Required Documents

Identity Confirmation | Proof of Identity | Proof of Montana Residency | Proof of Authorized Presence | Proof of Social Security Number | Documentation of Name Change

You must bring certain documents with you to complete most driver licensing services. The documents are required to show proof of your identity, your Montana residency and your authorized presence within the United States of America. The lists below outline the types of documents that are accepted. Some transactions may require additional documents.

Note: Pay careful attention to the type of document that is needed, especially where it is noted that documents must be certified copies, original, valid or current, not expired and/or from within a specified time period. Photocopies of required documentation are not accepted.

You can order certified copies of your vital records, like birth and marriage certificates, from VitalChek for a fee. You can also order Montana documents from the Office of Vital Statistics.

Identity Confirmation for Driver Licenses and ID Cards

Your identity is important. Identity theft is now the top-reported form of crime in the United States. The name and birth date on your application for a driver license or ID card must match the primary document you provide and will be checked with the Social Security Administration. This is to help protect you against fraud. It’s important to fix discrepancies now to avoid problems in the future for you and your family. Please make sure the full legal name and date of birth you’re going to use on your application for a driver license or ID card matches what is on file with the Social Security Administration.

Proof of Identity

The Montana Department of Justice, Motor Vehicle Division, accepts the following documents as proof of full legal name and age for people applying for a Montana driver license or identification card.

You must provide two documents—either two primary documents, or one primary and one secondary document listed—to an examiner at a Montana driver license station.

Acceptable Primary Documents
  • a color photo driver license or identification card, not expired for more than four years, issued by a U.S. or Canadian jurisdiction
  • a certified birth certificate issued by a U.S. or Canadian jurisdiction
    • Note: a certified birth certificate typically has the registrar’s unique seal (e.g., raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored), the registrar’s signature and the date the certificate was filed with the registrar’s office
  • a certification from the U.S. Department of State or a U.S. embassy of the birth abroad of a U.S. citizen (Consular Report of Birth Abroad, form FS-240 or Certification of Report of Birth, form DS-1350)
  • a digital identification card issued to the applicant by a federally recognized Indian tribe whose reservation is located in Montana, that contains the applicant’s digitized image, date of birth and tribal enrollment number
  • an unexpired military identification card issued by the U.S. Department of Defense (active duty, reserve, retired personnel or dependent of active duty personnel) that contains a color photo or digitized image of the applicant and the applicant’s date of birth
  • a valid, unexpired passport issued by the U.S. Department of State or the Canadian government
  • a valid, unexpired passport card issued by the U.S. Department of State
  • a valid, unexpired passport issued by a jurisdiction other than the U.S. or Canada and either:
    • an attached U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) record of arrival and departure, form I-94 (same name with an unexpired endorsement of the nonimmigrant status) or
    • an unexpired resident permanent resident I-551 stamp
  • one of the following valid, unexpired documents issued by the USCIS:
    • certificate of naturalization, form N-550, N-570 or N-578
    • certificate of citizenship, form N-560, N-561 or N-645
    • Northern Mariana card, form I-551 with “Northern Mariana” imprinted instead of “permanent resident”
    • American Indian card, form I-551 with “American Indian” imprinted instead of “permanent resident”
    • U.S. citizen identification card, form I-179 or I-197
    • permanent resident card, form I-551
    • temporary resident identification card, form I-688
    • U.S. re-entry permit, form I-327
    • refugee travel document, form I-571
    • employment authorization card, form I-688A, I-688B or I-766, or
    • record of arrival and departure, stamped “refugee”, form I-94 without a valid passport but stamped “refugee” with a photo affixed
  • a U.S. or Canadian-issued instruction, learner’s driving permit or receipt of driver license or permit, if it is current and contains the applicant’s photo and date of birth
  • a prison inmate identification card issued to the applicant by the Montana Department of Corrections that contains a photo or digitized image of the applicant and the applicant’s date of birth and adult offender number
  • an emergency identification photo issued and certified by the driver licensing authority of a U.S. or Canadian jurisdiction that includes the applicant’s name and date of birth – not acceptable for mail renewals or mail duplicates
Acceptable Secondary Documents
  • a second primary document
  • an original U.S. social security card or Canadian social insurance card
  • a certified copy of a marriage certificate or license issued by a government jurisdiction
  • a U.S. or Canadian driver license or identification card that has been expired for more than one year but not more than five years
  • a current U.S. or Canadian government jurisdiction employee photo identification card
  • a U.S. or Canadian driver license or identification card that is current but does not have a color photograph
  • a certified copy of a court order or judgment from a U.S. or Canadian court of competent jurisdiction containing the applicant’s full legal name and date of birth
  • any USCIS document approved as a primary document, but that is not expired for more than one year
  • a certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a jurisdiction other than by a state, territory or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or a province or territory of Canada
  • a certification of release of discharge issued by the U.S. Department of Defense
  • a Medicare, Medicaid or health insurance card with the applicant’s name and individual Medicare, Medicaid or health insurance identification number
  • an unexpired, color photo firearm or concealed weapon permit issued by a chief of police in an organized, full-time police department or the county sheriff in a local jurisdiction within the U.S.
  • a current pilot’s license issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration
  • a certified copy of school records or a transcript containing the applicant’s full name and, preferably, date of birth and issued by an elementary, secondary or postsecondary school
  • a certificate of completion of a Montana department-approved traffic or driver’s education course containing the applicant’s name and date of birth
  • a current school photo identification card with the student’s name and student identification number
  • a certified copy, fax or photocopy of a certified copy of the birth certificate of the applicant’s child, if the certificate lists the applicant’s name and date of birth as parent

