Montana has a Graduated Licensing system like most US states and territories. This is simply to cut down on the fatalities amongst the underage class of drivers that has a larger than average proportion of deaths. There are 4 driving stages in Montana, with the first starting at one of the youngest ages in the US, but is very restricted.
Montana’s under 18 GDL
Traffic Education Learner’s License, 14 years 6 months
The first step in the system allows very young drivers to start their driving education within the GDL system in place. It is only meant as a learning license and does not allow driver’s to drive by themselves at any time for any purpose. The driver must be enrolled in a state approved driver education course in order to apply for a TELL license.
You must also pass a vision and written test as well as prove state residency and approval by a parent or guardian. The TELL permit is good for 1 year and must be held for at least 6 months before moving to the next stage. The driver must also complete 50 hours of driving with a parent or guardian or another licensed adult at least 18 years old.
1st Year Restricted License, 15 or 16 years
If you do not get a TELL license you must wait until 16 years of age to get the First-Year Restricted License. If you have completed 50 hours of driving with a parent, guardian or adult supervisory driver and have held your TELL license for at least 6 months you can apply for this license. You will need to pass a Department of Motor Vehicles road skills test, prove residency, and bring in the GDL Parent or Guardian Certification form in order to attain the license.
The first 6 months with this license restricts drivers from driving between 11pm and 5am and carrying only 1 passenger under 18 years old unless also accompanied by an adult licensed driver. Driving during night time hours are only allowed to and from home and work, church, school, farm related activities, emergencies and parent authorized reasons.
After the first six months, drivers are restricted to carrying a maximum of 3 passengers under the age of 18 unless accompanied by a licensed adult over 18 years old.
Full License, 17 years
The First Year Restricted License automatically converts to a full unrestricted license after having held the First Year Restricted License for at least 1 year or at 18 years of age. For each stage you will need to be traffic violation free for at least 6 months prior to applying to the next stage of the GDL process. Otherwise you will need to wait until 6 months have passed to do so.
Adult Drivers & Out of State
As an adult you can simply apply for a Montana State driver’s license by visiting an examination station in person and passing the required tests. There is a written, vision and driving skills tests. Upon successful completion of these tests you will receive a full unrestricted driver’s license without any learner’s permit period. Although it is advised that you get a Learner’s permit to practice your driving before going for a full license.
Moving to Montana requires you to surrender your out-of-state driver’s license within 60 days of establishing residency within the state. If you can prove US citizenship or residency and identity you can surrender your out of state license for a Montana license. You will need to pass a vision test, but if you have your out of state license most likely your written and driving skill tests will be waived.