How to Get Your Colorado Driver’s License? Step-by-Step

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Getting a Colorado driver’s license is surprisingly easy if you’re willing to practice and take tests through the state’s graduated licensing program.

Else, you may skip into a full license when you’re 18 if you can pass the driving test – those that don’t are sent through the program beginning with a permit.

First, you need to apply for a permit and provide proof of identity and residency. You’ll also need to pass the vision test, and knowledge test and pay the necessary fees. Once approved, a temporary paper license will be issued while your full permit is sent through the mail.

Once you have that in hand (which can take up to 10 days),

Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles handles the licensing process.

The two-step process includes the following:

  • Learner’s Permit
  • Unrestricted License

Those coming from out-of-state will need to surrender their license and apply for a new one within 90 days of residency. Requirements are largely the same as applying as an adult, given you surrender your out-of-state license and show your appropriate proof of ID and residency.

Before going to the DMV, you’ll want to collect the following:

  • Proof of identification
  • Proof of residency
  • Payment method

You will visit a CO DMV throughout each of these applications.

The following is a recap of the learner’s permit steps and what you’ll do when upgrading the learner’s permit into a full Colorado driver’s license.

Getting Your Learner’s Permit

A learner’s permit is a requirement regardless of age if you plan to get an unrestricted license. Those over 18 who failed their driving test are required to get one, too, but can jump right into the next steps of the licensing process.

The learner’s permit is divided into three types:

  • Driver education learner’s permit
  • Driver awareness learner’s permit
  • Minor learner’s permit

This starts at 15 – 15 ½ years old, 15 ½ – 16 years old, and 16 to 21 years old. Those starting at their earliest require taking a driver’s education program. This requirement loosens to driver’s ed or a classroom experience, eventually not needing either if they’re between 16 and 21.

15 – 15 ½ Years Old:

You must complete the driver’s ed classroom segment before applying for a Driver’s Education Permit.

  1. Submit proof of ID & residency
  2. Pass the knowledge and vision tests
  3. Submit an Affidavit of Liability and Guardianship (DR 2460)
  4. Provide proof of a driver’s ed classroom segment
  5. Pay the $16.80 fee

15 ½ to 16 Years Old:

Before applying for the Driver Awareness Permit, you must complete a driver’s ed course and awareness program or classroom course.

  1. Submit proof of ID & residency
  2. Pass the knowledge and vision tests
  3. Submit an Affidavit of Liability and Guardianship (DR 2460)
  4. Provide proof of driver’s ed and classroom completion
  5. Pay the $16.80 fee

16 to 21 Years Old:

When applying for a Minor Instruction Permit, you do not have driver’s ed and classroom requirements.

  1. Submit proof of ID & residency
  2. Pass the knowledge test
  3. Submit an Affidavit of Liability and Guardianship (DR 2460)
  4. Pay the $16.80 fee

You are expected to get at least 50 hours of behind-the-wheel experience when holding your learner’s permit(s). This includes at least 10 hours of experience driving at night. Completing these steps, practicing, and holding the permit for 1 year lets you apply for a license.

Getting Your Unrestricted License

Finally, those who hold their permit until the eligible age in the graduated licensing program will go through the following steps. Those over 18, having held their learner’s permit until ready, can also go into the following steps to get their license.

You should make an appointment before arriving when scheduling your driving test. This saves time and effort for both parties. Do know you cannot get a license if you have suspensions, revocations, immigration violations, and other law-breaking classifications.

Complete the following when you’re ready:

  1. Bring proof of ID
    1. ID card, passport, birth certificate
    2. Social Security Number
  2. Bring (2) proof of residency documents
    1. Insurance card, utility bill, voter ID
  3. Submit your learner’s permit
    1. Plus: Drive Time Log Sheet (DR 2324)
  4. Submit your proof of registration
  5. Submit your proof of insurance
  6. Pass the exams:
    1. Vision
    2. Driving
  7. Pay the $28 application fee
  8. Get a photo/fingerprint taken


You will receive a temporary license until you receive the permanent one in the mail (usually 30 days). This temporary license is good until 20 days after your 21st birthday or until your birthday if you are older. You are expected to renew your license when at its appropriate time.

Those under 18 have restrictions with their license until turning 21. This includes having no passenger under 21 riding with you until after the first six months of licensing. Plus, not driving between 12 AM to 5 AM in the first year unless expressly warranted and stated. These restrictions lift at 21.

Congratulations! You’re now free to roam the roads of Colorado!