Apply for a License (Under 18) in Montana

Teen Drivers in Montana

If you're a teenager applying for your first driver's license, you'll need to satisfy the graduated driver licensing (GDL) requirements of the Montana Department of Justice (DOJ) Motor Vehicle Division (MVD).

The Montana GDL program will help you to develop your skills as a new driver and eventually ace your DMV driving test.

On this page, you'll find information about the MT MVD GDL program and your next steps towards your new driver's license.

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?

If you've recently moved to Montana, you must transfer your out-of-state driver's license within 60 days.

You will need to visit your local MT MVD office and:

  • Provide proof of your identity, MT residency, and U.S. legal presence.
  • Pass the written knowledge and road test, if required.
  • Pass the vision test.

Montana GDL Program Stages

If you're younger than 18 years old, you'll need to complete the following GDL phases:

  • Learner's permit.
  • Restricted/provisional driver's license.
  • Unrestricted driver's license.

Before applying for a Montana driver's license you should obtain a Montana Driver License Manual. This will provide you with every rule and regulation that you will need to know for passing your driving tests (written and skills exams).

Age Requirements

The minimum ages to begin each step of the MT DMV GDL program are as follows:

  • Learner's permit:
  • Provisional license: After holding a learner's permit for at least 6 months.
  • Full driver's license: After holding a provisional driver's license for 1 year or when you turn 18 years old, whichever comes first.

How to Get a Montana Learner's Permit

The first step in the GDL program is to apply for your learner’s license. You are eligible when you are at least:

  • 14 1/2 years old and enrolled in a state-approved Driver's Ed course. Online courses ARE NOT accepted. Please see our Driver's Ed page for more information.
  • 16 years old.

To apply, visit your local Montana MVD office with your parent/legal guardian and:

  • Pass the DMV written test.
  • Meet the Montana DMV medical/vision requirements.
  • Provide proof of your identity, residency and legal presence.
  • Be prepared to pay the driver licensing fee.
Pass the Written Test on Your First Try

To help you prepare for the written test, the DMV has an app for that. We also suggest preparing for the exam with an online practice test from our certified partner. They are designed to help you pass on your first attempt.

Learner's Permit Restrictions & Next Steps

With your learner's permit, you can drive only when supervised by a:

Before moving on to the next steps of the Montana MVD GDL program, you'll need to:

  • Complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving, with 10 hours completed at night.
  • Have no traffic violations or alcohol/drug-related offenses for 6 months prior to applying for your provisional driver's license.
  • Hold your learner's permit for at least 6 months.

How to Get a Provisional Driver's License

You are eligible for your first-year restricted license/provisional license after you:

  • Have held your learner's permit for at least 6 months.
  • Have had no traffic violations or alcohol/drug offenses in that past 6 months.
  • Have completed at least 50 hours of supervised driving experience, with 10 hours completed at night.

To apply for your provisional driver's license, you'll need to visit the MT DMV office and:

Provisional License Restrictions and Next Steps

While you hold your provisional driver's license, you can ONLY:

  • Drive unsupervised between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m only, unless for:
    • Work.
    • Emergencies.
    • Church.
    • Parent-authorized reasons.
  • Have only 1 passenger (non-family member) younger than 18 years old for the first 6 months, unless you are supervised by a licensed driver who is at least 18 years old.
  • Have up to 3 passengers (non-family member) younger than 18 years old for the next 6 months, unless you are supervised by a licensed adult who is at least 18 years old.

Your provisional driver's license will automatically convert to a full, unrestricted driver's license when you are at least 18 years old OR once you have held your provisional license for at least 1 year.

How to Get a Montana Unrestricted Driver's License

Your provisional driver's license restrictions will be lifted after:

  • You have held your provisional driver's license for at least 1 year.
  • You are at least 18 years old.

With your unrestricted driver's license, you'll be able to apply all of the safe and defensive driving habits you will have developed during each phase of the Montana DMV GDL program.

Our driver's license checklist allows you to keep track of your major steps towards your driver's license and share them with your friends.


Graduated Driver Licensing Parent/Legal Guardian Certification
The legal guardian of a minor applying for a MT driver's license must sign this form certifying the minor has completed the requirements necessary to upgrade their instruction permit, traffic education permit, or traffic education learner license
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