Montana Learner's Permit and Driver’s License

GDL requirements

Full Privilege Minimum Age
Learner Stage: Minimum Age (Years/Months)
14, 6 months
Learner Stage: Minimum Duration (Months)
Intermediate Stage: Minimum Age (Years/Months)
Intermediate Stage: Nighttime Driving Restriction
11 PM to 5 AM
Intermediate Stage: Passenger Restrictions (Except Family, Unless Noted)
No more than 1 passenger younger than 18 for the first 6 months. No more than 3 passengers younger than 18 for the second 6 months

How to Get a Montana Driver’s License

Montana has a Graduated Driver License program, or GDL that will give you time to learn how to drive in a controlled way. There are three stages to this program, from no Montana license to a full license.

Completing the Montana GDL takes about a year. First you’ll complete a Montana MVD approved driver training course and pass a written test for your learner license. Then, 50 hours of supervised driving for a Montana First Year Restricted license. Drive with it for one year, or until you turn 18, and you’ll receive your Montana full privilege license.

The steps below have the details you’ll need to know in order to get your full, unrestricted license.

Get Your Montana Learner License

You can start the process to get your license at 14 years and 6 months. To get ready for driving, you can download the Montana Driver Manual and start reading through it. At your local Motor Vehicle Division Driver License Station, you’ll need to fill out an application, bring in proof of identity, and pay a fee of $62.32 for a 12-year standard license or $67.47 fee for an eight-year license with REAL ID by cash, debit card, or check.

You will be given an official paper which is your learner license. You’ll need to have that with you every time you’re behind the wheel.

You have to have your Montana learner license for at least 6 months before you can apply for a first year restricted license. During that time, you’ll need to have 50 hours driving practice with 10 hours of those being at night. There are also limits to your permit and they are:

  • A driver with a Learner License must be supervised by a licensed parent or guardian, or a licensed driver age 18 years or older who is authorized by the parent or guardian.
  • Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt.
  • The teen driver must not receive any traffic violations or alcohol/drug offenses in the six-month period before advancing to GDL Step 2 (First-Year Restricted License).

This is the point also where you’ll need to get driving instruction. The options for this include being enrolled in a driver’s education program and supervised behind-the-wheel practice with an adult 18 years or older. Driver education consists of 60 hours of traffic education instruction including 6 hours of behind-the-wheel in-traffic instruction, and a minimum of 25 days of instruction taught by a state-approved traffic educator. Once you’ve completed the required amount of instruction, you can apply for your first year restricted license.

Get Your Montana First Year Restricted License

Receiving your license requires that you’ve completed certain requirements. Those are reaching the age of 15.

Driving Skills Test: You will be required to pass a driving test with a MT MVD evaluator who will make sure you can perform basic driving tasks safely.

Once you’re ready, you can schedule a driving skills exam at your nearest Montana Driver License Station.

Before you take the test, you should check out the Top 10 Automatic Fails on Driver Tests, so you’ll know what not to do on test day.

Vision Test: You will need to take a vision test. If you need glasses be sure you’re wearing them.

The application fee for your license is $62.32.

Your Montana first year restricted license will be mailed to you and will have your photograph on it. They take your picture the day you pass your driving skills test. This license will come with the following restrictions:

  • For the first six months, unless supervised by a licensed driver age 18 or older, a teenage driver may have only one unrelated passenger under age 18 in the vehicle.
  • For the second six months, unless supervised by a licensed driver age 18 or older, a teenage driver may have three unrelated passengers under age 18 in the vehicle.
  • Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt.

As you continue to learn how to operate a motor vehicle in different conditions, there are certain hours when you won’t be able to drive. Those are:

  • Teenage drivers may not drive between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., with some exceptions.
  • These exceptions include emergencies, farm-related activities, travel to and from school, church or work, and specific parent-authorized purposes.
  • Law enforcement officials may contact the parent or guardian of a teen driver to verify the purpose for which the teen is authorized to drive between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.

Get Your Montana Full Privilege License

At a certain point, the state feels that you’ve been able to receive enough supervised driving experience that you can go out on your own. Therefore, once you reach 18 years old or have had your restricted license for 1 year, you can get your full Montana license.

This means that previous restrictions are lifted. However, you will not receive an updated Montana license until that one expires. After you renew your license, you will receive your full, unrestricted license in the mail.

However, honing your S.P.I.D.E.R.Senses™ defensive driving skills is a lifetime experience. Download the DriverZ Virtual Coach to keep practicing. It will also help you keep track of your practice hours when earning your Montana first year restricted license.