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Colorado License Plate Search

All vehicles, including cars, vans, trucks, trailers, and motorhomes, must have a valid license plate in Colorado. You can register your vehicle at the DMV and require validation tags in addition to your vehicle’s registration.

Sample Colorado License Plate

Sample Colorado License Plate

When to Apply for a License Plate in Colorado

You must go to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Colorado to register your vehicle within 60 days of its purchase.

If you are a new resident of Colorado, you should visit the DMV to register your out-of-state vehicle with 90 days of your arrival.

In addition to applying for a license plate, you are also required to purchase validation tags.

Validation Tags for Colorado License Plates

You’re required to obtain registration tabs to validate your registered vehicle. If you are driving a car, van, or truck, you will be required to have plates on both the front and back of your vehicle.

These tags are valid for 12 months and required to be renewed each year.

Renewing Colorado License Plate Tags

Since your tags are only valid for 12 months, you are expected to renew them before they expire. Failure to do so would put you in the position of driving illegally which has financial consequences.

You can renew your vehicle’s tags by applying online, sending an application in the mail, or visiting the DMV in person.

Renewal fees will vary, depending on your vehicle and type of license plate.

Types of License Plates in Colorado

The types of license plates available in colorado can be split into the following categories:

  • Standard License Plates
  • Personalized License plates
  • Specialized License Plates
  • Disability License Plates

Temporary License Plates in Colorado

If you are purchasing a new vehicle or waiting for your plates to be sent, you must obtain a temporary permit or license plate which allows you to drive your vehicle.

You should visit the DMV prior to purchasing a vehicle unless you are doing to a dealership. Most dealerships will provide you with a temporary permit to drive your car home and to the DMV.

Temporary license plates and permits are usually valid for up to 60 days.

Applying for a License Plate in Colorado

When you register your vehicle at the DMV in Colorado, you should bring with you the following:

  • Valid car insurance
  • Valid piece of ID (i.e. driverès license, passport, etc.)
  • Emissions test results and certification
  • Proof of purchase and title
  • Money to pay for fees and taxes

Each country has different requirements for the registration of your vehicle. Please contact the nearest DMV to get more information.

Note: Counties of Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Jefferson, Adams, Arapahoe, Larimer and Weld require passing emissions results before you can register a vehicle.

Costs License Plates in Colorado

The costs connected to license plates in Colorado varies from county to county. You’ll have to contact your county’s DMV to get an accurate quote for fees. However, here’s a quick list of how the determine your fees:

  • Sales Tax - You will be charged based on the amount of money you spent on your vehicle.
  • License fee - You will be charged based on the weight, date of purchase, and taxable value of your vehicle.
  • Ownership Tax- You will be charged a percentage based on what your vehicle was worth brand new (i.e. personal property tax).

When you register your vehicle, you may be able to pay for any applicable fees using cash, MasterCard, Discover Card, VISA.

Specialty License Plates in Colorado

If you’re not satisfied with the standard license plate offered by the state of Colorado, you can choose from an assortment of specialty styles. Here’s a list of just a few choices:

  • Horseless Carriage License Plates
  • Street Rod License plates
  • Vietnam Veteran Tag
  • U.S. Army License Plate
  • Air Force Academy License Plate [$50 annual fee]
  • Western State College License Plate
  • Colorado State University License Plate [Min. $100 Donation required]
  • Support the Troops License Plate
  • Adopt a Shelter License Plate [includes $30 donation to Pet Overpopulation Fund]

There are more specialty plates to choose from in Colorado. You must apply for the plate you want and be eligible for certain ones, such as any war veterans plates. You must also pay any additional fees that are included with these specialty plates.

Personalizing Colorado License Plates

Instead of getting a fancy license plate, you can choose to put a clever phrase or unique string of characters on the front and back of your vehicle. These are known as vanity plates and you are required to:

  1. Explain the meaning of your license plate number
  2. Not use offensive or misleading numbers
  3. Avoid plate numbers already in use
  4. Use up to 7 characters
  5. Choose a combination of letters, numbers, spaces, dashes, and dots

If you fail to explain the meaning for your license plate, your application for a personalized plate may be declined.

The cost for these plates is an additional $50 on top of your standard registration fees. Renewing these plates cost only $25 and your regular renewal rates.

Replacing Stolen or Missing Colorado License Plates

Should you find your license plates are missing or believe them to be stolen, go immediately to police and file a report. Afterward take a copy of this report to a local DMV in your county and submit the following:

  • Form DR 2283: Lost or Stolen License Plate/Permit
  • Payment for fees [different for each county]

You should always report your missing plates to the police to prevent misuse and abuse.

How to lookup Colorado license plates

It is possible to search for license plates in Colorado for free. Go to FindByPlate to start a search and obtain information about a license plate available, past history, and more.

Here is a step by step guide on how to lookup Colorado License Plates and report bad drivers:

  1. Open a web browser
  2. Go to
  3. Enter the plate number and select state
  4. View the report
  5. View images submitted by the community
  6. View videos submitted by the community
  7. Add comments
  8. Add pictures of the vehicle
  9. Add videos related to the vehicle