License Plates in Texas
Texas vehicle registration stickers and accompanying car registration plates display your license plate number, county of registration and a portion of your vehicle identification number, or VIN. This customized documentation on new registration plates helps protect you against theft and fraud and it also serves valuable identification purposes when a law enforcement officer needs to ID a car or driver quickly.
Additionally, when you get TX DMV license plate documentation and keep it current, it provides proof that your vehicle meets all state safety standards and is deemed road-worthy by the TX DMV. Continue reading the sections below to learn about how to obtain a license plate in Texas, including renewals, replacements, transfers and all associated fees.
Types of License Plates in Texas
Depending on the type of TX DMV license plate best suits your needs, you can choose from numerous kinds of license plates. Texas car registration plate types include the following:
- General-issue car tags are the permanent DMV tags that are most often seen on registered TX vehicles. The basic license plate features a simplified design that coordinates with all car paint colors. Referred to as the Texas Classic, it is the first license plate in America that features two high-visibility security threads to help combat theft and fraud.
- Personalized plates bear unique alpha-numeric arrangements, chosen by the car owner and approved by the state for length and content. TX drivers pay an additional fee to get license plate tags personalized in this manner.
- Military registration plates are a type of specialty tag and represent a wide range of military honors, organizations and branches of service.
- Specialty plates come in dozens of designs representing everything from Texas’ 100-year anniversary to the Young Lawyers Association.
- Disability parking plates are issued to help people with mobility issues and other disabilities park in designated handicapped parking spots.
How to Apply for a License Plate in Texas
If you want to obtain new registration plates in TX, you must first have a current passing inspection report. Car registration plates are available online, in person or by mail. To apply online, visit the TX DMV portal and follow the prompts. Note that there is a two-business day payment processing hold before your sticker will be printed. It can take an additional two to three weeks to receive it in the mail.
The quickest way to get new registration plates is to apply in person at your county tax assessor-collector’s office or one of its approved substations. Bring your current license plate number, the VIN, proof of current inspection, and proof of insurance. Accepted forms of payment may vary by location.
If you prefer to obtain car registration plates by mail, send the following to your county tax office:
- Renewal notice
- Vehicle inspection report copy
- Proof of current liability insurance policy
- Payment for fees listed on your renewal notice
How to Renew License Plate Tags in Texas
Drivers wondering how to renew license plate tags should note that car tag renewal options are basically the same as the ones outlined above for initial car registration in Texas. You will receive a notice to renew your license plate prior to the due date, and you may renew license plate tags up to 90 days before the expiration date. As long as you know your basic vehicle information, such as the VIN and have a current inspection and insurance, you can obtain a renewal without the printed renewal card. If your new plates fail to arrive after renewing tags online, you may now track them through the TX DMV online by providing your license plate number and the last four digits of your VIN. Keep in mind that most drivers will go through the registration renewal process at the same time as they renew their license plates.
How to Replace License Plates in Texas
Learning about replacing a license plate in Texas is an easy process. Regardless of the reason for your missing tags, you will replace license plate tags with the same form. Simply complete Form VTR-60, Application for Replacement License Plate(s), and/or Vehicle Registration Sticker and submit it to your local county tax assessor-collector’s office. An automation fee is added to the small fee issued for replacement tags, paperwork or stickers.
How to Transfer License Plates in Texas
The TX DMV encourages car registration plate transfers and your local county tax assessor-collector’s office can assist you in changing over a previous car’s tag to a new one. You may transfer license plates between vehicles you own, to newly-purchased vehicles and to leased vehicles.
Texas License Plate Fees
There is a standard for car registration plates in TX with an additional fee for the maintenance costs of TexasSure, the state’s insurance verification project. Local fees also apply. When replacing tags, expect to pay a separate fee plus the automation fee described above. You can plate transfers in TX at no charge.
License Plate Lookups in Texas
Drivers wishing to obtain information about a specific TX DMV license plate must complete the Request for Texas Motor Vehicle Information. Because of the Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPTX), access to personal information is restricted to the current recorded car registration plate owner or lienholder. The only exceptions are those who have legal permitted use of the information, and those who have obtained written authorization from the owner to obtain personal information.