Motor Vehicle registration options that don’t involve lines

We understand the long lines at the Lewis and Clark County Motor Vehicles Department are frustrating. And while there are many factors contributing to the delays, we don’t want to make excuses. However, we do want to offer some options that, if applicable to your situation, may help you avoid the lines and long waits.

Renewals may be done online using the State of Montana online service at up to 30 days past the month shown on the vehicle’s registration tab. Renewals can also be mailed to the Motor Vehicle office at 316 N. Park Ave. Room 142, Helena, MT 59623. Additionally, there is a secure lock box in the hall for renewal drops.  The State online service is the fastest way to renew.

Registration expired over one month and permanent renewals may be requested online at

Due to the pandemic, Motor Vehicles established a new process for temporary registration permits and submitting paper work for titling new vehicles in which Motor Vehicles has the title paperwork in-hand. Start the process online at and customers will then be sent an invoice and contacted when a signature is needed. An appointment can be made to come in to sign. Individuals with title work in-hand or out-of-state driver’s licenses cannot use this process and must come in-person.

Title work appointments are recommended but not required and can be made by calling the department at 406-447-8328.

Additionally, certain requirements for vehicle registration remain suspended until the end of the declared state-of-emergency in Montana. Dealerships have an additional 90 days to submit paperwork to county offices, and vehicle owners to title and register any vehicles transferred after March 16, 2020. New Montana residents have a 90-day extension to title and register vehicles. 

Mail-in renewals are 2-3 weeks behind, but area law enforcement is aware of this. On-line title by e-mail is also 3-4 weeks from submission to invoice and mailing of plates.

Due to office closures and the extensions, no late title fees will be charged on permits expiring on or after March 16, 2020, until the end of the declared state-of-emergency.

While spring and summer are typically the busiest time for motor vehicle registrations, the COVID-19 pandemic has created further delays. Due to the Attorney General extensions, many customers waited to come in and the long lines can partially be attributed to delayed March, April and May customers. The department continues to be short-staffed due to COVID-19 and is currently in the process of hiring two more employees.

People are reminded to check lines on the Motor Vehicles web cam before coming in:

The Lewis and Clark County Motor Vehicle Department is open Monday-Friday, 7:30 am – 5:00 pm on a first come, first serve basis, unless an appointment is made. No title work is processed after 4:30 pm. For renewals, appointments can be made by calling 406-447-8328. Phones are answered 7:30 am – 4:00 pm. It is recommended people continue to call rather than leave a message.

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