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  • Plate Surrender in Colorado

    Registering a car?

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    You are not obligated to surrender your license plates to Colorado’s Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) upon moving to another state or country, or selling your vehicle. Read on for more details.

    Moving to Colorado

    After moving to Colorado register your vehicle and obtain Colorado license plates. Surrendering your old license plates is not required, unless required by your former state. If you're unsure, contact your old state's DMV. In some cases, you may be eligible for a registration refund.

    Before visiting your local motor vehicles office, decide on a license plate preference. You can opt for a standardized Colorado license plate at no extra cost, or choose from one of the state's many specialized plates.

    For more on the Rocky Mountain state, including attractions, visit our relocation guide.

    Moving from CO

    You are not required to surrender your Colorado plates after moving out of the state. Keep them, if you so choose, as souvenirs.

    Read our Moving Out of Colorado page for other DMV-related insight.

    Selling a Used Car in Colorado

    Colorado license plates remain with you, not the car. Be sure to remove the plates before giving up the car keys. You then have the option to transfer them to another vehicle owned by you. A pro-rated portion of your original car registration cost may be credited towards registration renewal or a new registration.

    If you don’t transfer them the DMV does encourage (this is not mandated) surrendering the license plates to your local motor vehicle office.

    Need more selling help? Visit our Title Transfers page.

    Buying a Used Car in CO

    After buying a used car, register your vehicle with Colorado’s DMV. Since license plates stay with the owner, you will need to obtain new plates before driving.

    For more information on new vehicle ownership, visit our guide on vehicle title transfers.

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