License Plates & Placards in Colorado
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Colorado's famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) green and white mountain plates still bedeck the majority of vehicles in the state. The colors date back to 1950, but the basic version of the current plate has only been sprucing up the look of vehicles since the late 1970s.
Of course, some drivers find the plate dull and lacking the vibrancy that they believe reflects the state. After all, one of the state nicknames (and the phrase carved into the welcome signs at the borders) is Colorful Colorado.
Thus, in 1989, the state introduced designer plates to assuage the colorless complaints, and from that date the alternative plate has evolved through a couple of incarnations into the current multi-hued landscape design. There is an annual $25 fee to own this plate.
Today, the state boasts more than 100 varying license plate styles. You can now support causes, represent your university, lineage, or Masonic group, or tout your service in the military.
Plates are divided into numerous categories including collector (vehicles model year 1975 or earlier), passenger, recreational, motorcycle, light truck, special interest, military and veteran, and disabled.
In order to receive the privilege of parking in those ultra-convenient handicap spaces you will need to fill out an application and provide a couple of forms basically verifying the disability. You will need to provide proper identification. Step-by-step coverage of this process is provided in the Drivers with Disabilities section.
Handicap plates also come in a design specifically recognizing the service of disabled veterans. The forms and steps needed to obtain this plate are also discussed in the Drivers with Disabilities section.
Lost plate or placard? For replacement information visit our Replacing a Lost License page.
Show off elements of your personality to the world, or just your ability to create witty phrases out of seven designated spaces on a Colorado personalized plate. You can have your own saying on the purple mountain designer plates (light trucks and cars only), motorcycle, and the standard issue green and white.
Regular plates allow seven spaces to be filled in with letters (upper case), numerals (no zeros), dashes, blank spaces, and periods. Motorcycle plates, due to size restrictions, cut a character space off and allow only six.
Obviously, no obscenities are allowed. A complete listing of character usage is available on the personalized plate application form. Make sure you are dear to the phrase you create because the costs are quite a bit more than standard state-issued plates:
- Designer: $85 application fee; $50 renewal
- Regular: one-time fee of $60.00; annual $25.00 fee
If you do want to change what the plate says, complete the application form to convert one personalized phrase to another. The transfer fee is $13.
This plate memorializing the victims and survivors of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School is currently one of the most popular in the state. It features a columbine flower (the state flower) and the phrase "Respect Life" on a detailed mountain backdrop. There is a one-time fee of $50 for the plate, in addition to standard registration and license fees.
Most of Colorado's private and public colleges and universities allow you to display your allegiance via a license plate bearing the school's logo. Each institution's alumni association has a specific set of requirements for application (usually a donation). There is a one-time fee of $50 for the plates, in addition to standard registration and license fees.
Personalized plates, minus the logo, are also available with the completion of this form. Fees are higher for this service.
Instead of antique plates, Colorado offers collector plates. To qualify, your car or light truck (less than sixteen thousand pounds empty weight) must be at least 25 years old. Registration is valid for five years.
The state does not require Colorado residents to return their license plates after relocating to another state. Learn more on our CO License Plate Surrender page.
Other Topics in This Section
- Register Car
- Registration Renewal
- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
- Special Vehicles
- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Smog & Emission Checks
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