Understanding Colorado’s DMV System – Tips for Denver Residents

Few mundane tasks strike fear and loathing into one’s heart like the need to visit the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles. Long lines, limited locations, staffing shortages, and a convoluted system that requires multiple visits to multiple offices can make putting off a visit to the DMV seem like a very good idea.Denver DMV

Unfortunately, driving an improperly registered vehicle or without a valid driving license in Colorado can subject you to hefty fines and penalties. So getting to the DMV to register or renew your license plates or obtain or renew your driving license is something that most Denver residents have to do at one time or another. The good news is that with a bit of forethought and planning, your encounter with Colorado’s DMV system can be relatively smooth and stress-free.

Driving Licenses

One thing that makes Colorado unique from many other states is the requirement that driving licenses be obtained and renewed only at state DMV offices, not at county DMV locations. County DMV locations are exclusively for services related to your vehicle, such as title services and registering or renewing your vehicle tags. Likewise, you cannot take care of vehicle-related tasks at the state DMV offices.

At the state DMV offices, you can:

  • Apply for a learner’s permit, driver’s license or motorcycle endorsement
  • Renew or update your existing driving license
  • Schedule and take your road test
  • Obtain driving records
  • Reinstate a suspended license

There are two state DMV offices in the Denver metropolitan area:

Vehicle Registration

All vehicles in Colorado must be registered within the county where the owner resides. Vehicle registration cannot be done at state DMV locations.

Within Denver County, there are four DMV locations where vehicle registration services can be completed. All locations are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

  • Northwest Branch | 3698 W. 44th Avenue | Denver, CO | (park in the lot in front of the building)
  • Northeast Branch | 4685 Peoria Street | Denver, CO | (park in front or back of the building or on Paris Street)
  • Southwest Branch | 3100 S. Sheridan Blvd. | Denver, CO | (park in the lot in front of the building)
  • Tremont Branch | 2855 Tremont Place | Denver, CO | (park in the lot in back of the building on Glenarm Street)

Timesaving Tips!

Take some of the hassle out of your encounter with the Colorado DMV by following our timesaving tips.

  • Avoid visiting a DMV office on Fridays or during the last few days of the month, when volume is at its peak. DMV offices process between 15,000 and 18,000 in-person renewals each month. Since most offices are facing staffing shortages at the moment, you can easily see why waits are so long and frustrating!
  • Skip the office visit and renew your driving license online at http://www.colorado.gov/apps/dor/dmv/smartstart/cardCenter.jsf
  • Renew your vehicle registration online, by mail or by phone and avoid the lines altogether.
  • Online – https://www.colorado.gov/apps/dor/dmv/vehicle/registration/renewal/welcome.jsf
  • Phone – Call (720) 865-4600; you can use your credit card or electronic check
  • Mail – Send all required documentation, payment (payable to “Manager of Finance”) and your renewal notice to: Denver Motor Vehicle Division, Denver, CO 80263-0001

Proper licensure and registration are the first steps to making sure you are ready for the road. Drive safe and make sure to utilize our helpful hints when you have to visit your local DMV.




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