Montana Car Title Transfer and Registration

Vehicle registration must be completed with the Montana Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) in order to legally drive on MT roadways. So what do you need to take with you to complete your transaction the first time? It depends on how you own your automobile (leasing, making payments, or owner with title) and how you want to register (single, joint, business or transfer to family member) your automobile.

Vehicle registration requirements differ in Montana based on whether you’re a permanent or temporary resident, however you have 60 days to register your vehicle with your County Treasurer’s Office.  All residents must provide the vehicle title, proof of auto insurance, and payment for various fees and taxes; temporary residents must also provide their current out-of-state vehicle registration.

There are different time periods available for registration in Montana.

  • 12-month vehicle registration: Vehicle owner must pay all registration fees, county option tax, and any special license plate fees.
  • 24-month vehicle registration: Vehicle owner must pay all registration fees, county option tax, and any special license plate fees to cover the full 2 years.
  • Permanent vehicle registration: Available only for vehicles over 11 years old. Permanent registrations don’t need to be renewed for the life of the vehicle, or until the vehicle is sold.
    • Vehicles with special license plates that require annual renewal are not eligible for permanent registration.
  • Quarterly registration: Montana offers non-residents who are working in the state the option to register or renew your registration quarterly, so you do not have to pay the full amounts required for longer registration periods. You must register your vehicle with the Montana MVD, even if you are not planning on becoming a permanent resident.

Vehicle Registration & Title Transfer Process

To register, visit your County Treasurer’s Office. You must register in the county where you reside. When you arrive please provide the following:

  • A completed vehicle registration application.
  • Proof of auto insurance.
  • The Vehicle title and current registration certificate:
    • If the vehicle was bought from a private party, the title needs to be signed by the previous owner over to you.
    • If the vehicle has recently been purchased, the title transfer and registration take place at the same time.
  • Your registration fee based on the vehicle’s age and on the length of the registration.
  • The county option tax.
  • Payment for titling fees, if required.
  • Payment for license plate fees, if you opt for specialized license plates.

To be sure you have everything you need before getting in line at the local Montana Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) office, visit, answer 3 to 5 questions to generate a checklist of what is needed. Military personnel often get tax breaks in many states, your checklist will indicate if this is the case.