to learn how to reinstate a suspended license, as well as the costs involved.
See our Replacing a Lost License page to find out how to obtain a duplicate license.
Check Your Renewal Notice
Before your license expires, you should receive a renewal reminder notice in the mail sent by the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). This is only a courtesy notice, though, and you don't need to have it when renewing by mail or in person.
Renew Your MT Driver's License
Depending on where you live, you may be able to renew your Montana driver's license:
- In person.
- By mail.
Renew in Person
No matter where you live in the Big Sky State, you may renew in person at a driver exam station by:
- Bringing your license or other proof of identity.
- If you're upgrading to a REAL ID upon renewal, make sure you bring all required identity and residency documents.
- Taking a vision test if required.
- Paying the appropriate fee by cash, check or credit card.
If your name has changed since last time, bring acceptable proof of the change with you.
If you're renewing at a limited service exam station, you must pay your fee first at your county treasurer's office. Then, take the fee receipt with you to the exam station.
All drivers who renew in person will be granted a temporary license. Your new license should arrive in the mail within 4 weeks. If it doesn't, you can check the status of your driver's license renewal by contacting the MT MVD.
Renew by Mail
You may renew by mail if you are a resident of Montana who is temporarily living outside of MT AND who will not return to MT before their driver's license will expire.OR
If you live in Carter, Garfield, Golden Valley, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Madison, Petroleum, Prairie, Treasure, or Wibaux counties. However, your next renewal MUST be completed in person.
To renew by mail, follow the instructions provided by the MVD.
If you’re interested in renewing your Montana driver’s license or commercial driver’s license (CDL) online, there are a few conditions you need to meet. To qualify, you:
- Must be a U.S. citizen.
- Need to have a valid MT driver’s license that hasn’t been suspended or revoked in any state.
- Should have renewed previously in person, NOT online or by mail.
- Don’t have a hazardous materials endorsement, if you are renewing a CDL.
- Cannot be upgrading to a REAL ID-compliant license. This must be done in person the first time.
There are additional conditions required to renew your license online pertaining to age and the dates that your license was issued. Check with the Montana MVD for more details.
So far, so good? Begin the online renewal process over at Montana’s driver license renewal service and choose whether you want to renew a regular driver’s license or a CDL. After you provide some basic information such as your name, address, and driver’s license number, the system will tell you whether you’re eligible to renew online.
- Photocopies of 2 documents proving acceptable identification.
- Eye Evaluation (Form 22-1801).
- Driver Medical Evaluation (Form 20-1900).
After you upload the documents, it’s time to pay the applicable renewal fees using a major credit card. The payment summary page includes the additional charges the state uses to fund the official web portal.
Once you submit payment, you’ll see a transaction summary. Montana recommends printing this page for your records; you’ll also receive a copy at the email address you provided.
MT Members of the Military
If you're an active member of the military stationed out of state, you can apply for a military exemption that will keep your license valid until 90 days after you're discharged from the service. This exemption will be printed on your driver's license.
- Complete a Military Exempt Status Driver License by Mail application (Form 24-1303).
- Gather copies of your:
- MT driver's license, passport, OR birth certificate.
- Military orders OR Leave and Earnings statement.
- MT driver's license, passport, OR birth certificate.
Send the above to:
Montana Department of Justice
Motor Vehicle Division
Attn: Mail-In DL
P.O. Box 201430
Helena, MT 59620
Note that your dependents are not eligible for this exemption, but they CAN complete up to 2 renewals by mail.
If you're temporarily living away from the state, you may renew by mail - but you must conduct your next renewal in person.
Update Your Driving Skills
Laws and the prevailing wisdom of how to be a safe driver might have changed since you last renewed your license, so enrolling in a traffic school course might be worth your while. A plus can be that taking a traffic school course may even reduce your insurance premiums. Visit our Insurance Center to see which providers will offer that discount.