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Texas Vehicle Registration

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Texas Vehicle Registration Summary

On our Texas Registration page, you’ll find information about how to register a car with a local County Tax Office (TxDMV), car registration for new residents, Texas registration renewals, registration replacements & changes, registering a vehicle purchased from an individual versus new from a dealership, TX auto insurance requirements, and Texas military member registration.

Registering a Vehicle in Texas

In Texas, you must register your vehicle(s) through your local County Tax Office. The registration process will differ slightly depending on whether you purchased the vehicle from a Texas car dealer or from a private-party seller, and whether you are a current resident or new to Texas.

What to bring to the TX DMV:

Continue reading below for more details about how to register a vehicle in Texas.

Registering Vehicles Purchased from a TX Dealer

When you purchase a vehicle from a licensed dealership in Texas, they are required to file the title application on the vehicle for you. This means you will not have to visit the tax office. Please be sure the dealer provides you with a receipt showing the Texas title application has been filed.

Vehicles Purchased from a Private Party

In Texas, if you purchase a vehicle from an individual, you have 30 days to get a vehicle inspection in Texas and apply for car registration. You must visit your local Texas tax office. For a seamless transaction, it is best to have the seller accompany you.

To register your vehicle in Texas, be ready to present:

  • A completed Application for Texas Certificate of Title (Form 130-U).
  • A signed vehicle title.
  • Proper identification.
  • Supporting documents such as release of lien or power of attorney.
  • Proof of car insurance.
  • Proof of your vehicle inspection report.
    • You will need this report unless the DMV already has a record of a current inspection in its database. Ask the seller for a copy of the latest inspection report if it is available.
  • If the sale happens on a weekend, you must download a Vehicle Transfer Permit, which allows you to legally drive to the county tax office and is valid for 5 days.

  • Payment for TX car registration fees, and any other applicable fees.

Vehicle Registration for New Residents

New to Texas?

Texas law requires you to register vehicles with out-of-state registration within 30 days of moving to the state. Otherwise the TxDMV may assess penalties.

The process for an out-of-state registration is similar to that of a Texas resident with a few differences.
You’ll need to visit your local County Tax Office. and present:

Vehicle Inspections

All vehicles registered in Texas must pass an annual safety inspection. The TX DMV requires emissions testing of vehicles in only certain counties. Please check with your local Texas county tax office to determine if your vehicle requires an emissions test..

Two Steps One Sticker: How it Works:

In Texas, you have up to 90 days to complete the “Two Steps” process. This includes a vehicle inspection and car registration. In order to register on time in Texas, you must pass an inspection no earlier than 90 days before your TX car registration expires.

Although the dates for TX inspection and registration coincide, you must complete your vehicle inspection by visiting a TX state inspection site:
After your inspection is complete, you can then renew your registration online, by mail or in person.

The TxDMV will electronically verify your vehicle inspection during registration. You will receive 1 sticker only.

Inspection fees and registration fees are paid in two steps as well. You will pay for them separately.

  • If you’re a first-time registrant, please be sure to handle your inspection ahead of your visit.
  • If your vehicle is not present in Texas at the time your renewal is due and you are unable to complete a Texas vehicle inspection, you may self-certify. You will be permitted to register online, by mail, or in person. As soon as the vehicle is back in Texas, you’ll have 3 days to complete the inspection.
  • “Two Steps, One Sticker,”also means that only new passenger cars and light trucks purchased from a dealer, are eligible to receive two years of initial registration at time of title.

TX Registration for Military Drivers

The process of registering a vehicle as Texas military personnel is the same as it is for civilians. See Registering a Vehicle in Texas above.
If you are a resident of another state and stationed in Texas, the TxDMV does not require you to register your vehicle. However, the state gives you the option to do so.
To register your vehicle in Texas, you would follow the steps outlined above under Registration for New Residents.

Renewing Your Registration in Texas

In Texas, you can renew your vehicle registration online, in person, or by mail.
The TX DMV mails renewal notices approximately 90 days before the date your current registration expires. You must renew by the expiration date to avoid late penalties. If your registration is more than 5 days late after it expires, the DMV may assess a $200 fine.

A Texas registration renewal notice will include your:

  • Registration renewal fee.
  • Registration deadline date.
  • Inspection/Emissions requirements.

You may also sign up for E reminders to have a reminder sent to you when it’s time to renew.
All vehicles must pass inspection and receive a VIR (Vehicle Inspection Report) before the TxDMV will process a registration renewal.

