In 2013, Colorado became one of twelve states and the District of Colombia to enact laws to allow unauthorized immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. Senate Bill 13-251 authorizes the issuance of a Colorado driver license, instruction permit or identification card (ID) to undocumented Coloradans. However, there were several flaws with the original law that severely restricted the ability of undocumented residents to obtain driver’s licenses in Colorado.
Previously, the law required that a person applying for a license have a valid individual tax ID number (ITIN), but many immigrants have valid Social Security numbers instead, and people who have Social Security numbers cannot apply for ITINs. In 2018, the Colorado legislature passed SB18-108 to allow a person to present a Social Security number as an alternative to an ITIN, thereby allowing thousands more unauthorized immigrants to participate in the program.
Recently, Governor Polis has indicated that he will likely sign Senate Bill 19-139 into law after a 42-22 vote in the Colorado House of Representatives. That bill aims to fix the severe backlog in the program by expanding the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) offices that process licenses for undocumented residents from 4 offices (mostly in urban areas) to 10 offices dispersed throughout Colorado. The new offices are phased in, so that the department will have 8 offices open by January 1, 2020 and 10 offices open by July 1, 2020.
These changes to the program will expand access to many more undocumented Coloradans, thereby making roads more safe and ensuring that thousands of hardworking Coloradans can get to work, seek medical attention in an emergency, and better provide for themselves and their families. Currently, in order to obtain a license, permit or ID card in Colorado, individuals who cannot prove lawful presence must follow the following steps:
***Please note that if you have previously applied for a driver’s license in any state and provided false information, if you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest, or if you have been ordered removed or deported from the United States in the past, please consult with an immigration attorney before applying for a Colorado license, permit or ID card.***
- Schedule an appointment. You must make an appointment to obtain a new license, ID or permit, or to renew an old one. Currently, there are only three DMV offices that process licenses and renewals for undocumented residents:
- Westgate, located at 3265 S. Wadsworth Blvd in Lakewood;
- Grand Junction, located at 222 S. 6th #111 in Grand Junction; and
- Colorado Springs, located at 2447 N. Union Blvd in Colorado Springs.
- Additionally, the Aurora office, located at 14391 E. 4th, processes renewals only.
To schedule an appointment, go to https://coloradodor.hosted.acftechnologies.com/WAColorado/ACFCustom/Service.aspx and click the yellow box, or call 303/205-2335 (renewal appointments are only available by telephone). New appointments are released at 8 a.m., noon, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. each business day and usually fill up within minutes of being released. All appointments are scheduled ninety days out.
- Bring documents to your appointment. Once you have made an appointment, you must gather the following documents.
You must prove that you are a Colorado resident, by doing one of the following:
- Sign an affidavit (Form DR 2212A) that states you are currently a resident of Colorado, present evidence of residence in Colorado, and present a Colorado Proof of Tax Return Filing (a certified copy of the Colorado Income Tax Return Form DR 5714, which must be notarized) for the immediately preceding year; or
- Sign an affidavit (Form DR 2212A) that states that you have continuously been a resident in Colorado for the immediately preceding twenty-four months, and present evidence of current residence in Colorado and for the immediately preceding twenty-four months.
The affidavit Form DR 2212A, can be found here: (attach PDF); mark whichever box applies to you. A list of acceptable documents to prove your residency in Colorado can be found here: https://www.colorado.gov/dmv/proof-address. The Colorado Income Tax Return Form DR 5714 form is available at: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/filed/251DR5714.pdf.
ITIN or Social Security Number
You must also provide documentation of your Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), either through a certified Colorado Proof of Tax Return Filing, ITIN card issued by the IRS, or green ITIN letter sent by the IRS.
Under Senate Bill 18-108, you may now present a social security card issued by the Internal Revenue Service in place of an ITIN.
Applying for Lawful Presence
Further, you must sign an affidavit (Form DR 2212A) that you have applied to be lawfully present within the United States or you will apply to be lawfully present as soon as you are eligible. Use the same Affidavit Form DR 2212A as you used previously for Colorado Residency.
You must also provide one of the following documents from your country of origin: (i) Passport; (ii) Consular Identification Card; or (iii) Military Identification Document. These documents must contain your full legal name, date of birth, date of issuance, country of issuance, and your photograph. The documents will be accepted 10 years from the date of the listed expiration date, or, if there is no expiration date, 10 years from the date of issuance. If the documents are not in English, you must present the original documents and corresponding translations.
- Take the written and driving tests. If you are applying for a driver’s license, you will be required to take a written test and a driving test. The written test is provided in English and Spanish. You will be provided the opportunity to take the test two times during your appointment provided you get more than 50% of the questions correct on the first test. If you do not pass the driving test, you have the option of taking the test at a third party school within 60 days of failing the test at the DMV. Once you pass the test at a third party school, you have 180 days to return to the DMV and present your passing certificate.
- Pay the fee. The fees are $33 for a Driver License, $21 for an Instruction Permit, and $13 for an Identification Card. You may pay by cash, check (made payable to DOR) or credit card.
Renew. You must renew your driver license or identification card every three years. In order to renew, you must make an appointment at one of the four offices listed above. At your appointment, you must present your previously issued card. Note that if your driver license has been expired for more than one year, you will need to retake the written and driving tests. You must also present proof of Colorado Residency as outlined above as well as evidence of any legal name change, if applicable.