Need a bigger and better work truck? Or maybe a more comfortable SUV to take you down those country roads? Find your deal on KSL Cars. If you’re buying from a private seller, you’ll need to know how to transfer a car title in Montana.

Required documents

All vehicles in Montana must have a current title and registration certificate. You can apply for a new title at your county treasurer’s office. (Note: You may need an appointment, so call your local office beforehand.) To apply, you’ll need a couple of documents.

  • Out-of-state title or previous year’s Montana registration receipt

Check the title

When you purchase a vehicle, the seller must sign the car’s title over to you. Check that all the information on it is correct.

  • Vehicle Identification Number: The 17-number VIN on the title must exactly match the one on the driver’s side dashboard and door jamb of the car. (Vehicles manufactured before 1981 may have fewer — 11-17.)
  • Odometer: The odometer section should list the mileage as of the date sold.
  • Notarized signature: The seller and buyer must sign the title, and those signatures must be notarized.
  • Date: Verify the purchase date is correct.


If the title is held by a lending institution, the seller will need to pay the balance before the title can be transferred to the buyer.


The cost to register your car in Montana will depend on the type of registration you choose and in which county you reside. All light-duty vehicles (passenger cars, SUVs, vans and one-ton and under pickup trucks) will be charged the following rates.

  • 0-4 years: $217
  • 5-10 years: $87
  • 11 years or older: $28

In addition, counties may charge a county option tax. This is based on the model year and manufacturer’s suggested retail price. A 3% administrative fee will be assessed, as well.

Registration options

You may choose to register the vehicle for 12 months or 24 months, which will include the registration fee and the county option tax, if applicable. If the vehicle is at least 11 years old, you may opt for permanent registration. This means you will not need to register it again unless ownership changes. Permanent registration fees are $102.50, plus an optional $9 donation for state parks support.

Once registration is completed, you’ll be issued your new license plates. You’re required to keep a copy of the registration receipt and proof of insurance in the car at all times.

Transferring a lost title

If the seller does not have the original title, file for a replacement using Form MV7, Application for Replacement Certificate of Title. Mail this request, the $10.30 fee and a 3% service fee to the Montana Motor Vehicle Division.

Vehicle Services Bureau

P.O. Box 201431

302 N Roberts

Helena, MT 59620-1431

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