The state of Colorado offers a variety of benefits for drivers who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the past, or are current active military members.
Vehicle registration benefits
The state of Colorado provides military veterans who are at least 50% disabled (or have documented loss of use of one or both feet or hands, or loss of sight in both eyes) as a result of service-connected injury with a disabled veteran license plate, free of charge. In order to qualify for the disabled veteran plate you must provide the vehicle title (if applying in person) or a photocopy of the title, along with the application. You must also provide a letter from the VA verifying your disability. Note that this license plate does not entitle the owner to park in handicap parking spaces – applicants must seek those privileges separately.
Driver’s license veteran designation
Colorado veterans are eligible for a military or veteran designation on their driver license. In order to qualify, you must apply in person at a driver license office, and provide an original DD 214 with honorable discharge (if applicable) and a valid military ID card. There is no need to provide these documents when you renew your driver license.
Military honor plates
Colorado offers a range of military license plates commemorating various Armed Forces branches, conflicts, military service awards, and specific military units. Some of these plates are available as military exempt, meaning fees and taxes are waived. These include:
- Congressional Medal of Honor
- Former Prisoner of War
- Air Force Cross
- Distinguished Service Cross
- Pearl Harbor Survivor
- Purple Heart
- Navy Cross
- Silver Star
- Distinguished Flying Cross
In order to be eligible for the above plates, you must provide appropriate documentation as proof of service or the award received, along with the application.
Other military honor plates are available for an additional fee on top of the regular plate fees.
Military skills test waiver
The Commercial Learner’s Permit Rule is the work of the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) and serves as a gateway for military veterans and active personnel to apply their commercial driving experience to life back home. If you have a minimum of two years of experience driving military vehicles that are comparable to commercial vehicles, you may be eligible to bypass the CDL road skills test and simply take the written test in order to get your commercial license. Your military driving experience has to have taken place during the year prior to your application (if still active in the service) or within the 12 months prior to discharge.
In addition, you’ve got to certify to your licensing agency that you have experience as a safe driver, haven’t had more than one license except your military driver license within the past two years, and that your regular driver license hasn’t been revoked, suspended, or cancelled. There are specific motor vehicle violations (such as DUI) that can also disqualify you from the program.
All 51 U.S. territories, including Colorado, offer the Military Skills Test Waiver. Military personnel who meet the experience and driving record qualifications can download and print the waiver here.
Military Commercial Driver’s License Act of 2012
This law benefits you if you’re qualified to drive a commercial vehicle but you’re not residing in your home state. Whether you’re in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Reserves, or National Guard, you may be able to obtain a CDL in Colorado even though you're only stationed there (either permanently or temporarily).
Driver license and registration renewal while deployed
If you are deployed or stationed out of state when your driver license is due for renewal, the state of Colorado allows you, your spouse, and dependents to apply for a three-year extension. You need to fax or mail your name, birthdate, driver license number, a copy of the front and back of your military ID, and current address, along with the application.
Fax to: (303) 205-5990 Mail to: Colorado Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles Room 164 – ROS, P.O. Box 173350, Denver, CO 80217
Deployed or out-of-state military personnel must abide by standard Colorado registration renewal procedures.
Non-resident military personnel driver license and vehicle registration
Non-resident military personnel may register their vehicles in Colorado with exemption from ownership tax by filling out DR 2667 (Nonresidence and Military Service Exemption from Specific Ownership Tax Affidavit).
Non-resident military personnel and their families are permitted to retain their home state driver license for as long as it remains valid.
Active or veteran military personnel can read more at the state’s motor vehicle division website here.