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Frequently Asked Questions - Montana Teen Driver

It is recommended that parents and teen drivers enter into a contract to ensure that there are no misunderstandings about following the rules. The parents can pledge to help their teen by demonstrating patience and giving guidance during the learning process. The teen driver should pledge to always abide by the rules and regulations established by their parents.

To obtain either a Learner’s License or a First-Year Restricted License, you must meet the following requirements:

Learner’s License
• If you are 15 years old, you must complete a state-approved driver’s education program. If you are 16 years old, you can take the required driver’s license tests without completing an education program.

First-Year Restricted License
• You must hold a permit for a minimum of six months before applying for a First-Year Restricted License.

Full driving privileges without restrictions will be given once you turn 18 or will automatically end on the date noted on the beck of your driver’s license.

The State of Montana has the following requirements for obtaining a Traffic Education Learner’s License:

• You must be at least 14 years and six months old.
• You must be enrolled in a state-approved driver’s education program.
• You must pass a written and vision test.

If you are 16 years old, you can bypass the driver’s education requirement and apply for a permit at a Montana driver exam station.

Before applying for a learner’s license, you should study the Montana Driver’s Manual, which covers the following topics:

• Section 1—Understanding the Driver’s License
• Section 2—Keeping the Driver’s License
• Section 3—Before You Drive
• Section 4—Language of the Road, Signs, Signals and Pavement Markings
• Section 5—Rules of the Road
• Section 6—Safe Driving Tips
• Section 7—Be in Shape to Drive
• Section 8—Emergencies and Adverse Driving Conditions

The driver’s manual can be found online at the Montana Motor Vehicle Division’s website or at any Montana driver exam station.

The Montana Department of Justice requires applicants to do the following when applying for a permit or driver’s license:

• You must fill out the license application form.

• If you are under 18, your parent, legal guardian or another responsible adult must sign the application taking full financial responsibility for any damages if you are found at fault in an auto accident.

• You must provide proof of identity, residency and authorized legal presence in the United States.

The license fees will vary depending upon your age and they range from $5.50 to $40.50.

The State of Montana has the following restrictions:

Traffic Education Learner’s License (TELL)
• You must be supervised by a licensed parent or legal guardian while completing 50 hours of driving, including ten hours at night.

Learner’s License
• You must not have any traffic violations for a drug or alcohol offense in the six months prior to applying for a First-Year Restricted License.

First-Year Restricted License
• You may not drive between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am unless:

1. You are driving to or from school
2. You are driving to or from church
3. You are driving to of from your place of employment
4. You are driving to or from a farm-related activity
5. You are driving due to an emergency

Law enforcement officials may contact your parent or guardian to verify the purpose of driving between 11 pm and 5 am.

First Six Months
• You may only have one unrelated passenger under the age of 18 in your vehicle unless supervised by a licensed driver who is 18 or older.

Second Six Months
• You may only have three unrelated passengers in your vehicle unless supervised by a licensed driver who is 18 or older.

First Offense Penalty Violation
• You will be required to perform between 20 to 60 hours of community service.

Second Offense Penalty Violation
• Your license will be suspended for a period of six months.

The Montana Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) requires applicants to submit proof of identity, residency, and legal presence by submitting the following documents:

Proof of Identity Primary Documents (Must submit two primary documents)
• Driver’s license or identification card with color photo issued by Canadian or United States jurisdiction (not expired more than four years)
• Certified birth certificate issued by Canadian or United States jurisdiction
• Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240 or DS-1350)
• Identification card issued by federally recognized Indian tribe located in Montana (must contain applicant’s digitized image, date of birth and tribal enrollment number)
• Unexpired military identification card with color photo and date of birth issued by the United States Department of Defense (active duty, reserve, retired or dependent of active duty personnel)
• Unexpired passport issued by Canadian or United States government
• Unexpired foreign passport with record of arrival and departure (Form I-94)
• Unexpired Permanent Resident Card (I-551)
• Certificate of Naturalization (N-550, N-570 or N-578)
• Certificate of Citizenship (N-560, N-561 or N645)
• Northern Mariana card (I-551) with “Northern Mariana” imprinted on it
• American Indian card (I-551) with “American Indian imprinted on it
• United States Citizen Identification Card (I-179 or I-197)
• Permanent Resident Card (I-551)
• Temporary Resident Card (I-551)

