All vehicles, including cars, vans, trucks, trailers, and motorhomes, must have a valid license plate in Colorado. You can register your vehicle at the DMV and get validation tags in addition to your vehicle’s registration.
You must go to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Colorado to register your vehicle within 60 days of its purchase.
If you're a new resident of Colorado, you should visit the DMV to register your out-of-state vehicle within 90 days of your arrival.
In addition to applying for a license plate, you're also required to purchase validation tags.
You need to obtain registration tabs to validate your registered vehicle. If you're driving a car, van, or truck, you'll be required to have plates on both the front and back of your vehicle.
These tags are valid for 12 months and need to be renewed each year.
Since your tags are only valid for 12 months, you are expected to renew them before they expire. Failure to do so would put you in the position of driving illegally, which has financial consequences.
You can renew your vehicle’s tags by applying online, sending an application in the mail, or visiting the DMV in person.
Renewal fees will vary depending on your vehicle and type of license plate.
The types of license plates available in Colorado are as follows:
If you're purchasing a new vehicle or waiting for your plates to be sent, you must obtain a temporary permit or license plate which allows you to drive your vehicle.
You should visit the DMV before purchasing a vehicle, unless you're going to a dealership. Most dealerships will provide you with a temporary permit to drive your car home and to the DMV.
Temporary license plates and permits are usually valid for up to 60 days.
When you register your vehicle at the DMV in Colorado, you should bring along the following:
Each county has different requirements for the registration of your vehicle. Please contact the nearest DMV to get more information.
Note: Counties of Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Jefferson, Adams, Arapahoe, Larimer, and Weld require that emissions tests be passed before you can register a vehicle.
The costs connected to license plates in Colorado vary from county to county. You’ll have to contact your county’s DMV to get an accurate quote, but here’s a quick list of how they determine your fees:
When you register your vehicle, you may be able to pay for any applicable fees using cash, MasterCard, Discover Card, or VISA.
If you’re not satisfied with the standard license plate offered by the state of Colorado, you can choose from an assortment of specialty styles. Here are just a few choices:
There are more specialty plates to choose from in Colorado. You must apply for the plate you want and be eligible in the case of qualifying plates, such as any war veteran plates. You must also pay any additional fees that are included with these specialty plates.
Instead of getting a fancy license plate, you can choose to put a clever phrase or unique string of characters on the front and back of your vehicle. These are known as vanity plates, and you are required to:
If you fail to explain the meaning of your license plate, your application for a personalized plate may be declined.
The cost for these plates is an additional $50 on top of your standard registration fees. Renewing these plates costs only $25 and your regular renewal rates.
If your license plates are missing, or if you believe them to be stolen, go immediately to the police and file a report. Then take a copy of this report to a local DMV in your county and submit the following:
You should always report your missing plates to the police to prevent misuse and abuse.
You can search for license plates in Colorado for free. Go to FindByPlate to start a search and obtain information about license plate availability, history, and more.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to look up Colorado License Plates and report bad drivers: