Colorado Vehicle Registration Requirements (A Complete 2024 Guide)

Colorado Vehicle Registration Requirements (A Complete Guide)

Need to get your vehicle registered in Colorado?

It may seem a bit overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what to do. 

We understand. 

That’s why we’re here to help.

Today, we’ll give you the complete Colorado vehicle registration requirements guide. PLUS, we’ll tell you how to renew a registration and the penalties for not registering your vehicle. 

So are you ready?

Let’s jump right in!

Vehicle Registration Laws in Colorado

The vehicle registration laws in Colorado have mostly to do with when to register. 

  • Within 60 days after purchase
  • Within 90 days after becoming a Colorado resident
  • Within 40 days after return to the United States

But who should register their vehicles in Colorado? 

  • If you live in the state and operate a vehicle from Colorado
  • If you’re an owner of a foreign vehicle being operated within Colorado
  • If you’re a non-resident operating a business and own a vehicle in Colorado

Penalties for Late Vehicle Registration in Colorado

If you do not register your vehicle on time, you will face penalties. 

There is a $25 fee for each month you are late. So it gets more expensive the later it is. 

How to Register Your Car in Colorado 

For car registration in Colorado, you need to go to a Motor Vehicle office in your area. You also need to bring several documents. 

Let’s go over these documents one by one. 

Vehicle Title

To register your car in Colorado, your vehicle must have a title assigned in your name. If the vehicle has a title from another state, the vehicle identification number (VIN) must be verified.

Secure and Verifiable Identification

You must have a secure and verifiable ID for your vehicle to have new titles, duplicate titles, new registrations, new temporary registration permits, and new placards.

The following are valid IDs:

  • Any Colorado driver’s license, driver’s permit, or Identification card that is current or expired in less than one year 
  • An out-of-state photo driver’s license, photo ID card, or photo driver’s permit that is current or expired in less than one year
  • A U.S territory photo driver’s license, photo ID card, or photo driver’s permit that is current or expired in less than one year. (US territories include American Samoa, Guam, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, etc.)
  • US Passport that is current or expired less than 10 years
  • A valid foreign passport with I-94, 1551 resident alien/permanent resident cards, I688B temporary resident, or I766 employment authorization cards
  • A valid US military ID (active, dependent, retired, reserve, or National Guard)
  • A Tribal Identification Card with photo
  • A certificate of Naturalization with photo
  • A certificate of (US) Citizenship with photo

Colorado Vehicle Emission

You should also provide proof of Colorado vehicle emissions, such as gasoline or diesel.

Auto Insurance

Another document you should bring is proof of auto insurance. Without this, your registration will be denied or delayed. 

Here is a list of the forms of proof of insurance you may provide:

  • Colorado Insurance card
  • Copy of your Colorado insurance policy
  • Insurance company letter
  • Soft copy printout from insurer
  • Proof of insurance facsimile
  • Soft copy proof of insurance
  • An email sent from the insurer

Other Documents

Here are other documents you should bring when registering your car in Colorado:

  • Proof of self-insurance
  • Vehicle specifics – make, year, VIN, etc.
  • Blanket or Owner Operator policies
  • Affidavit of Non-Use vehicle (for vehicles that you register but won’t use)

Registration Fees

Of course, you also need to bring the appropriate registration fee.

Now, the fees depend on your vehicle weight and type. 

Plus, there are additional fees based on county of residence and license plate.

Note: Payment is accepted via cash, check, or credit card.

Check out this table showing you all the fees: 

Motor Vehicle FeeFee AmountUse
Registration Fee ● $3.00 (motorcycles)

● $6.00 (passenger vehicles up to 2,000 pounds)
Extra $0.20 per 100 pounds up to 4,500 pounds

● $12.50 (passenger vehicles up to 4,500 pounds or more
Extra $0.60 for every additional 100 pounds
Fee credited to the Highway Users Tax Fund. (Section 42‑3‑306 (2), C.R.S.)
Road Safety Surcharge● $16.00 (motorcycles and vehicles up to 2,000 pounds or less)

● $23.00 (vehicles up to 2,001 to 5,000 pounds)

● $28.00 (vehicles up to 5,001 to 10,000 pounds)

● $37.00 (passenger buses and vehicles up to 10,001 to 16,000 pounds)

● $39.00 (vehicles more than 16,000 pounds)
Fee credited to the Highway Users Tax Fund. (Section 43‑4‑804 (1), C.R.S.)
Bridge Safety Surcharge● $13.00 maximum surcharge (motorcycles, trailer coaches, multipurpose trailers, and vehicles up to 2,000 pounds or less)

