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How to Register a Vehicle in Texas

Texas law requires that motor vehicle owners must register their vehicle with the Texas Department of Transportation before taking it on the road. Both new and second-hand vehicles must be registered, regardless of whether they are purchased from a dealer or an individual. In addition, new Texas residents who have registered their vehicle in another state must register their vehicle in Texas. The initial vehicle registration must be done in person, and registration renewals must be done annually, either in person, online or by mail.


If you are registering a motor vehicle in Texas for the first time, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Get your vehicle inspected. Vehicle inspections must be performed at an inspection station or by an inspector that has been licensed by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). Find out more about vehicle inspections in Texas, or locate an inspection station near you. Once the vehicle passes inspection, you will be issued an inspection certification.
  2. Complete a vehicle title/registration form.
  3. Visit your County Tax Office., and bring the completed title/registration form with you, along with the inspection certification. In addition, you will need to provide proof of insurance, and the odometer reading, if the vehicle is less than 10 years old.
  4. For vehicles that have been registered in another state, you must also bring the original, out-of-state title. If the title is unavailable, bring the registration document, along with proof of sales tax payment.


  • New Resident Tax: $90
  • Registration fee:
    Passenger vehicle: $40 - $70 (fee determined by age of vehicle)
    Truck: $29 and up (fee determined by vehicle's gross weight)    
  • Title application fee:
    Emissions affected county $33
    All other counties $28    
  • Local fees (vary by county) $5 - $11.50
  • Automation fee (counties w/ 50k+ vehicles) $1
  • DPS insurance fee $1
For more information, check the fee schedule.


Owners of motor vehicles in Texas are required to renew their vehicle registration annually, and can do so in person, online or by mail. See our Registration Renewal section for complete details.


Reviews of How to Register a Vehicle in Texas

What happens if you lose the inspection certificate

My wife's previous husband died in a car accident 5 years ago. We still have a vehicle that was in both of their names that has stopped running and we can't afford to fix it, so it just sits in the driveway. We desperately want to be rid of it. She won a wrongful death lawsuit from Hyundai, which is also the make of the car in question. Since the suit started, they wouldn't accept any payments from her and we haven't heard a peep from them since the suit ended. No letters, calls, no requests to resume payments on the one remaining Hyundai vehicle, but we also don't have the title either. We're GUESSING they canceled the note in light of the lawsuit, but have nothing in writing saying one way or the other. What do we do?

I bought a new vehicle from a dealership. I have the paper plates, but need the physical plates and vehicle inspection tag since I will be taking an out of state trip before the paper plate expires. How do I get them?

Im an active duty service member. My DL is from Texas and all my cars are registerd in Texas. I am now stationed in Va. and dont want to register a new truck here. Is there a way to get Texas registration with out going back to Texas. I will only be in Va for another year before I go back to Texas.

They can be done online or my mail.

I bought a car in Texas last year now I live in South Carolina and need to get it register here, I cant find the registration how can I get a copy with out going back to texas?

My parents have let me use their car for the year while I am at school. They live several hours away but I need to register the vehicle. I have full insurance coverage but the title is in my parent's name. How can I register the vehicle?

We bought a truck in Texas for my son in my husbands name. The dealer said it had to be titled in Florida as this is our residence. It is under our insurance & I want to add him as do I reigister it in Texas & get Texas tags for him. Will the inspection station accept the proof of insurance we sent him. He has a Texas drivers license

Hi I am overseas, but still paying on vehicle that I left for my son to use in Texas. He attempted to renew the registration but they told him that he would not be able to since the insurance is under his name and the title of the vehicle is under mine. Event though I am overseas and I will not be driving the vehicle. How can he get the car registered? It has full coverage, but the title does not have my son's name.

Hi, my car was previously registered in Las Vegas and the registration will expire Dec. 23, 2014. I cancelled my car insurance from Las Vegas because i will be driving to Texas for work and took another car insurance from texas because the one from Nevada is not accepted. Early November i decided to stay in Texas for good but i didn't cancel my Nevada registration. Now am planning to register my car here in Texas but i came to know that my Nevada registration has been suspended due to terminated car insurance. what shall i do?

I have a Volkswagen Super Beetle built in Mexico in 2004 to 1974 specifications. It does not have an OBD, because its built like a 1974 model. However, because it was built on 2004 they are not letting me register it in my county because I need the emissions test done with OBD, which it doesn't have. I tried to get an exemption at the Compliance Office, and the gentleman told me that they couldn't offer one and I needed to move to a different county, like that is an option. I've had the car for 10 years and I'm not about to get rid of it or move. If anyone has any advice, I would very much appreciate it, just please don't be rude like that other guy. Thanks.

I received a renewal notice but have moved out of Texas I registered my car in another state What do I do with the renewal notice I received from Texas I know that if you have an expired registration in Texas you can be arrested so I want to do the right thing

What is needed for proof of sales tax payment if registering a car in Texas? I will be moving to Texas from South Carolina in January 2014 and am trying to gather all the info needed for registering my car. My car will not be paid off until November 2014, so will not have the title. Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

We are thinking about giving/selling our 2005 CA registered vehicle to our son who moved to Texas in July; he bought a "lemon", is broken down again and needs a dependable car for work. What is the procedure here if we were to drive this car to him in Austin and he would put TX plates on it and how much would that cost/fees?

I'm a texas resident active duty member of the army, but im living in new york, can i register my vehicle online?

I'm in the Active duty military and non resident of Texas. I bought a car in Texas last year but got transferred to Virginia. I have read that I'm not required to register my vehicle in Texas as an Active Duty. Is that means I don't have to worry about registering my vehicle annually?

can my father in law renew my vehicle registration if it has expired

how can I find out how much it is to renew my vehicle registration if it has expired so I can do it my mail

I drove my car to Texas from Georgia in August 2010 to store in my daughters garage because I had taken a job overseas. The Georgia registration expired in September 2010. I am due to return to the Texas for a visit in July 2011. My car has been stored since I left and not driven. I now want to sell my car before I return overseas because I no longer want to worry about storing it while I am out of the country. Do I now need to register it and title it in Texas before I sell it? I literally need to drive it to a Carmax in Houston to see if they will buy it, but it is not registered. I do have storage insurance on it and can get full coverage when I get back to the states, but is this necessary if I am going to sell it right away?

how do u do register

i was curious to know is if the $90 new resident tax applies if i am a native-born texan and lived here in texas prior to me returning to reside here once again?