SB-251 Driver’s Licenses

Sample SB251 driver’s license | Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles (note: many Colorado residents with lawful immigration status, including those with TPS and DACA, receive identical looking licenses)

The Colorado Road and Community Safety Act (CO-RCSA), otherwise known as SB-251 or driver’s licenses for all, provides drivers licenses to all Colorado residents, regardless of immigration status. Up until 1998, all immigrants had access to a driver’s license in Colorado irrespective of their immigration status. Driving without a license has resulted in tickets, vehicle impoundment, arrests, and thousands of deportations.

The SB-251 program has successfully provided documents to nearly 113,000 Coloradans as of 2020. There are 11 offices throughout the state of Colorado offering driver’s licenses to undocumented Coloradans. To make an appointment, call 303-205-2335 or visit the DMV website

To learn more about the program, required documents and the appointment process, please visit this Informed Immigrant page, made in collaboration with the I Drive Coalition partners FWD.us, or visit the DMV’s SB251 Program page

SB251 License FAQ

It is a law passed in 2013 to make Colorado driver’s licenses available to all regardless of their immigration status. Immigrant communities and allies fought for 10 years to make this a reality. The fight for licenses started with a group of undocumented immigrants “El Comité en Defensa del Pueblo” who decided to organize to fight for driver’s licenses for the community in 2001. Some of the same leaders were a part of the movement when SB251 was finally passed in Colorado in 2013.
It has language on the front to distinguish it from a Real ID license, “Not valid for federal identification, voting or public benefit purposes.” Importantly, undocumented immigrants are not alone in receiving a marked license. Immigrants with temporary lawful presence, such as DACA and TPS, also receive an identical SB251 license.
You can use your SB-251 license to drive and to identify yourself to police officers, for example in a traffic stop and as a state-issued ID. As of October 2021, you will not be able to use your SB-252 license to board an airplane. It does not make you eligible for any public benefits that you aren’t eligible for before getting a driver’s license, and does not authorize you to work or give you the right to vote.
Please take care of them before applying for an SB-251 license. You can check your driving record at any DMV with a photo ID or request your record online here if you have previously been issued a Colorado license. Or, if you are Mexican, contact the Mexican Consulate for assistance on clearing your traffic tickets.
We advise that you consult with an attorney before applying for a license. ICE has access to DMV information when it is related to an active criminal investigation or possible crime in progress. More information on this coming soon.

If you have more questions after viewing the above pages, please feel free to contact us at licenses@coloradoimmigrant.org or contact one of the I Drive Certified Community partners around the state. 

LEGISLATIVE WINS: Since 2016, the I Drive Colorado campaign worked on several bills to fix the SB-251 program and to make it more accessible for undocumented Coloradans:

SB18-108 PASSED

SB18-108 allows a person to present a social security number as an alternative to a taxpayer identification card. The bill allows the license or identification card to be reissued or renewed in accordance with the process used for other licenses and identification cards. A person whose license is lost or stolen may obtain a replacement without renewing the license. $108,992 is appropriated to the department of revenue from the licensing services cash fund to implement the bill.

HB-1335 PASSED:

HB-1335, sponsored by Rep. Pabon, makes it a deceptive trade practice to sell public appointments and services (aka SB-251 appointments) that are available to the community for free. It also makes the selling of public goods and services a class one misdemeanor. This bill aims at tackling the sale of SB-251 appointments on the black market and has the ultimate goal of stopping this practice to free up SB-251 appointments for people trying to apply through the system established by the DMV.

HB-1415–PASSED

HB-1415, sponsored by Rep. Pabon, allows all SB-251 applicants that fail their driving test to go to a 3rd party private testing center and return to any SB-251 DMV office within 60 days to get their license without having to schedule a new appointment. This has freed up more appointments for all SB-251 applicants.

HB-1274–PASSED

HB-1274, sponsored by Rep. Singer and Sen. Ulibarri, passed in 2016 to repeal the footnote that reduced the number of offices offering SB-251 services to 66,000. This bill allowed the program to continue to operate indefinitely. 

SB18-108–PASSED

SB18-108, sponsored by Sen. Crowder, Sen. Coram, Sen. Arndt, and Rep. Singer, passed in 2018 allows for online renewals and for people who were issued Social Security numbers who no longer have legal status to apply for SB-251 licenses. 

SB19-139–PASSED

SB19-139, sponsored by Sen. Coram, Sen. Moreno, and Rep. Singer, passed in 2019 to open seven new offices across the state process SB-251 licenses. The new offices opened in 2020 in Glenwood Springs, Montrose, Durango, Lamar, Pueblo, Alamosa, and Ft Morgan!

This photo was taken on May 28, 2019 with Governor Polis and community partners when he signed SB19-139 into law, opening 7 new driver’s license offices in rural parts of Colorado to process SB251 licenses for undocumented Coloradans. 

Follow us on facebook at our Yo Manejo Colorado/ I Drive Colorado page!