Proof of Identity Secondary Documents (Must submit one primary and one secondary document)
• An additional primary document
• Social Security card issued by Canadian or United States government
• Certified copy of marriage certificate issued by the government
• Driver license or identification card issued by Canadian or United States government (expired more than a year but less than five years)
• Driver license issued by Canadian or United States government that is current but does not contain color photo
• Certified copy of court order or judgment issued by a Canadian or United States court with applicant’s full name and date of birth
• Any document approved as a primary document by the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) (expired for less than a year)
• Certified copy of birth certificate issued by a United States territory, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico or a Canadian province or territory
• Certification of discharge issued by the United States Department of Defense
• Medicaid, Medicare or health insurance card with applicant’s name and identification number
• Concealed weapon permit issued by the chief of police, county sheriff or police department within the United States with color photo
• Current pilot’s license issued by the United States Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration
• Certified copy of school transcripts or records with applicant’s full name and date of birth issued by an elementary school, secondary or post-secondary school
• Certificate of completion from a Montana approved driver’s education course with applicant’s name and date of birth
• Current school photo identification card with student’s name and student identification number
• Certified copy, fax or photocopy of the applicant’s child’s birth certificate with applicant’s name and date of birth as the parent

Proof of Residency
• Any primary or secondary document
• Montana or United States income tax return for previous year
• Montana voter registration card
• Receipt for real or personal property taxes paid within the past year to the State of Montana
• Current life or auto insurance policy
• Certified copy of school records issued from the school where the applicant is attending or has attended within four months of the application
• Written statement from applicant’s parent, legal guardian or adult child that the applicant lives at the same address
• Copy of rental agreement or rental receipts signed by the landlord including applicant’s name and residential address
• Equity loan or home mortgage papers with applicant’s name and residential address
• Payroll check, check stub, bank statement, utility bill or canceled mail addressed to applicant (less than four months old)
• Letter from a social services agency stating that the applicant is homeless

Proof of Legal Presence (All documents must be valid and unexpired)
• Original or certified copy of birth certificate issued by a jurisdiction of the United States
• Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240) or Certification of Report of Birth (DS-1350)
• Valid passport issued from the United States Department of State
• Valid foreign passport with I-94 arrival and departure record
• Valid Permanent Resident stamp (I-551)
• Certificate of Naturalization (N-550, N-570 or N-578)
• Certificate of Citizenship (N-560, N-561 or N-645)
• Northern Mariana card (I-551) with “Northern Mariana” imprinted on it
• American Indian card (I-551) with “American Indian” imprinted on it
• United States Citizen identification card (I-179 or I-197)
• Permanent Resident Card (I-551)
• Temporary Resident identification card (I-688)
• United States re-entry permit (I-327)
• Refugee travel document (I-571)
• Employment authorization card (I-688A, I-688B or I-766)
• I-94 arrival and departure record stamped as “Refugee” without a valid passport (must contain photo)
• Digital identification card issued by a federally recognized Native American tribe from reservation located in Montana (Must contain photo, date of birth and tribal enrollment number)

Proof of Social Security Number
• Social Security card
• Payroll check stub with Social Security number
• State or Federal Income Tax form (must have already been filed)
• W-2 wage and tax statement
• DD-214 military papers with Social Security number

Name Change Documentation
• Marriage certificated issued by a government institution
• Judgment or decree granting name change from a court of competent jurisdiction
• Dissolution of marriage or divorce decree specifying name change
• Certificate of Naturalization issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (N-550 or N-570)

A Traffic Education Learner’s Permit will be issued under the following conditions:

• You are at least 14 years and 6 months old and have successfully completed or are currently participating in a state-approved driver’s education course.

• You can only operate a motor vehicle when accompanied by a state-approved instructor, licensed parent or legal guardian.

You can apply for a Montana Learner’s Permit once you turn 15 years of age.

There are no specific restrictions for new drivers, however you are required to carry the minimum amount of liability insurance, which includes:

• $25,000 in bodily injury or death per person in one accident
• $50,000 in bodily injury or death for two people in any one accident
• $10,000 for injury or destruction of property in any one accident

Operating a motor vehicle without the minimum insurance is a misdemeanor offense and punishable by a fine of up to $500 and ten days in county jail.

The State of Montana requires drivers to pass the following tests:

Written Exam
• The written exam consists of multiple-choice questions that cover the rules of the road, safe driving techniques and Montana traffic signs. You must correctly answer 27 out of 33 questions in order to pass the test.

Vision Exam
• You must be able to pass the vision exam with a visual acuity of 20/40 or better both eyes with or without using corrective lenses. You may receive a restricted license if your vision is between 20/50 and 20/70 without using corrective lenses. The restrictions may include only driving during daylight hours, no driving in inclement weather and only driving at certain speeds.

Driving Test
• The driving test is used to test your ability of how well you control the vehicle and obey all traffic laws. Your vehicle must be in good working order and have valid registration tags.