Montana Driver’s License Classes (A Complete Guide)

Montana Driver’s License Classes (A Complete Guide)

What are the driver’s license classes in Montana and what can they operate?

How do you obtain each license class?

We’re here to answer those questions. 

To do that, we’ll first explain the driver’s license classes in detail. From there, we’ll walk you through the steps and requirements to obtain each one. 

So welcome to your complete guide to Montana driver’s license classes!

The 5 Driver’s License Classes in Montana

In Montana, you can classify driver’s license classes depending on their purpose:

  • To operate non-commercial vehicles (Class D)
  • To drive commercial motor vehicles (Class A, B, and C)
  • To operate motorcycles (Class M)

Let’s break these down into detail.

Class D License

The Class D license is your standard driver’s license, which most Montana drivers have. You can operate a non-commercial vehicle with it, such as cars, small trucks, or SUVs.

Class A CDL

Commercial vehicles come in many forms. Large combination vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of more than 26,001 pounds and towing a unit weighing more than 10,000 pounds require a Class A CDL.

It also allows you to drive Class B and Class C vehicles (with the proper endorsement), giving the highest level of flexibility.

Class B CDL

Straight heavy commercial vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of more than 26,0001 pounds require a Class B CDL. If it tows a unit, its weight must not exceed 10,000 pounds. 

You can use a Class B CDL to operate Class Class C vehicles, too, but not Class A. 

NOTE: If you want to operate a Class C vehicle with a Class B CDL, you must have the right endorsement. 

Class C CDL

Not all commercial vehicles are large — some have a GVWR of 26,000 pounds or less and tow units fewer than 10,000 pounds. If so, you need a Class C CDL.   

The most common examples of these are vehicles that carry 16 or more passengers, such as a tour or city bus, and those that transport hazardous materials. 

Class M Endorsement

If you want to ride a motorcycle, your Class D, A, B, or C license must have an M endorsement. This shows that you received additional knowledge and training for this type of vehicle.

How to Get a Class D License in Montana

Montana has a Student Driver Relief program in place. This allows you to start working towards your Class D license at 15. However, you need to complete the 3 stages before getting full driving privileges.

The stages are:

  • Getting a learner license
  • Getting a first-year restricted license
  • Getting a full Class D license

Let’s see how to get each one. 

How to Get Your Montana Learner License

Here are the steps to getting your learner license in Montana:

  1. Attend a state-approved traffic education program (required only for those below 16 years old)

NOTE: You can enroll in a traffic education program once you turn 14½ years old. 

  1. Gather the documents you need to present at a Driver License Station. These must prove the following:
    1. Authorized presence (1)
    2. Identity (1)
    3. Montana residence (2)
    4. Social Security Number (you do not need to provide proof, just state the number)

NOTE: It’s best to know what documents you can use. Click here to see a complete list.

  1. Make a written test appointment with a Driver License Station. You can do this online or by calling (866) 450-8034.

NOTE: Rural Driver License Stations require you to prepay for your service at a county treasurer’s office.

  1. On your visit, do the following:
    1. Bring a parent or legal guardian 
    2. Pay the fee of $5.50
    3. Pass the vision test
    4. Pass the written test
  1. Receive your learner license. 

You’ll need to wait for at least 6 months before you can begin working on stage two. We suggest you take this time to get driving experience. However, ensure that a parent, legal guardian, or an authorized and licensed person at least 18 years old supervises you.

How to Get Your Montana First-Year Restricted License

Stage two is when you undergo your driving test. However, before doing that, ensure that you’ve complied with the following:

  • You’ve had your learner license for 6 months or longer.
  • You’ve completed 50 hours of supervised driving, 10 of which were done after dark.
  • You have had no traffic violations or DUI offenses in the past 6 months

If you checked off the boxes, here’s what you do next:

  1. Schedule a driving test with a Driver License Station. You can call (866) 450-8034 on regular work days or use Montana’s online appointment system.
  1. Bring and submit these documents at the office:
    1. A filled-out and signed Form 21-1600 (Graduated Driver Licensing Parent/Legal Guardian Certification)
    2. A completed Driving Log
    3. Documents for your vehicle
      1. Proof of registration
      2. Valid insurance card
    4. Your valid learner license
    5. Proof of authorized presence (1)
    6. Proof of identity (1)
    7. Proof of Montana residence (2)
    8. Social Security Number (you do not need to provide proof, just state the number)
  1. Pass the driving test. 
  1. Pay for the licensing fee of $5 per year (until you turn 21), plus $0.50.

NOTE: Your license expires when you turn 21, so you can calculate the amount by multiplying the years it remains valid. Then add a $0.50 administrative fee.

  1. Receive your first-year restricted license

How to Get Your Montana Full Class D License

If you’re holding a first-year restricted license, there’s nothing else to do on your end. Montana lifts all restrictions once you turn 18. 

