What is the New Colorado License Law all About?

On June 5, 2013, Colorado Governor Hickenlooper signed into law the Colorado Road and Community Safety Act (referred to as “SB-251”), which will allow Colorado residents — including undocumented persons – to apply for state identification documents (licenses, permits and IDs) without the requirement that they prove permanent lawful presence in the United States. The law will go into effect on August 1, 2014.

SB-251 impacts all Colorado residents who are not legal permanent residents or U.S. citizens. While the press focus has been on the undocumented community’s access to licenses, individuals who are “temporarily lawfully present” in Colorado are also subject to the restricted license. Such persons include non-immigrants (H-1B, F-1 students, J-1 exchange visitors, E-2 investors), asylees, DACA recipients and I-485 applicants, to name a few. While these persons used to be eligible for an unrestricted Colorado license, they now will only be able to apply for the restricted license.  For those with temporary lawful presence, the applicant must show valid ID, proof of Colorado residence, proof of lawful presence and must undergo a check through the USCIS SAVE system. This is essentially the same process as before.

For those who have no lawful presence, after August 1st, such persons may also be eligible for a restricted license in Colorado. The process is new and will be somewhat difficult to navigate initially due to the large numbers applying and the fact the program is new. Nevertheless, these are the general requirements:

The applicants have a choice of meeting the Tax Filing Option or if no tax filing, then showing proof of residence in the state for 2 years.

For the Tax Filing Option, the applicants must:

1. Sign an affidavit attesting to present Colorado residency;

2. Present evidence of residence in Colorado; and

3. Present proof of return filing of Colorado taxes for the immediately preceding year.

For the 24-month presence requirement, the applicants must:

1. Sign an affidavit attesting to continuous residence in Colorado for the past two years

2. Present evidence of current residence in Colorado and residence for the past two years.

In addition, these applicants must provide proof that the IRS has assigned the person an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or that they have a valid Social Security Number.

These applicants must also present one of the following documents from the applicant’s country of origin: passport, consular ID, or military ID.

All of the applicants under SB-251 – both temporary lawful present persons and not lawfully present persons must apply ONLY at 5 DMV processing centers.

  • Denver Central: 1865 W. Mississippi Ave., #C, Denver, Colorado 80223
  • Aurora: 14391 E. Ave., Aurora, Colorado 80011
  • Colorado Springs: 2446 N. Union Blvd., Colorado Spring, Colorado 80909
  • Ft. Collins: 3030 South College, Ste.100, Fort Collins, Colorado 80525
  • Grand Junction: 222 S. 6th St., #111, Grand Junction, Colorado 81501

Furthermore, these applicants can ONLY apply by appointment via the DMV website at https://www.colorado.gov/apps/jboss/dor/online/appointment/scheduling/index.xhtml or by calling (303) 205-2335. There is no walk-in option. This system is clearly not sufficient to support the current demand, as the scheduling is now booked through October 31st with no option to schedule in November yet. Once obtained, the license is valid for 3 years and can be renewed if the applicant remains eligible.

DMV Investigations has been referring cases for criminal prosecution where applicants have had a prior history of using false identification or social security numbers or documents with the DMV. This has been resulting in deportation or removal from the US. No regulations or guidelines have been provided by the DMV on this issue to date.

If you have general questions about the new Colorado driver’s license laws, please contact Denver and Boulder attorney Catherine Brown at 303-322-2117. If you have prior criminal or DMV issues, it is best if you consult with a criminal attorney, traffic attorney or other relevant attorney before proceeding with an application for an identification document in Colorado.



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