● $18.00 maximum surcharge (vehicles up to 2,001 to 5,000 pounds)

● $23.00 maximum surcharge (vehicles up to 5,001 to 10,000 pounds)

● $29.00 maximum surcharge (vehicles up to 10,001 to 16,000 pounds or passenger buses)

● $32.00 maximum surcharge (vehicles more than 16,000 pounds)
Fee credited to the Bridge Special Fund.  Has scheduled fee increases set for subsequent fiscal years. (Section 43‑4‑805 (3)(a), C.R.S.)
Public Highway Authority Fee● $10.00Fee is collected annually for registered vehicles within the public highway authority boundaries. (Section 43‑4‑506 (1)(k), C.R.S)
Emissions Control Fees● $0.50 ( plus an extra $0.70)

● $1.50 (vehicles in the emissions program area)
These fees are assessed at registration and are credited to the AIR account.  The fees are used for emissions program enforcement efforts and administration of the program by the Department of Public Health and Environment and the Department of Revenue. (Section 42‑3‑304 (18)(a) and (18)(b), C.R.S.)
Additional Highway Fee (based on the age of the vehicle)● $12.00 (vehicles under 7 years old)

● $10.00 (vehicles between 7 and 10 years old)

● $7.00 (vehicles 11 years old and older)
Fees credited to the Highway Users Tax Fund. (Section 42‑3‑306 (2)(b)(II), C.R.S.)
Emergency Medical Services Fee● $2.00Fee credited to the Emergency Medical Services Account in the Highway Users Tax Fund. (Section 42‑3‑304 (21), C.R.S.)
Additional Registration Fee● $0.50 (motor vehicles not exempted from the Motorist Insurance Identification Fee)

● $0.10 (motor vehicles exempted from the Motorist Insurance Identification Fee)
Fee credited to the Colorado State Titling and Registration Account in the Highway Users Tax Fund. (Section 42‑3‑306 (14)(a), C.R.S.)
Motorist Insurance Identification Fee● annually adjustedFee credited to Colorado State Titling and Registration Account. (Section 42‑1‑211 (2), C.R.S.)
Motorcycle Surcharge Fee● $4.00Fee collected for all motorcycle registrations and credited to the Motorcycle Operator Safety Training Fund. (Section 42‑3‑304 (4), C.R.S.)
Diesel Fee● $10.00Fee collected for all qualified diesel vehicles registering within the AIR program area and credited to the AIR account. (Section 42‑3‑304 (20), C.R.S)
Peace Officers Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) Board Fee● $1.00Fee collected at registration on Class A, B, and C vehicles. (Section 42‑3‑304 (24), C.R.S)
County Road and Bridge Fees● $1.50Fee collected for maintaining county highways, roads, and bridges. (Section 42‑3‑310, C.R.S.).
Plug-in Electric Vehicle Fee● $50.00Fee annually collected on plug-in electric vehicles. 
$30 of the fee is credited to the Highway Users Tax Fund and $20 is credited to the electric vehicle grant fund. (Section 42‑3‑304 (25), C.R.S.)

How to Renew Car Registration in Colorado 

You will have to renew your car registration every year in Colorado. 

Usually, the DMV will send a reminder when your vehicle needs to be renewed. The renewal notice from the Colorado DMV will send you the following:

  • Fees you need to pay for registration renewal
  • Local county clerk’s mailing address
  • Requirements for insurance 
  • Requirements for emissions

The good news is that you can renew through several channels. 

Renewing Your Vehicle Registration Online

For convenient registration renewal, you can do it online. 

You simply need to:

  1. Visit the Colorado DMV renewal portal
  2. Click ‘Renew Vehicle Registration’
  3. Follow the online prompts
  4. Pay your owed fees

As easy as that!

Renewing Your Vehicle Registration In Person or Through Mail

Say you don’t have access to the internet. 

Or maybe you just aren’t tech-savvy. 

Well, you can renew your registration at a DMV office or through the mail, too. 

Here’s what you need:

  • The registration renewal notice received in the mail
  • Proof your vehicle has passed the emissions test (if applicable)
  • Your vehicle’s insurance policy copy
  • Payment for the owed fees

That said, each of the counties in Colorado has different standards and regulations. So make sure you check your registration renewal notice carefully. 

To submit these documents, you can go to your nearest DMV office or mail them to the office.


And there you have it!

Your complete guide to Colorado vehicle registration requirements. 

As you can see, registering your vehicle in Colorado doesn’t take much effort. It’s even easier to renew it, thanks to the online renewal portal. 

So what are you waiting for?

You should register or renew your vehicle’s registration right away!

I mean, you don’t want to face the penalties. 

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