Proof of Montana Residency

Upon original application for a driver license, an applicant must present evidence of the applicant’s Montana residence address. A Montana residence or street address must be provided; if the applicant does not receive mail at the residence or street address, a Montana post office box or mailing address also must be provided. The department accepts the following documents as evidence of a Montana residence address, provided the document shows the applicant’s name and Montana residence address as it appears on the driver license application.

Acceptable Documents
  • any primary or secondary document as listed in Administrative Rules of Montana 23.3.131
  • a U.S. or Montana income tax return for the previous year
  • a Montana voter registration card
  • a receipt for personal or real property taxes paid within the last year to the state of Montana or a Montana county
  • a current automobile or life insurance policy or statement
  • a certified copy of school records issued by the school the applicant is attending or attended within four months of the application
  • a written statement from the applicant’s parent, guardian or adult child that the applicant resides at the same address as the parent, guardian or adult child, along with a copy of a document permitted under this rule that shows the Montana residential address of the applicant’s parent, guardian or adult child
  • the original copy of a rental agreement or rent payment receipt signed by the landlord or rental agent that includes the applicant’s name and residential address
  • home mortgage or equity loan papers showing the applicant’s name and residential address – a rural address will be accepted when there is no other physical address
  • any of the following, dated or issued not more than four months prior to application:
    • a payroll check or payroll check stub
    • a bank statement
    • a utility bill or utility hook-up order
    • canceled mail addressed to the applicant
  • if the applicant is homeless, a descriptive address of the location where the applicant actually resides, e.g., “under the west end of the East Street bridge.” The applicant must also provide a separate mailing address and present a written statement from a social service agency on the agency’s letterhead verifying the applicant’s homeless status and the descriptive address given by the applicant

Proof of Authorized Presence

Beginning in December 2005, the Motor Vehicle Division implemented the “authorized presence” requirements enacted by the 2005 Legislature. Under 61-5-105(10) of the Montana Code Annotated, individuals who apply for a Montana driver license or identification card must provide proof that their presence in the United States is authorized under federal law – that is, they must prove that they are either a U.S. citizen or legally authorized to be in the U.S.

Driver licenses no longer simply indicate that someone can safely operate a motor vehicle. In today’s society, a driver license is widely used to verify a person’s identity and may be required for everything from opening a bank account to cashing a check. Given these incidental uses and Homeland Security measures, policy makers have become increasingly concerned that driver licenses be issued only to individuals who can prove that their presence in the U.S. is authorized.

When is Proof of Authorized Presence Required?

Applicants must provide documentation meeting the authorized presence requirements in each of the following situations:

  • New applicant or applicant new to Montana – all new applicants, excluding those who are applying for an upgrade to a current Montana driver license
  • Applicant applying after a revocation or cancellation – any person whose driver license has been revoked or canceled
  • Applicant whose driver license has expired and is beyond the grace period – any person whose driver license has expired and is beyond the three-month grace period

Please check the list of documents accepted as proof of authorized presence. The Motor Vehicle Division does not accept out-of-state driver licenses or identification cards as proof of authorized presence.

