When you buy a car from a private seller or a dealer, you must register and title it legally before driving it. This article contains more information on the paperwork required when buying a car in Montana.

Required Paperwork in Montana

You will need to transfer the title to your name after buying a vehicle. To expedite the title transfer process, the Montana MVD gives out the guidelines you should follow to ensure that the exercise runs smoothly.

  • Get the registration receipt and vehicle title from the seller. If you are purchasing a new car, the dealer will process the required paperwork on your behalf.
  • The vehicle's title must be notarized and signed by all previous owners.
  • Get odometer readings from the seller if the vehicle is more than 10 years old.
  • Make sure all active liens on the vehicle have been released or they are not there.
  • Collect a copy of the vehicle's last registration receipt.
  • Double check that the VIN on the vehicle matches that in the title. If the numbers do not match, you will need to drop the interest to purchase that vehicle until the rightful owner is determined.
  • You must apply for your new vehicle’s registration and title at your county treasurer's office in Montana.

Buying a Vehicle without Registration

If you buy a vehicle that is not registered and register in your name you will need:

  • A completed Form MV20 (Vehicle Identification Number Inspection Certificate).
  • Completed Form MV10 (Bonded Certificate of Title) or an affidavit/Application for Title With Insufficient Evidence of Ownership.
  • Any proof of ownership such as cancelled check, bill of sale or registration certificate.
  • All applicable fees (you will find them listed in the application form).

You have to take all these documentation in person, at the nearest local county treasurer’s office.

Buying a Vehicle without a Title

If you have purchased a vehicle without a title and you need to title it in your name, you must submit:

  • Completed Form MV10 (Bonded Certificate of Title) or an affidavit/Application for Title With Insufficient Evidence of Ownership.
  • A completed Form MV20 (Vehicle Identification Number Inspection Certificate).
  • Any proof of ownership such as cancelled check, bill of sale or registration certificate.
  • All applicable fees (you will find them listed in the application form).

Send the above package to: Title and Registration Bureau MVD Department of Justice 1003 Buckskin Dr. Deer Lodge, Montana 59722

Bill of Sale

Though a bill of sale is not required when titling or registering the car in your name, it is smart to obtain a copy of this document for your records. You can use this document to show proof when question arises about the legality of vehicle ownership.