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Colorado Vehicle Registration

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On our Colorado Car Registration page, you’ll find information about car registration in Colorado, including details about registration renewals, late fees, emissions tests, car registration fees, changing an address on Colorado vehicle registration, and acceptable payment methods for vehicle registration.

Registering a Vehicle in Colorado

You may register your vehicle or trailer in person at your nearest Colorado DMV office. Driver and vehicle services are administered by the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Below are important requirements for vehicle registration in Colorado, you must register:

  • Within 60 days of your new car purchase.
  • Within 90 days of becoming a Colorado resident.
  • Within 45 days after returning to the United States.
  • If you are the owner of a foreign vehicle in Colorado.
  • If you are a nonresident who operates a business in Colorado with a motor vehicle trailer, semi-trailer, or trailer coach.
  • A vehicle title assigned in the owner’s name OR an unexpired out-of-state registration.
    • VIN Verification, if your vehicle has an out-of-state title.
  • Acceptable documents to prove your identity, such as:
    • Any Colorado Driver License.
    • CO Driver Permit or CO ID Card (current or expired less than 1 year)
    • Out-of-state issued photo driver’s license or photo ID card, or photo driver’s permit (current or expired less than 1 year).
    • U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card.
    • NOTE: For a full list of documents, you may visit the CO DMV website.
  • Proof of Colorado Vehicle Emissions, (if applicable).
    • Gas or Diesel – See Emissions Testing below to read more.
  • Proof of Car Insurance.
  • Fees for your vehicle registration (varies by vehicle)
    • See Vehicle Registration Fees in CO below for more information.

Emissions Testing for Car Registration

There are specific counties that require an emissions test in Colorado for vehicle registration (gas vehicles).

Those counties include: Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Jefferson, Portions of Addams, Portions of Arapahoe, Portion of Larimer, and Portions of Weld.

To find out specifically if your county requires an emissions test prior to submitting your vehicle registration application for either a gas or diesel vehicle, please contact your nearest Colorado DMV office.

Renewing Your CO Registration

You can renew your Colorado vehicle registration online or in person at your local Colorado DMV office. To be eligible, your registration must expire within 1 month and your vehicle must not have a hold. Late fees apply after it expires for 1 month.

Be sure to have your license plate number, VIN and current Colorado Car Insurance available. You may also need to have a current vehicle emissions report.

Renewal Notices for CO Car Registration

February Renewal Cards are delayed 3 weeks.

If you have a vehicle with registration that expires in February but do not know if your vehicle requires an emissions test, the Colorado DMV recommends that you first try to renew your vehicle registration online.

For specific questions about Vehicle Registration in your situation, you may need to contact your nearest Colorado DMV county office.

Replace Colorado Vehicle Tabs

You can replace your Colorado tabs online or in person at your nearest DMV location. You’ll need to have the following information available:

  • License plate number
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Payment with an acceptable credit card or check

    Out-of-State Registration Transfers in Colorado

    You can register your vehicle in Colorado as soon as you establish your residency.

    You’ll need to bring your out-of-state vehicle title and/or registration for the vehicle (no more than 6 months expired), your driver’s license, proof of Colorado insurance, and complete a VIN verification at your nearest CO DMV office location.

    To find out if your county requires a current Colorado emissions test, you’ll need to speak with your nearest CO DMV office in your county.

    Changes to Your Colorado Registration

    NOTE: You must change the address on your car registration within 30 days of moving to your new address.

    You can change the address on your Colorado car registration online, by mail or in person at your local Colorado motor vehicle office.

    Changes Online

    You may change the address on your vehicle registration in Colorado online.

    Be sure to have your customer identifier number.

    Changes By Mail

    To change the address on your CO vehicle registration, you must submit a completed Change of Address Form (DR 2285) and mail it to:

    Department of Revenue
    Registration Department
    Division of Motor Vehicles
    P.O. Box 173350
    Denver CO 80217

    Changes In Person

    When you visit your nearest Colorado DMV office, you’ll need to submit proof of identification and a completed Change of Address Form (DR 2285).

    Transfer Your Vehicle Plates in Colorado

    To transfer your current plates to your new vehicle, it must meet the following criteria:

    • At least 1 owner must be shown on both car registrations.
    • The vehicle must be eligible for the plate type.

    For further instructions, please contact or visit the Colorado motor vehicle office in your county.

    Vehicle Registration Fees in CO

    Fees are based on the empty weight and vehicle type. In Colorado, vehicle owners are subject to various car registration fees including:

    • Sales tax – based on the net purchase price of the vehicle.
    • Licensing fee – based on vehicle weight, date of purchase, and taxable value.
    • Ownership tax – the Colorado DMV charges a personal property tax based on the vehicle’s original value (85% of MSRP).

    Your Colorado county DMV office also charges vehicle registration fees based on county of residence and the license plate type you select.

    You may find a vehicle registration fee estimator on your county’s website. If your county does not offer this service, you’ll need to contact or visit your nearest CO DMV office location.

    For more information about vehicle registration fees at your Colorado county motor vehicle offices, you may read the CO Vehicle Registration Fee Fact Sheet.

    Late fees?

    If you do not register your new vehicle within 61 days of purchasing, there will be vehicle registration late fees. you must pay a $25 per month late fee for up to 4 months. Normally there is a grace period of 1 month for most registration after expiration.

    Payment Methods

    The Colorado county motor vehicle offices normally accept cash, check (payable to DOR), Master Card, Visa, Discover and American Express.

    To be certain of the acceptable payment method at your county motor vehicle office for vehicle registration, you’ll need to contact your nearest Colorado DMV office location.

    Top 5 Common Questions

    What documents do I need to register my vehicle in Colorado?

    You will need your vehicle title, proof of insurance, and a completed registration form. You may also need to provide emissions and/or VIN inspections, depending on the type and age of your vehicle.

    How much will it cost to register my vehicle in Colorado?

    The cost of registering a vehicle in Colorado varies depending on the type and age of the vehicle, as well as the county in which it is registered. You can use the DMV’s online fee estimator to get an estimate of the cost.

    Can I renew my vehicle registration online?

    Yes, you can renew your vehicle registration online through the DMV’s website. You will need your license plate number, insurance information, and credit card or bank account information to complete the transaction.

    What are the penalties for late vehicle registration in Colorado?

    If you fail to register your vehicle on time, you may be subject to late fees and fines. The amount of the penalty depends on how long you have been delinquent and the type of vehicle you own.

    How often do I need to renew my vehicle registration in Colorado?

    In Colorado, you are required to renew your vehicle registration every year. You will receive a renewal notice in the mail prior to your registration expiration date, but it is your responsibility to ensure that your registration is up-to-date.

    Last Verified:
    Apr 10, 2023