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:
- 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.
- Complete a vehicle title/registration form.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- Title application fee. Depending on the county, the title application fee is usually $28 or $33.
- 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.
RENEWING YOUR VEHICLE REGISTRATION
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.
- If you are a non-resident active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces or a non-resident full-time student attending a Texas college or university, you are not required to title or register your vehicle.
- The process for registering a motorcycle is generally the same as a car registration; however, there are different procedures for boat registration and custom car registration.
- Auto Insurance is needed to legally operate all vehicles in Texas.
- See also Renewing Your Vehicle Registration.
- See also Title Transfers and Car Insurance.