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Montana License Plate Search

All vehicles in the state of Montana must be registered with the Motor Vehicle Division.

When you register your vehicle you can choose from a Standard Plate, Specialty Plate, Personalized Plate, or Disability Plate (if eligible).

Sample Montana License Plate

How to Apply for License Plates in Montana

All residents and out-of-state workers living in the Montana must register their vehicles at the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD).

When you go to a MVD office, you’ll require the following:

  • Certificate of vehicle’s title
  • Valid ID (i.e. driver’s license)
  • Proof of insurance
  • Registration documents
  • Payment of fees:
    • Plate fees (for specialty or personalized plates)
    • Registration fees
    • Taxes, service fees, etc.
    • Titling fees (if applicable)

Registering License Plates in Montana

When you submit your application at the MVD, you have the option to register your vehicle for the following durations:

  • Quarterly Registration: For non-residents and out-of-state workers in Montana.
  • Permanent Registration: This is only available for vehicles 11 years and older. You will never have to renew the vehicle’s registration unless it is sold.
  • 12-month Registration: Valid for the duration of 12 months and requires payment of all fees including taxes.
  • 24-month Registration: Valid for the duration of 24 months and requires payment of all fees including taxes.

Types of License Plates in Montana

The MVD provides you a standard, state license plate. The style of the license plate changes every 5 years.

Alternatively, you can choose from a variety of specialty license plates associated with local organizations, charities, and occupations.

Most plates can be personalized with a custom plate number as long as the state’s guidelines are followed.

Speciality License Plates from Montana

The state of Montana offers a variety of license plates from sponsored organizations. The following is a few examples of the plates you can get for your vehicle:

  • Arts Organizational License Plates, for example:
    • Montana Association of Symphony Orchestras
  • Farming License Plates, for example:
    • Montana Logging Association
  • Local Government License Plates, for example:
    • Billings City Council
  • Community Organizational License Plates, for example:
    • Bky Sky Economy Development
  • Landmarks & Museum License Plates, for example:
    • Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame
  • Public Parks License Plates, for example:
    • Montana Wilderness Association
  • Local Sports License Plates, for example:
    • Missoula Area Youth Hockey Association
  • Local Services, for example:
    • Crimestoppers
  • Animals and Wildlife, for example:
    • Montana Audubon
  • Military License Plates, for example:
    • Ex-Prisoner of War
  • Youth Organizations, for example:
    • Montana 4-H Foundation

Note: Specialty plates have fees in addition to the standard plate registration fees. For example, some sponsored plates require a donation, administration fee, and a plate production fee. Contact a MVD office for more details on speciality plates.

Personalized License Plates in Montana

Personalized plates allow you to add your own custom plate number. The following guidelines must be met before your application is approved:

  1. Must use at least 2 letters (maximum varies by plate type)
  2. Cannot use the letter O
  3. No profanity or indecent suggestions
  4. Payment of application fee: $25

The decision to process your personalized plate is made by the MVD. You’ll be required to explain the meaning behind your license plates.

License Plate Renewal in Montana

Before your license plates expires, you should renew your registration with the MVD. Depending on how you registered your vehicle, you may have to renew your license plates every:

  • 12 months
  • 24 months

Alternatively, if your vehicle is 11 years or older, you can apply for permanent plates which never have to be renewed.

Upon successfully renewing your vehicle, you’ll receive new registration stickers to apply over the old ones on your rear license plate.

Surrendering License Plates in Montana

Should you apply for new plates (such as personalized or specialty plates) you must surrender your old plates.

You can surrender your Montana license plates either by dropping them off in person or mailing them in.

Transferring License Plates in Montana

Your license plates remain in your possession if you sell, donate, or auction your vehicle. When you buy a new vehicle, you can transfer them over. Otherwise, you will be required to surrender your plates if they are not to be used.

Lost or Stolen License Plates in Montana

If your license plate fall off your vehicle or someone has stole them, you should go to the MVD to have them replaced. You must apply for replacement license plates in person.

Replacement license plates in Montana will cost:

  • Replacement (with new number): $10.30
  • Replacement (with same number): $15.45
  • Replacement stickers (standard vehicles): $1
  • Replacement stickers (permanently registered vehicles): $10.30

If your plates have been stolen you’ll have to submit a sworn statement. You should also submit a police report to ensure your license plates aren’t used and abused by others.

Summary of License Plate Fees in Montana

In addition to the standard license plate fees, you may also have to pay for local taxes, service fees and other registration fees. The following are a few of the fees applicable to you when you register or renew your vehicle:

  • Vehicle Registration:
  • Vehicles 0 to 4 years old: $217
  • Vehicles 5 to 10 years old: $87
  • Vehicles 11+ years old: $28
  • Standard Plate Registration: $10
  • Replacement
    • New plate number: $10.30
    • Same plate number: $15.45
    • Decals (standard vehicles): $1
    • Decals (permanently registered vehicles): $10.30

Please contact your local MVD office for more information about the fees required for your vehicle’s registration.

Look Up License Plates in Montana

If you require personalized plates and what to see which plate numbers are available, you can look up license plates online.

You can also look up license plates to see the history of a vehicle, such as whether the vehicle has been stolen or not.