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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.


When registering your vehicle at the county tax office, you will be required to pay certain fees, typically as follows:
  1. The registration fee, which varies depending on the manufacturer's model year or the vehicle's total weight. Generally, the registration fee will be between $40.80 and $58.80.
  2. Title application fee. Depending on the county, the title application fee is usually $28 or $33.
  3. New Texas residents are required to pay a $90 new resident tax.
There may be additional fees when you register, depending on your county. Contact the County Tax Office. for the specific requirements.


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 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.

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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?

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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?


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