If you’re already 18+ years old and applying for your first license, follow these steps: 

  1. Schedule a visit to a Driver License Station for your written test. 
  1. Submit these documents on your appointment:
    1. One proof of identity
    2. One proof of authorized presence
    3. Two proofs of Montana residence

NOTE: Click here to determine which documents you can or can’t use.

  1. Pay the appropriate fee:
    1. Under 21 years old – $5 per year + $0.50
    2. 21 to 67 years old – $40.50
    3. 68 to 74 years old – $5 per year + $0.50
    4. 75 years old and older – $20.50
  1. Pass the following tests:
    1. Vision screening
    2. Written exam
  1. Make another appointment for your driving test.

NOTE: You must bring your own vehicle for the driving test, with its registration and insurance papers. You must also show the same documents you had when you took your written test.

  1. Pass the driving test.
  1. Wait for your Class D driver’s license in the mail. You can use a temporary one in the meantime — the MVD provides it when you pass your driving test.

For even more detail, check out “How to Get A Montana Driver’s License”.

How to Get a Class A, B, and C CDL in Montana

Whether you get a Class A, B, or C CDL in Montana, the process is the same. 

Like a Class D license, there are also stages to complete when working on your CDL. These are:

  • Working on your CDL permit
  • Getting your CDL

Let’s go over the requirements and steps. 

How to Get Your Montana CDL Permit

These are the steps to getting your CDL permit in Montana:

  1. Decide on the specifics of your commercial license. Answer the following:
    1. CDL Type: Are you planning to drive within Montana only, or will your job require you to cross state lines?
    2. CDL Class: What kind of commercial vehicle do you intend to operate?
    3. Endorsements: Will you need specialized training on specific CMVs or loads?
  1. Schedule a CDL written test appointment
  1. Prepare the required documents:
    1. Proof of Social Security number
    2. Proof of authorized presence
    3. Valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate
    4. Completed Application for Commercial Driver License form 
    5. Completed CDL Self-Certification Classification and Medical Documentation (for Interstate Excepted only)
  1. On your scheduled date, do the following:
    1. Submit the documents mentioned above
    2. Pass the CDL written test
    3. Pay the appropriate license fee. Check the table below. 
AgeIntrastate CDL FeeInterstate CDL Fee
21 to 71$35.54$41.72
75 and older$35.54$41.72
  1. Get your CDL permit. 

Once you get your CLP, you can practice driving a commercial vehicle under your class. However, a licensed commercial driver must always be with you.

How to Get Your Montana CDL

You can schedule your CDL skills test once you’ve met these conditions:

  • You’ve completed Entry-Level Driver Training.
  • You’ve had your CDL permit for at least 14 days.

Checks on both boxes mean you can work towards your CDL. Here are the steps:

  1. Call (406) 444-1772 or go to Montana’s online scheduling system to make a CDL skills exam appointment.
  1. Bring a commercial vehicle you intend to use for the CDL skills test on your visit. Ensure you also have the following documents:
    1. Valid vehicle registration (including the trailer’s registration if applicable)
    2. Proof of insurance
    3. Your valid CLP
    4. Your valid class D driver’s license
    5. Proof of Social Security number
    6. Proof of authorized presence
    7. Valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate 
    8. Completed Application for Commercial Driver License form 
    9. Completed CDL Self-Certification Classification and Medical Documentation (for Interstate Excepted only)
  1. Pass your CDL skills test.
  1. Receive your CDL. 

Want to learn more? Then check out “Montana CDL Requirements”. 

How to Get a Class M Endorsement in Montana

You don’t need a separate license to operate a motorcycle in Montana. However, you need to add an M endorsement to an active driver’s license, whether Class D or any of the CDL classes. 

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Make an appointment to go to a Driver License Station for your motorcycle written test.
  1. Prepare the following documents:
    1. A valid driver’s license 
    2. Proof of identity
    3. Proof of authorized presence
    4. Proof of Montana residence

NOTE: Check out this list of acceptable documents if you’re unsure what to use.

  1. Pass the motorcycle written test. 

NOTE: You cannot schedule your driving test if you don’t pass the written exam.

  1. Complete a state-approved Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic Rider Course.

NOTE: This is an optional step, but it may allow you to skip the driving test.

  1. Schedule your motorcycle driving test using the online appointment system.
  1. Pass the motorcycle driving test.
  1. Pay for your M endorsement.

NOTE: If you’re getting your M endorsement with your Class D license (or time it with your license renewal), it’ll only cost you an additional $0.52. 

However, if you complete it outside of your renewal period, you must pay $10.30. It covers the $0.52 fee and a replacement license with the M endorsement.

The Wrap Up

And that was your complete guide to Montana driver’s license classes. 

It’s a lot to take in, we know. 

But at least now, you know exactly what driver’s license class you need and the requirements and steps to getting it. 

If you get a little lost, don’t hesitate to return to this page. 

Good luck!

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