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

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Applying for a New 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 new driver's license applicant.


As of August 2015, the Colorado DMV has updated its requirements for proof of address. You must submit 2 documents dated within 1 year.

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.
  • 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.
  • Proof of CO residency (utility bill, pay stub).
    • 2 documents are required. Both must be date within 1 year.
  • Proof of lawful presence in the U.S. (birth certificate, immigration document).
  • Proof of your Social Security number.
    • If you do not have one, you'll need to provide a letter of ineligibility from the SSA.
  • Pay the $28 fee.
    • The DMV accepts cash, personal checks, and money orders.
  • Pass a vision exam.
  • Get your fingerprint and photo taken.
  • Provide your signature.

The Division of Motor Vehicles might require additional documents. There is an identifications requirements chart you can use to make sure you have what you need.

Once you've successfully taken the steps to apply for your new driver's license, the DMV will issue you a temporary Colorado 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 20 days after your 21st birthday.
  • Adult licenses expire on the driver's birthday. The renew date will depend on the issuance date.
Just Moved?

Find all the information you need to finish your moving requirements with the DMV.

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 driving test in Colorado. If you pass, you'll be given a Colorado driver's license.

If you do not pass, the Colorado DMV will issue you a learner's permit so you can practice driving before retaking your driving 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 Colorado 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:

Apply for Your New Colorado Driver's License

To apply for your new driver's license in Colorado, visit your local driver's license office.

NOTE: Driver's license offices and registration offices are SEPARATE. Registration offices DO NOT handle driver's license transactions.

You will need to:

  • 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.).
      • All identity documents MUST have your full named spelled out completely.
      • Colorado now requires 2 documents proving your address if you are a first-time applicant, and they must be within 1 year of issue.
  • 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 permit test to obtain your learner's 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 $28 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 Colorado DMV also provides an identifications requirements chart to ensure you meet all requirements.

The DMV also suggests that you study the Colorado Driver Manual. Although this is a good recommendation, we suggest studying with an online practice test from our certified partner. These comprehensive learning tools are comprised of material from the driver manual, and they are presented in an easy to learn format. When you're ready to take the test there is no need for an appointment but no tests will be administered after 4:00 pm for those offices that maintain 8:00 am to 5:00 pm hours.

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

  • If you are a minor (under 21 years old), your license will expire 20 days after your 21st birthday.
  • If you hold an adult driver's 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 new Colorado 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 Colorado Driver's Licenses

If you are on active duty as a member of the U.S. military, you're exempt from obtaining a new Colorado 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 driver's 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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