CO Drivers – Over 18

New drivers in Colorado are those drivers who have recently moved in from out-of-state, or those who have never before been licensed. While there are clear instructions set for those new drivers under 18, such as a learner's permit, driver's training, and more, a lot of new drivers over 18 in Colorado could become confused when they are ready to get their license – not quite sure of what process to follow and what is going to be required for a license to be issued.

Your first step is to choose the type of driver's license that you will be required to hold for operation of the vehicle you intend to operate, for the purposes you intend. There are three types of driver's licenses issued in Colorado, each detailing a different form of driving for a different reason.

  • Standard Class R License: Operation of all types of vehicles, excluding motorcycles and commercial vehicles. License remains valid for up to 5 years, after which renewal is required for further driving in the state. All drivers with Class R under age of 21 will be required to renew the license upon reaching the age of 21.
  • Motorcycle Class M Endorsement: Operation of all motorcycles qualified by the Colorado DMV.
  • Commercial Class A, B, C: Each class covers operation of commercial vehicles defined within the federal guidelines. CDL remains valid for a period of no more than 4 years, after which renewal is necessary for continued operation of commercial vehicles. Those with a commercial license are also covered for operation of any standard vehicle in Colorado as well.

Any new driver under the age of 18 will have to follow the steps as detailed in the Graduated License Law, which includes Driver's Ed, a learner's permit, and driver's training before a license is issued.

Drivers under 18 are required to obtain one of the three forms of the learning permit, which will be required to be held for a period of no less than 12 months before application for a license will be accepted.

Colorado Driver's Ed

All new drivers under the age of 16 are required to complete a driver's ed course before a permit will be granted.

For new drivers over the age of 18 applying for a first-time Colorado license, whether due to a move from out-of-state or because a license has never been held before, you are not required to complete driver training for your license. However, it is always a recommendation of the DMV to take advantage of the courses offered so you can build greater skills for driving in the state.

Getting Ready To Take the Test

The first thing you want to do is find a reliable source to help you practice for your driver's written exam. You can utilize the Colorado Driver's Handbook, which is offered on the internet.

While you won't find an online practice test from the Colorado DMV, there are several third-party sources that offer the practice testing that can really get you ready for the written exam.

Visiting the DMV Office

There isn't an appointment needed for your written exam, as it is provided by walk-in – but you do want to make sure you find the right office nearest to you to take the exam and receive your license. When it is time for the road exam, a scheduled appointment is needed, and you will have to visit the appropriate DMV office to complete the exam.

For a full directory of Colorado DMV offices, as well as the various other driver regulation agencies in Colorado, with a list of all online services offered and the contact information for any mode of communication, visit Locations.

The Day of Your Test...

When you are finally ready to get your license, make sure that you grab the appropriate documents and complete the right forms so the process is completed quickly within only one visit.

  • Proof of identification, birth date, legal name, and citizenship, as well as address. All documents must be original issue, as no copies of any type, even notarized, will be accepted.
  • Proof of Social Security Number.
  • Proof of residency in Colorado.
  • Affidavit of Liability and Guardianship for those under 18.
  • Check or cash for $14 fee.

Depending on your current age, you will  receive a learning permit after successful completion of your vision and written exams.

You will be required to hold the permit for a specific amount of time, after which you can take the road exam and receive your standard driver's license.

Taking the Colorado Driver's Written Examination

Once you feel that you have learned all there is to learn about driving in Colorado through the driver's handbook, completed any required driver training courses, and have collected all the necessary documents and completed the required forms, visit the DMV office closest to you at a suitable time to take your license written exam.

  • Taking your test will be just like the practice tests offered online, offering a series of multiple choice questions that concern the traffic and safety laws in Colorado. You must score at least 80% for a passing grade, after which you will be issued the permit.
  • If you fail your exam, you are able to retest that same day, but only if you had over half the questions answered correctly. If not, you must wait until the following business day to retest.

**The Colorado written exam is offered in Spanish for residents that would feel more comfortable testing in Spanish.

Get Your Vehicle Together

In order to take your Colorado road test, you will have to have a vehicle that is all your own, or that of a guardian, spouse, or other family member.

  • Finding a vehicle if you don't have one, is very easy and can be done right online through various websites, including the local newspaper classifieds that offer private sale offers. If you would prefer to deal with a dealership, there are many located throughout the state to offer new and pre-owned vehicles.
  • Your vehicle will be required to have current Colorado insurance and registration, as each is needed for driving legally in the state. Without insurance, you can't get registered, and without registration or insurance, you aren't going to be able to use your vehicle for the road test. The problem there is that you must be covered on the insurance policy of the vehicle you test in, as normal conditions apply.

Your Colorado Road Exam

Taking the road test in Colorado is not as scary as you think, and can be completed quite easily, granted you have obtained the appropriate training and practice behind the wheel. Before you can take the exam, you must set an appointment, and you must arrive with all of the following that apply to you:

  • Driver Time Log if Required
  • Learning Permit
  • $21 New License Fee
  • Registered and Insured Colorado Vehicle

For drivers from out of state getting a new license, a road exam is not required.

If you pass the exam, the driver's license office will instantly issue a temporary license in paper form to hold on to while you wait for your license by mail.

If you happen to fail the exam, you will be able to retest the following business day, granted you obtain an appointment. If the examiner feels you need more practice, however, your retest could be postponed.

Receiving Your Colorado Driver's License

Your standard driver's license will arrive by mail within 30 days of completing your road exam. If you haven't received it within that time, you must contact the local DMV office at which you applied for your license.

For drivers under 18, you will still have restrictions placed on your driver's license until you reach 18.

  • No driving between 12 midnight and 5 in the morning unless your license has been valid for a minimum of 1 year.
  • No driving with a passenger under 21 unless your license has been valid for a minimum of 6 months.
  • No driving with multiple passengers under 21 unless your license has been valid for at least one year.

Non-Citizens in Colorado

When you move or take temporary residence within Colorado from out of the country, your foreign license is only recognized for a period up to 90 days. After this time, your license must be traded in for a new Colorado driver's license.


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