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  • Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in Colorado

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    Applying for a Driver's License in Colorado

    If you want to start driving in Colorado, you’ll need to get your driver’s license right away.

    The Colorado Department of Revenue – Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) makes applying really easy, whether you’re a new resident or a first-time license applicant.

    New to Colorado?

    If you’ve recently moved to Colorado, you have 30 days from the time you become a resident to obtain a CO license and 90 days to register your car.

    Colorado defines you as a “resident” if you’ve:

    • Been in the state for a continuous 90 days.
      OR
    • Gained employment in the state.

    You can transfer your valid out-of-state license by visiting your local driver’s license office and:

    • Surrender your current out-of-state license.
    • Provide proof of CO residency (utility bill, pay stub).
    • Provide proof of lawful presence in the U.S. (birth certificate, immigration document).
    • Provide your Social Security number.
      • If you do not have one, you’ll need to provide a letter of ineligibility from the SSA.
    • Pay the $21 fee.
      • The DMV accepts cash, personal checks, and money orders.
    • Pass a vision exam.
    • Get your fingerprint and photo taken.
    • Provide your signature.

    The DMV might require additional documents. There is an online requirements checklist tool you can use to make sure you have what you need.

    Once you’ve successfully taken the steps to apply, the DMV will issue you a temporary CO driver’s license. Your permanent license will be mailed to you within 30 days.

    • If you are a minor (under 21 years old), your license will expire on your 21st birthday.
    • Adult licenses expire on the driver’s birthday. The renew date will depend on the issuance date.

    Adult Permit Holders – Over Age 18

    If you have an out-of-state learner's permit but not a driver's license, you can take your road test in CO. If you pass, you’ll be given a CO license.

    If you do not pass, the CO DMV will issue you a permit so you can practice driving before retaking your test.

    CO Driver’s License Eligibility Requirements

    The Colorado DMV WILL NOT issue you a license if you:

    • Have any suspensions, revocations, or denials of your driving privileges in ANY state.
    • Are in violation of federal immigration laws.
    • Have been deemed mentally incompetent.
    • Have been deemed an alcoholic or habitual narcotics user.
    • You have any outstanding debts or fines for traffic violations.

    Types of CO Driver’s Licenses

    This page will walk you through the steps to obtaining a Class R noncommercial driver’s license. If you need another license type, check out one of the following pages:

    • Teen Drivers
      • Covers permits, driving logs, and driver’s education requirements.
    • Motorcycle Licenses
      • Covers the requirements for adding a motorcycle endorsement onto your license.
    • Commercial Vehicles
      • Learn all the requirements for getting a CDL, including CDL permits, road testing, and medical requirements.

    Apply for Your CO Driver’s License

    To apply for your license, visit your local driver’s license office and:

    • Provide required identification*, including proof of:
      • Identity (U.S. passport, CO ID card, etc.).
      • Age (U.S. birth certificate, Certificate of Citizenship, etc.).
      • Name (U.S. passport, out-of-state driver’s license/ID card, etc.).
      • Lawful presence in the U.S. (CO ID card, valid I-551, etc.).
      • CO residency (utility bill, proof of insurance, etc.).
    • Provide your Social Security number.
      • If you do not have one, you’ll need to provide a letter from the SSA indicating you do not have a number.
    • Pass a vision exam.
    • Pass the written knowledge test to obtain your permit, if you don’t have one already.
      • You’ll need to purchase an instruction permit in order to take your driving test, but note that you’re not required to have it for any specific period of time if you’re over 18 years old.
    • Pass the driving test. You'll need to schedule an appointment online.
    • Pay the $21 fee.
      • The DMV only accepts cash, personal checks, and money orders.
    • Get your fingerprint and photo taken.

    * One document may satisfy more than one category. Make sure to carefully review the list of accepted documents to make sure you don’t have to make more than one trip.

    The CO DMV also provides an online tool to help you prepare for your trip to the DMV and ensure you meet all requirements.

    Once you’ve successfully applied for your license and passed your exams, the DMV will issue you a temporary license to drive legally. You’ll receive your permanent license in the mail within 30 days.

    • If you are a minor (under 21 years old), your license will expire on your 21st birthday.
    • If you hold an adult license, it will expire on your birthday The renew date will depend on the issuance date.

    Non-Citizens & CO Driver's Licenses

    Non-citizens should follow the same CO driver license application process as outlined above, making sure to provide the required legal presence documents specific to non-citizens.

    See the “Lawful Presence in the U.S.” bullet above.

    Military Members and CO Driver’s Licenses

    If you are on active duty as a member of the U.S. military, you’re exempt from obtaining a CO driver’s license if you have a valid license from another U.S. state. This exemption also extends to spouses of military members.

    If you do not currently hold a valid license, you’ll take the same steps to apply as any other new civilian applicant (see “Apply for Your CO Driver’s License” above).

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