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  • Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Colorado

    Applying for a Teen Driver's License in Colorado

    The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) handles the issuance of driver licenses to first-time drivers.

    As part of its graduated driver licensing (GDL) program, the CO DMV enforces specific rules and requirements for drivers younger than 18 years old. To begin the licensing process, you may need to attend a driver’s education course depending on your age.

    This page outlines each step of the Colorado graduated license program, how to apply for your CO driver’s license, and the driving restrictions for each phase.

    New to Colorado?

    If you’re a new resident of Colorado with an out-of-state driver’s license, and at least 16 years old, the CO DMV will not generally require you to take the DMV written test or DMV road test. However, a Colorado DMV representative may require testing when there is a concern about physical aptitude or vision.

    To transfer for your CO driver’s license, visit your local CO DMV driver’s license office and:

    • Surrender your valid out-of-state driver's license.
    • Show proof of your Colorado residency.
    • Show proof of your lawful presence in the U.S.
    • Pay the $21 driver’s license fee.

    NOTE: You must have a parent/guardian sign an Affidavit of Liability and Guardianship (Form DR 2460) in the presence of a DMV employee or notary.

    Transfer Your Out-of-State Learner’s Permit

    If you are younger than 16 years old and have held your out-of-state learner’s permit for at least 1 year, you can take the driving test to obtain your CO driver’s license.

    If you fail the test, the Colorado DMV will issue you a learner's permit and give you credit for the amount of time you held your original permit.

    NOTE: You are also required to complete a Drive Time Log Sheet (Form DR 2324).

    CO Graduated Licensing Program

    In Colorado, the graduated driver licensing (GDL) program is designed help you learn important driving skills, ensure driver safety, and reduce traffic accidents.

    The GDL program requires drivers between 15 years old and 21 years old to apply for a learner’s permit and fulfill a variety of requirements before receiving a full CO driver’s license.

    You’ll be required to follow specific restrictions and complete a Driver’s Ed course within 6 months of applying for your instruction permit. For more information, see our Driver’s Ed in Colorado page.

    Age Requirements

    • 15 years old to 15 1/2 years old: Eligible for a driver’s education permit.
    • 15 1/2 years old to 16 years old: Eligible for a driver’s awareness permit.
    • 16 years old to 21 years old: Eligible for a minor learner's permit.
    • 16 years old: Eligible for driver’s license (with completion of required permit holding time of 12 months).

    Colorado Learner’s Permit

    The Colorado DMV offers several types of learner’s permits for new drivers younger than 21 years old:

    • 15 years old to 15 1/2 years old: Eligible for a driver’s education permit.
    • 15 1/2 years old to 16 years old: Eligible for a driver’s awareness permit.
    • 16 years old to 21 years old: Eligible for a minor instruction permit.

    To apply for a permit, visit your local Colorado driver's license office and:

    If you’re under 16 years old, you must also provide a Driver’s Ed course completion certificate.

    NOTE: Your CO learner’s permit will be valid for 3 years.

    Behind-the-Wheel Practice & Driving Restrictions

    Once you have your learner’s permit, you can begin practicing driving. You must, however, follow these learner's permit driving restrictions:

    • No passengers except for a driving instructor, parent, guardian, or a licensed adult older than 21 years old.
    • You and all passengers must wear seat belts.
    • You must not use a cell phone at any time while driving, including for texting.

    Before moving on to your full unrestricted driver’s license in Colorado, you must complete:

    • 6 hours of driving with a driving instructor, if you are younger than 16 1/2 years old.
      • If you do not have an approved driving school within 30 miles of your residence, you can complete 20 hours of driving practice with an approved driving supervisor instead.
    • 50 hours of driving practice, including 10 hours at night.

    Getting Your Full CO Driver's License

    You can apply for your provisional license once you:

    • Have held your instruction permit for a minimum of 12 months.
    • Turn 16 years old.
    • Have completed 6 hours of behind-the-wheel practice with a driving instructor.
    • Have logged 50 hours of practice driving, including 10 hours at night.

    To apply for your provisional license, visit your local CO DMV office and:

    • Submit a completed Drive Time Log Sheet (Form DR 2324).
      • Must show 50 hours of driving experience (10 hours at night).
    • Submit a certificate for 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training with a driving instructor, if you are younger than 16 1/2 years old.
      • If an approved driving school is not available within 30 miles of your home, you may instead complete 20 hours of driving practice with an approved driving supervisor.
    • Pass the CO DMV road test.
    • Provide your Social Security number.
    • Show proof of your Colorado residency.
    • Pay the $21 fee.

    Driving Restrictions

    If you’re under 18 years old, you must follow these restrictions even while you have your full driver’s license:

    • You must not drive with a passenger who is under 21 years old for the first 6 months. *
    • After you’ve had your license for 6 months, you may not drive with more than 1 passenger under 21 years old in your vehicle. *
      • This restriction is lifted once you’ve held your driver’s license for 1 year.
    • You must not drive between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. until you’ve held your driver’s license for 1 year, unless:
      • Your parent/guardian is with you.
      • There is a licensed adult (at least 21 years old) with you who has held their valid driver’s license for at least 1 year.
      • You have a signed statement from your school or employer stating why you must drive during these hours.
      • It is an emergency situation.

    * The only exceptions to these rules are if:

    • Your parent or guardian is also in the vehicle.
    • There is a licensed adult 21 years old or older in the vehicle who has held their driver’s license for at least 1 year.
    • It is a medical emergency.
    • All members who are younger than 21 years old are immediate family members. They must all be wearing their seatbelts.

    You can follow our new license checklist to keep track of the steps towards your first driver's license in Colorado.

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