Online Registration Renewals in TX

To renew your TX vehicle registration online, visit the TX DMV’s online registration renew l portal.

You can only renew your TX registration online if:

  • Your vehicle meets the minimum liability insurance requirements.
  • You completed your vehicle’s emission/safety inspection and passed.
  • You haven’t received any citations for expired registration.
  • You are a resident of the county where your vehicle is registered.

Before you begin your online renewal, you must have the following:

  • Texas registration plate number.
  • The last four digits of your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
  • Proof of insurance.
  • Payment for the $51.75 registration fee plus any additional fees.

Registration Renewals by Mail

To renew your TX vehicle registration by mail, please follow the instructions on your renewal notice.
Be sure to verify all of the information is correct. Please mail the following to your county tax office:

  • Proof of car insurance (a photocopy).
  • Your renewal notice. (keep the vehicle owner’s section for your records)
  • A copy of your VIR (Vehicle Inspection Report).
  • A check or money order for registration fees.

Registration Renewals In Person

If you cannot renew your TX registration online, visit your local County Tax Office DMV and bring:

  • Your registration renewal notice.
    • If you do not have your TX renewal notice or didn’t receive one, you can still register
      your vehicle by providing:

      • Your license plate number.
      • The VIN (Vehicle Identification Number).
      • A prior year’s registration receipt.
  • Proof of car insurance.
  • Proof of vehicle inspection.
  • Payment for registration fees.

Replace a Lost or Damaged Registration

If your TX registration card has been lost, stolen, or damaged, you can apply for a replacement by mail or in person at your local county tax office.

Replace TX Vehicle Registration In Person or by Mail

To replace your TX registration receipt in person or by mail, you’ll need to gather the following:

  • A completed Request for Information Form (Form VTR-275)
  • A photocopy of your TX driver license, ID, passport or military ID.
  • TX registration replacement fees in the form of a check or money order for $2.

Mail the above to the address listed on the form, or bring it to your local local county tax office.

Replace a Lost or Damaged License Plates or Decals

To replace your TX plates, tags or decals, please visit your local tax office in person and submit:

Changes to Your TX Car Registration

Address Changes on TX Registration

You can make changes to your name on your TX vehicle registration by visiting your TX local county tax office in person or by mail. There is an online option to change your name. However it does not change the address for the owner on record – only the renewal recipient.
You’ll need to bring a completed Address Change Form (Form VTR-146).
To change your address by mail, complete the Address Change form and mail it to the address on the
form. There is no fee to change your name.

Name Changes on TX Registration

After a legal name change with the SSA (Social Security Administration) you can change your name on your Texas car registration and title.
Once you update your name on your vehicle title, the TxDMV will update your registration documents automatically.

To change the name on your title, you’ll visit your local tax assessor and bring:

  • A completed Application for Texas Title (Form 130-U) with your new name.
  • Your original vehicle title.
  • A letter to the DMV regarding why you change your name plus all your vehicle information.
  • A certified copy of your marriage license, divorce decree, or a court order permitting a legal name change.
  • Payment for the name change fee. Fees differ by county. You can contact your local TxDMV office location to find out your exact name change fees.

Vehicle Registration Fees in TX

The TxDMV calculates annual registration fees by vehicle weight. Your local County Tax Assessor-Collector’s office will collect additional local fees in addition to vehicle registration fees. The total fees due shown on your registration renewal notice include all applicable local fees.

The TX vehicle registration fees are currently as follows:

  • Annual Texas vehicle registration fee for passenger vehicles or trucks under 6000 pounds: $50.75 plus applicable fees and local county fees.
  • Maintenance and operations of the Insurance Verification Project (TexasSure): $1
  • Local fees: $0$31.50 depending on county of registration.
  • Inspection fee: $7.50
  • Processing and handling fee: $4.75

The gross vehicle weight of a truck is determined by adding the empty weight of the vehicle and the heaviest load that will be carried by the vehicle during the registration year.

  • Annual TX registration fee for a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 6,001 pounds – 10,000
    : $54, plus applicable fees and local county fees.
  • 10,001-18,000 pounds: $110
  • 18,001-25,999 pounds: $205
  • 26,000-40,000 pounds: $340
  • 40,001-54,999 pounds: $535
  • Sales tax – If you buy a vehicle from an individual, there is a motor vehicle sales tax (6.25%) on either the purchase price or standard presumptive value – whichever is the highest value). You must pay this sales tax upon titling your vehicle in Texas.
  • For a complete list of fees, you may visit the Texas DMV website.

Last Verified:
Mar 30, 2023