License plates sponsored by qualified non-profit organizations, colleges, or governmental bodies are designed with distinctive backgrounds, colors, or phrases that identify the sponsoring organization. Sponsored plates are authorized under § 61-3-4, MCA.
You must register your vehicle annually to have sponsored plates, with these exceptions – by paying a one-time contribution, light vehicles 11 years and older that are eligible for permanent registration, and trailers that must be permanently registered, may have sponsored plates. The cost of the plates and renewing them each year includes a donation that goes directly to the sponsoring organization. By purchasing these plates, people show their support for an organization and make a financial contribution to its work. The Specialty License Plate Donations list shows the quarterly total of donations collected for each sponsoring organization.
How to Purchase and Renew Sponsored Plates with No Eligibility Requirements
- An individual or business who owns a passenger car, pickup, van, sport utility vehicle, motor home, large truck, or bus that is registered in Montana may choose to display most sponsored plates. Sponsored plates are available for trailers. The Chrome for Kids plate is only available for motorcycles.
- There is no special process to apply for or renew most sponsored plates. The County Treasurer's office issues or renews the plates when you pay the applicable vehicle registration fees and any special license plate fees.
How to Purchase and Renew Sponsored Plates with Eligibility Requirements
Eligibility – A few organizations restrict their plates to people who meet certain eligibility requirements. For example, the Montana State Fire Chiefs’ Association plate is available only to active and retired firefighters and members of fire boards. To apply for and renew plates with specific eligibility requirements:
- Contact the sponsoring organization and request an application form.
- Mail the completed application to the sponsoring organization.
- Once approved, take or mail the eligibility notification you receive from the sponsoring organization (and your mail renewal notice for renewals) to your County Treasurer’s office.
- Pay all applicable vehicle registration fees and any special license plate fees.
How to Sponsor a License Plate
- The Organization’s Application to Sponsor a Specialty License Plate Packet lists design and sponsorship requirements, including the fee of $4,000 to reimburse Montana Correctional Enterprises for the initial costs of producing the specialty license plate. It may take up to eight weeks to approve an organization’s application. The sponsored license plate is then programmed for manufacture.