Mary Garrett, Motor Vehicle Supervisor
316 N Park Ave/Room #142
Helena, MT 59623
Hours of Operation: 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
316 N. Park Ave.
Room # 142
Helena, Montana 59623
Help us Help you, renew your registration by mail!
The Lewis and Clark County Motor Vehicle Department collects approximately $10.9 million in licensing title fees and assessment of all vehicles which require titles under Montana law. Annually 85,000 registrations are issued through this department. Office hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily and the department is open during the noon hour. Title work is not processed after 4:30 p.m.
Vehicle Title and Registration forms are available through the state of Montana, Department of Justice, http://www.doj.mt.gov/driving/default.asp
Out of state residents who are temporarily working in Montana or are using their vehicle for hire, compensation or profit, must display Montana plates and pay taxes for using Montana public roadways. Because they are not Montana residents, they can not title their vehicles in Montana. To qualify for a registration purposes only permit, the out of state resident must provide a current out of state registration. A temporary registration is acceptable, as long as it's current.
Students who are residents of another state do not need to plate and register their vehicle unless they are working while going to school. They must title if they own the vehicle, but a registration purpose only permit is allowed if the vehicle is registered to a different owner, parent for example.
It is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle in the State of Montana without valid vehicle liability insurance policy, certificate of self-insurance or posted indemnity.
If you are stopped for any reason while driving and do not have a valid registration and license, you are subject to fines and vehicle impoundment. If you have any questions or concerns about your vehicle registration, please contact the Motor Vehicle Department at (406) 447-8328. The Motor Vehicle Department supervisor can be reached through E-mail .
I have moved to Montana, what do I need to register my car?
If you are coming from another state, please register your vehicles as soon as you establish residency in Montana, or before your out-of-state registration expires, whichever comes first. In order to register your vehicle you will need to provide us with the Certificate of Title. If the Certificate of Title to your vehicle is being held by a lien holder, the Motor Vehicle Department will provide you with a foreign title transfer form. This will allow the Certificate of Title to be transferred to a Montana Title and then returned to your lien holder.
Procedures now require your vehicle registration file to include your drivers license number or, in the case of a Corporation, your federal identification number. For this reason, your drivers license will be requested when registering your vehicle.
What about renewing Montana plates?
License plates are issued to the registrants. The plates are not transferable between individuals, such as on a sale of the vehicle to another person, but the registrants may transfer their plates to their replacement vehicle. Such transfer of plates between vehicles owned by the same person must be done through the Motor Vehicle Department. Motorized vehicles require two plates at all times, except motorcycles, which require only a rear plate. The transfer of plate fees can occur only one time. The amount of the plate fee is $5.00. Subsequent transfers must pay the fees even when the plate is current.
A renewal decal (or tab), that will make your license plate current, will be issued each year after the fees are paid. If you keep your address updated, a courtesy renewal notice will be mailed directly to you from the State of Montana. Nevertheless, if none is received, each driver is still responsible for timely registration renewal. If your registration receipt has an expiration date, you have until the last day of the following month to renew your registration.
I may want to personalize my plates?
If you would like to have personalized license plates, they are available to you for an additional fee. Unique options are possible using your choice of up to seven numbers and letters, providing the combination is not offensive or in bad taste and has not already been issued to someone else. The initial cost is $30 for plate manufacture and then $10 annually in addition to normal registration fees.
Specially designed plates for veterans, colleges, military units and others are also available a their own initial and annual rates. Old time vehicles and rods may be distinguished with their own plate issue also.
New registration needed, plates gone, decal missing?
New vehicle purchasers may obtain a 40 day sticker from the Department of Motor Vehicle. You must present a bill of sale or other issued proof of ownership at the time you apply for a sticker.
If you have lost a plate or decal, get a new issue from the Department of Motor Vehicle. Replacement costs are $15.00. Reporting the loss to the police may also be appropriate.
How much will it cost?
Registration costs are based on state established fee schedules. In addition to your registration fee. Lewis and Clark county imposes a county option tax. This tax is based on the manufacturer's suggested retail price, depreciated according to the schedule established by law. To access the state fee schedule go the http://www.doj.mt.gov/driving/default.asp
At this time, the Department of Motor Vehicle is prohibited from giving quotes on the cost of renewing or titling your vehicle over the phone. You must either mail or fax a request in. Mailed requests must include a self addressed, stamped envelope. If you choose to fax your request in, the fax number is (406) 447-8330. You may also come into the office on the main floor of the City/County Building, 316 North Park, Helena, Montana.
When and where do I pay?
The Lewis and Clark County Motor Vehicle Department accepts cash, personal checks and money orders made out to Lewis and Clark County in the exact amount of your registration. Please do not send cash through the mail. Master card and Visa are now accepted in the Motor Vehicle Department. To avoid lines, you may wish to visit our office during midweek, midmorning. The first and last working day of any month are the busiest days and the lines tend to be longer.
Help us Help you, renew your registration by mail!