How to Get a Colorado Driver’s License
Colorado has a Graduated Driver License program, or GDL, that will give you time to learn how to drive in a controlled way. There are three stages to this program, from no license to full license.
Completing the Colorado GDL takes about a year. First, you’ll complete a Colorado DMV approved driver training course for your learner’s permit. Then, 50 hours of supervised driving for a restricted license. Drive with it for 12 months, or until you turn 18, to receive your unrestricted license.
The steps below have the details you’ll need to know to get your full, unrestricted license.
Get your Colorado minor instruction permit
In Colorado, the minimum permit age varies. Fifteen-year-olds who are enrolled in Colorado DMV approved driver education may apply for an instruction permit.
If you’re ready to enroll in CODMV approved driver education, visit the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles’ Driving Schools and Testers List.
Their supervising driver must be a parent, stepparent, grandparent, guardian, or driving instructor.
At age 15, 6 months, driver education is no longer required, but applicants for this permit must have completed a four-hour driver awareness program. At 16, young drivers may apply for a permit that allows driving while supervised by a licensed driver age 21 or older.
To get ready for driving, you can download the Colorado Driver Handbook and start reading through it. At your local DMV location, you’ll need to fill out an application, bring in proof of identity, and pay a fee of $21.00 by debit card or check.
You will also need to pass a written exam based on the Colorado Driver Handbook. It’s a good idea to take a few Colorado DMV approved learner’s permit practice tests before exam day.
The test consists of 25 questions. You’ll need to answer 20 correctly to pass.
Don’t worry if you don’t pass it the first time. You can retake the test, but you will have to pay an $11.15 fee each time you do.
You will be given an official paper which is your Colorado DMV driver’s permit. You’ll need to have that with you every time you’re behind the wheel.
You have to have your permit for at least 12 months before you can apply for an unrestricted Colorado driver’s license. During that time, you’ll need to have 50 hours driving practice with 10 of those being at night. You may drive ONLY with the adult who signed the DR2460 Form if you are under 18.
All teen drivers must complete a Colorado DMV-approved driver’s education course. There are three options depending on your age when you start:
- Driver’s Ed Course – A minimum 30-hour classroom-based course that covers all aspects of driving.
- Driver Awareness Program – A minimum 4-hour classroom-based course.
- Behind-the-Wheel Training – A minimum 6-hour field-based course.
When you’re ready to enroll in driver education, find a driving school to get started.
Get your Colorado minor license
Receiving your license requires that you’ve completed certain requirements. Those are reaching the age of 16 and completing driver training instruction.
When you’re ready to take your Colorado DMV driving test, you can schedule an appointment online.
Driving Skills Test: You will be required to pass a driving test with a DMV evaluator who will make sure you can perform basic driving tasks safely.
Before you take it, you should check out the Top 10 Automatic Fails on Driver Tests, so you’ll know what not to do on test day.
Vision Test: Visit your family practice or any vision specialist to obtain a vision test. Colorado applicants must pass with a vision test of 20/40 or greater to be eligible for a driver’s license.
The application fee for your license is $33.00.
Your Colorado driver’s license will be mailed to you and will have your photograph on it. They take your picture the day you pass your driving skills test.
This license will come with the following restrictions: For the first 6 months you cannot have any passengers under 21 years old, and in the second 6 months you can have no more than one passenger. Additionally, you and all your passengers must wear their seat belts.
Teens under age 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving. Of course, there is zero tolerance for drunk driving.
As you continue to learn how to operate a motor vehicle in different conditions, there are certain hours when you won’t be able to drive. Those are midnight to 5:00 am.
Getting your full unrestricted CO license
At a certain point, the state feels that you’ve been able to receive enough supervised driving experience that you can go out on your own. Therefore, once you reach 18 or have had your CO minor license for one year, you can get your full license.
This means that previous restrictions are lifted. However, you will not receive an updated license until that one expires. After you renew your license, you will receive your full, unrestricted Colorado driver’s license in the mail.
Whether you’ve just finished your Colorado graduated licensing process, or are just starting out, you might also want to consider a telematic companion application to better understand your driving habits, and how to improve them.
The best option is the DriverZ Virtual Coach. Download it today to sharpen your S.P.I.D.E.R.Senses™ to build the driving skills that will keep you safe for a lifetime, track your supervised driving hours, and access bespoke driver training based on your specific needs.
Frequently asked questions
Here are answers to some common questions you might have as you start out on your CO graduated licensing journey.
Can I drive with an out of state learner’s permit in Colorado?
New residents with out of state permits are allowed to take a single driving test to acquire to unrestricted Colorado driver’s license, but you will have to meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 16 years old.
- Complete the Behind the Wheel portion of the Colorado DMV approved driver education requirements, if you’re younger than 16 years and 6 months old.
- Complete the supervised driving hour requirements
- Have held a valid for 1 year · A completed Affidavit of Liability and Guardianship
Can I replace a lost or stolen learner’s or minor license?
Colorado drivers can replace lost or stolen learners, minor, or driver’s licenses by scheduling an appointment with the Colorado DMV.
Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles information
For comprehensive information on everything related to the Colorado graduated licensing program, visit the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles. You can also call 1-303-205-5600 Monday – Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Prepare for your license journey by reviewing the Colorado Driver Handbook, and taking a few practice tests.