Colorado law requires that motor vehicle owners must register their vehicle with the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles before taking it on the road. Both new and second-hand vehicles must be registered, regardless of whether they are purchased from a dealer or an individual. In addition, new Colorado residents who have registered their vehicle in another state must register their vehicle in Colorado. The initial vehicle registration must be done in person, and registration renewals must be done annually, either in person, online or by mail.
If you are registering a motor vehicle in Colorado for the first time, you must complete the following steps:
- Take your vehicle for emissions testing. Emissions tests must be performed at an inspection station or by an inspector that has been licensed by the Colorado DMV. Find out more about vehicle inspections in Colorado, or locate an inspection station near you. Once the vehicle passes inspection, you will be issued an inspection certification.
- Secure and verifiable form of identification as noted by Colorado's DMV as a valid driver's license, state-issued ID or a U.S. passport. For a complete list of acceptable forms of identification, click here.
- Visit your county motor vehicle office, and bring the completed title/registration form with you, along with the inspection certification. In addition, you will need to provide proof of insurance, and the odometer reading, if the vehicle is less than 10 years old.
- For vehicles that have been registered in another state, you must also bring the original, out-of-state title. If the title is unavailable, bring the registration document, along with proof of sales tax payment.
When registering your vehicle at the county tax office, you will be required to pay certain fees, typically as follows:
- The registration fee, which varies depending on the manufacturer's model year or the vehicle's total weight.
- Title application fee.
There may be additional fees when you register, depending on your county. Contact the county motor vehicle office for the specific requirements.
RENEWING YOUR VEHICLE REGISTRATION
Owners of motor vehicles in Colorado are required to renew their vehicle registration annually, and can do so in person, online or by mail. See our Registration Renewal section for complete details.
- If you are a non-resident active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces or a non-resident full-time student attending a Colorado college or university, you are not required to title or register your vehicle.
- The process for registering a motorcycle is generally the same as a car registration; however, there are different procedures for boat registration and custom car registration.
- Auto Insurance is needed to legally operate all vehicles in Colorado.
- See also Renewing Your Vehicle Registration.
- See also Title Transfers and Car Insurance.