Each owner of a motor vehicle operated or driven on the public highways of the state must apply in the office of the county treasurer in the county where the owner permanently resides at the time of making the application for registration or re-registration.
The application must contain: (1) the name and address of the owner, giving the county, school district, and town or city within whose corporate limits the motor vehicle is taxable, if taxable, or within whose corporate limits the owner’s residence is located if the motor vehicle is not taxable; (2) the name and address of any lienholder; (3) a description of the motor vehicle; and (4) the declared weight of all trailers operating intrastate.
The applicant must pay at the time of making the application to the county treasurer the registration fee and the motor vehicle fees in lieu of tax or registration fees imposed against the vehicle for the current year of registration and the immediately previous year.
Mobile homes, motor homes, trucks exceeding a 1-ton capacity, trailers, buses, some commercial vehicles, government vehicles, and fleet vehicles are subject to staggered registration.
Vehicles subject to staggered registration that exceed a 1-ton capacity must be re-registered annually in the month in which they were first registered.
Owners of vehicles subject to staggered registration with a capacity of 1 ton or less may register the vehicle for a period not to exceed 24 months.
Owners of vehicles subject to staggered registration that are 11 years old or older may permanently register the vehicle.
Owners of vehicles subject to staggered registration have a grace period for registration that exists between the 1st and end of the month. Motor vehicles must be registered not later than the last day of the month corresponding to the anniversary registration period.
The owner of a new or transferred vehicle has a grace period of 20 calendar days from the date of purchase to make application and pay the registration fees, fees in lieu of taxes and other fees, and local option taxes, if applicable, as if the vehicle were being registered for the first time in the registration year.
If the vehicle was not purchased from a licensed motor vehicle dealer, the purchaser may operate the vehicle on public streets and highways without a certificate of registration for 20 calendar days, provided that at all times during that period, a vehicle purchase sticker obtained from the county treasurer or a law enforcement officer, showing the date of purchase, is clearly displayed in the rear window.
Failure to apply for a certificate of registration within 20 days subjects the purchaser of a motor vehicle to a penalty of $10.
Registration fees and new number plate fees do not apply when number plates are transferred to a replacement vehicle.
Montana residents on active military duty stationed outside Montana are not subject to registration fees and fees in lieu of taxes if they file the appropriate application for the exemption with the MVD.
All registrations of motor homes expire annually on April 30. Application for registration must be made by June 15. The owner of a motor home is entitled to operate the vehicle between May 1 and June 15 without displaying a registration certificate for the current registration year, if the owner displays the plates, or plate assigned for the previous year.
The owner of a light vehicle 11 years old or older may permanently register their vehicle upon payment of a $50 fee in lieu of tax, the applicable registration and license fees, a $2 surcharge, and an amount equal to 5 times the applicable fees imposed for: (1) junk vehicle disposal; (2) weed control; (3) former county motor vehicle computer; (4) local option vehicle tax or flat fee; (5) license plates; and (6) senior and disabled persons transportation services. The permanent registration may not be transferred.
Registration for Non-Residents
All vehicles registered outside of Montana must carry in plain sight the license plates from state or country of registration.
A vehicle brought into Montana by a non-resident temporarily employed in the state and used exclusively for transportation of that person is subject to the fee to be paid in lieu of taxes. The county in which the vehicle is located imposes the fee. One-fourth of the annual fee must be paid for each quarter or portion of a quarter of the year that the vehicle is located in Montana. The quarterly fees are due the first day of the quarter.
Non-residents temporarily employed in the state must obtain a decal from the county treasurer as proof of payment of the required fees. The decal must be displayed in the lower right-hand corner of the windshield. Decals expire each year on December 31 and application for re-registration must be filed no later than February 15.
Registration must be renewed annually, and license fees must be paid annually. Except for vehicles subject to a staggered registration period, all registrations expire on December 31 of the year in which they are issued. The application for registration or re-registration must be filed with the county treasurer not later than February 15 of each year.
No statewide emissions inspection requirement.
No statewide periodic vehicle safety inspection requirement. The MVD or its agents may at any time, upon reasonable cause to believe that a vehicle is unsafe or not equipped as required by law or that its equipment is not in proper adjustment or repair, require the driver of such vehicle to stop and submit such vehicle to an inspection.
A person may not drive or permit to be driven on a highway a vehicle or combination of vehicles that is in such unsafe condition as to endanger a person.
Title and Registration Fees
Title Fee: $122.00
Registration Fee: Under 4 yrs. old $217.00; 5 – 10 yrs. old $87.00; 11+ yrs. old $28.00
Title Fee: $12.00
Registration Fee: $53.25
Plate Fee: $5.00
Registration Fee: $5.00
Driver’s License Fee: $10.00
Title Fee: n/a
Special Plates: $25.00