When is Proof of Authorized Presence Not Required?

Proof of authorized presence is not required in the following situations:

  • License renewal – U.S. citizens renewing their existing Montana driver license six months before or within three months after the expiration date
  • Commercial upgrades – individuals who apply for an upgrade to a current Montana driver license
  • Replacement (duplicate) license – any applicant applying for a replacement of a valid license
  • Reinstatement of a suspended license – any individual whose existing Montana driver license has been suspended and reinstated again

A driver license or identification card issued to a person who is a foreign national and whose presence in the U.S. is temporarily authorized must expire no later than the expiration date of the official document issued to the person by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Acceptable Documents

Montana accepts the following documents as proof of authorized presence:

  • an original or certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a U.S. jurisdiction. (To obtain a certified copy of your birth certificate, contact VitalChek or, for Montana birth certificates, the Office of Vital Statistics.)
  • a certification from the U.S. Department of State or a U.S. embassy of the birth abroad of a U.S. citizen (Consular Report of Birth Abroad, form FS-240 or Certification of Report of Birth, form DS-1350)
  • a valid, unexpired passport issued by the U.S. Department of State
  • a valid, unexpired passport card, issued by the U.S. Department of State
  • a valid, unexpired passport issued by a jurisdiction other than the U.S. with:
    • an attached U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) record of arrival and departure (form I-94) (same name with an unexpired endorsement of the nonimmigrant status)
      OR
    • an unexpired permanent resident I-551 stamp
  • a valid, unexpired certificate of naturalization (form N-550, N-570 or N-578)
  • a valid, unexpired certificate of citizenship (form N-560, N-561 or N-645)
  • a valid, unexpired Northern Mariana card (form I-551) with “Northern Mariana” imprinted instead of “permanent resident”
  • a valid, unexpired American Indian card (form I-551) with “American Indian” imprinted instead of “permanent resident”
  • a valid, unexpired U.S. Citizen identification card (form I-179 or I-197)
  • a valid, unexpired permanent resident card (form I-551)
  • a valid, unexpired temporary resident identification card (form I-688)
  • a valid, unexpired U.S. re-entry permit (form I-327)
  • a valid, unexpired refugee travel document (form I-571)
  • a valid, unexpired employment authorization card (form I-688A, I-688B or I-766)
  • a valid, unexpired record of arrival and departure, stamped “refugee” (form I-94) without a valid passport but stamped “refugee” with a photo affixed
  • a digital identification card issued to the applicant by a federally recognized Native American Tribe whose reservation is located in Montana, that contains a digitized image of the applicant, the applicant’s date of birth and tribal enrollment number

Proof of Social Security Number

You may provide one of the following documents as proof of your Social Security number:

  • your Social Security card
  • a payroll check stub, if it lists your Social Security number
  • a filed State or Federal Income Tax form
  • a W-2 Wage and Tax Statement
  • military DD-214 papers that show your Social Security number

Documentation of Name Change

An applicant’s full legal name is required on a driver license or identification card application, including a renewal application, and on the license itself.

The name on your application must be the same as the name shown on a primary document unless:

  • you submit the required name change documentation
  • your last name replaced your middle name prior to marriage. U.S. or Canadian birth certificates are acceptable proof of prior last name.
  • your name has been truncated in accordance with policy (Administrative Rules of Montana 23.3.127(3))

The space provided for recording a full legal name on a driver record or driver license may not exceed 31 characters, including up to three commas. Titles such as Dr., Rev., Mrs. and Mr. are not allowed. You may include hyphens only if they are used in your name as it appears in the primary document you use as proof of your identity.

Acceptable Documents

Applications for name change must be supported by a certified copy of one of the following documents:

  • a marriage certificate from the issuing government jurisdiction
  • a decree or judgment granting a name change from a court of competent jurisdiction
  • a divorce decree or dissolution of marriage specifying change of name
  • a U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), certificate of naturalization (form N-550, N-570) issued to the applicant
  • a declaration of marriage filed with the district court clerk where the declaration was made

Upon payment of the required fees and providing proof of name change documentation, an applicant may also apply for a replacement driver license in the legally changed name.