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Colorado Driver's License & ID Card

*** Please note that due to Colorado Senate Bill 13-251, the process for international students to obtain a Colorado driver's license or ID card may change as of August 1, 2014. Visit DMV's CO-RCSA SB251 webpage for more details.

It is necessary to have a valid driver's license to operate a motor vehicle in Colorado. In most cases, students can drive for ninety days using a valid license from another state or country before they must apply for a Colorado Driver's License. Visit the DMV's Requirements for Residency page for more details.

Students should consider obtaining an International Driving Permit (IDP) before coming to the United States. This document translates a foreign driver's license into multiple languages including English. However, the IDP does not give any authorization to drive in the United States without a valid foreign license.

If you decide not to apply for a driver's license while in the United States, you may apply for a Colorado Identification card (ID Card) which is a form of identification that will be helpful for you in administrative matters (writing checks, completing applications etc) and social matters (admittance to certain establishments with age requirements), as well as give you a form of identification in lieu of your immigration papers. However, it does not allow you to drive.

For more information about applying for a driver's license or ID card, visit the main DMV website and their Driver's License and ID Card Center webpage.

Applying for a Driver's License or ID Card

When you apply for a Colorado state driver's license or state ID card, it is necessary to pay the application fee. When you are ready to apply for a license or ID card, you will need to take the following documents to the DMV office:

  • Original I-20 or DS-2019 - current and past copies (If your most recent I-20 or DS-2019 does not have a Port of Entry stamp on it, please see Colorado Connection Letter below.)
  • Passport with Port of Entry stamp verifying status
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record (card or electronic printout)
  • Social Security number or SSN letter of denial from Social Security Administration office (see Social Security Number below)
  • Proof of residential address (See DMV web page for more details)

If you are in J-1 status and your program sponsor is not a Colorado school or employer, you will need an original letter from your sponsor listing a Colorado school or employer as the appropriate designee.

Social Security Number

Colorado state law requires applicants for a driver's license or ID card to present a Social Security number (SSN) to the DMV. If you do not have a Social Security number, please visit the Social Security Number web page for more information.

If you are ineligible to receive an SSN, you must still visit a Social Security Administration (SSA) office and request a letter of denial for a Social Security Number before going to the DMV. The Colorado DMV has stated that the SSN letter of denial must be presented within 30 days of issuance.

If you have recently arrived in the United States, please visit our Social Security Number web page section When to Apply for a Social Security Number for some important information.

Colorado Connection Letter

One requirement for non-immigrants in F or J status is to present a letter verifying a connection to Colorado if they do not have an original Port of Entry stamp on their most recent I-20 or DS-2019.

To request this letter, please complete our Document Request Form (DRF). In Section C, choose Colorado Connection Letter for Department of Motor Vehicles.

Driver's License Testing

Before applying for a driver's license, you should review Colorado state driving laws in the Colorado Driver Handbook. You do not need an appointment to apply for a driver's license or to take the written exam, but you must make an appointment in advance for the road test portion of the application. You may make an appointment by telephone or in person. If you complete a private driver's education course, the written and road test portions of the application may be waived. Many automobile insurance companies offer lower rates for customers who have completed a driver's education course.

If you already have a valid driver's license from another state, you may be able to exchange your current out-of-state license for a Colorado license without taking the exams.

DMV Locations

There are several DMV locations in the Denver area. Listed below are the two that are nearest the DU campus. Both office offer renewal and replacement of driver's licenses, as well as processing of initial applications for a driver's license or ID card.

Name Telephone Location Hours
Denver Central 303-937-9507 1865 W. Mississippi Ave. #C M - F, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Littleton 303-795-5954 Oakbrook Shopping Center
311 E. County Line Road
Littleton, CO 80122
M - F, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.