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Guide to the Colorado DMV

Colorado DMV Guide

If you’re new to Colorado or have recently purchased a vehicle, here is a short guide to setting up your license and registration.

New Registration

Registration of your vehicle is required in Colorado within sixty days after purchase, or within ninety days after becoming a resident of Colorado. Any vehicle purchased in another state must have a VIN verification performed as part of registration. Your VIN verification can be done at any law enforcement office, car dealership, or qualified automotive care and repair business.

To register your vehicle in Colorado, you will need:

  • Secure and verifiable ID
  • Proof of Colorado vehicle emissions, if applicable (some counties require them)
  • Proof of insurance
  • All applicable fees, which are based on the empty weight and type of vehicle registered (additional fees may pertain to your vehicle depending on county of residence and license plate type)

Vehicle Inspections

Some counties require you to get an emissions test. Passenger cars newer than 1982 require them bi-yearly, for a $25 fee. You are exempt from emissions testing if you do not live in an area that requires it.

The following counties will certainly require emissions testing:

  • Boulder
  • Broomfield
  • Denver
  • Jefferson

Registration Renewal

The Colorado DMV allows you to renew your vehicle registration up to one month after it has expired. You have to pay a $25 late fee for every month after that that your registration is expired, up to $100.

You can renew your license online. You will simply need your license plate number, a valid email address, current insurance, emissions information where applicable, and a valid credit card or checking account.


To title your vehicle, you must take the required documents to your county’s DMV office. You will have to pay the vehicle title fees, registration fees, and applicable sales tax. Your title will be mailed to you within four to six weeks. The required documents are:

  • Proof of Insurance
  • Secure and Verifiable Identification
  • The current title or other ownership documents properly endorsed by the previous owner
  • Proof of a Colorado vehicle emissions test, if applicable
  • Odometer disclosure
  • A bill of sale
  • A statement of origin if you’re new to Colorado
  • Valid registration that specifies your vehicle’s weight

Driver’s License

If you are new to Colorado, you must relinquish your out-of-state license within 30 days of establishing residency. You can get a Colorado driver’s license via the following steps:

  • Surrender your out-of-state license
  • Provide proof of Colorado residency (via a utility bill or pay stub, for example)
  • Provide proof of lawful U.S. presence (birth certificate, immigration document, for example)
  • Provide your Social Security number (or a letter of ineligibility)
  • $26 for the licensure fee in cash, check, or money order
  • Pass a vision exam
  • Get your fingerprints and photo taken
  • Provide a signature

Auto Insurance Requirements

Colorado  requires liability insurance for your vehicle. You must meet the following minimum coverage limits:

  • $25,000 per person
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, if multiple people were injured
  • $15,000 per accident for property damage

Collision and comprehensive insurance, while recommended, are not required by law.