Licensing a Vehicle


Effective July 1, 2006: Regardless of purchase date, the only person(s) that may pick up a title, registration and/or plates at the county must be a named owner of the vehicle. If not named on the paperwork, an original notarized power of attorney will be required.

License plates in Colorado belong to the owner and do not transfer to a buyer upon the sale of a vehicle.

When you purchase a vehicle, you have two choices for licensing. The first choice is to buy new plates. The second is to transfer Colorado plates which were on a vehicle that YOU owned and have sold, or are no longer driving.

If you choose to transfer plates from another vehicle, please bring the registration from the vehicle you are transferring the plates from.

New residents must register their vehicles within 90 days after becoming a resident.

Colorado requirements:

  • Own and operate a business.
  • Are gainfully employed in Colorado
  • Resides in Colorado for 90 consecutive days.

Please Note: License plates can be transferred only when the names indicating ownership are the same on the old and the new vehicle.

The State of Colorado maintains a database of insured vehicles, based upon information submitted by insurance agents. By law, the Clerk & Recorder's Office is required to verify insurance coverage for any vehicle at the time of registration before we can issue license plates to you. If your agent has not submitted your vehicle coverage information to the state database, your record of insurance will not be on the database. You will need to show us proof of insurance for that specific vehicle if verification is not available through the database.

The actual cost of the plates is determined by several factors; the weight of the vehicle, the date of purchase, the taxable value, whether or not sales tax will be due, and whether or not the title fee has been paid. Below are the fees you may be charged when licensing a vehicle:

  • The license fee is based on the weight of the vehicle. If you transfer plates, you are credited for the license fee you paid previously when you bought the plates for the old vehicle. The credit is prorated by the amount of time remaining on the existing registration.
  • The ownership tax is based on the year of the new vehicle, taxable value, and the date of the purchase.
  • If you purchase the vehicle from a Colorado dealer, the dealer will collect State sales tax. If you purchase a vehicle from a private party, the sales tax will be collected by our office. See Sales Tax Information. A bill of sale will be required to verify the purchase price unless there is a place on the title for purchase price.
  • The title fee of $7.20 is collected when you transfer title to a vehicle.

Upon registration you will receive a set of two license plates and two tabs to be placed on the rear license plate. One tab, which indicates the month of expiration, should be placed in the lower left corner of the rear plate. The second tab, which indicates the year of expiration, should be placed in the lower right corner of the rear plate.