Texas vehicle registration is handled by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV). TX car registration provides you with a sticker showing your license plate number, partial vehicle identification number (VIN) and the county of the registration. Auto registration helps protect you from theft and fraud and serves as proof of vehicle inspection. Drivers must apply for a new car registration whenever a change in ownership of a vehicle takes place. DMV car registration in Texas is fully explained in the following sections:
- Texas vehicle registration information required.
- Where to register a car in Texas for the first time.
- How to register a new car in Texas.
- How to register a used car in Texas.
- Temporary Texas vehicle registration.
Texas Vehicle Registration Information Required
The first step in any TX motor vehicle registration is for the owner to obtain a vehicle inspection. Inspections for car registration purposes are managed by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and must be performed at Official Vehicle Inspection Stations licensed by DPS. Required Texas car registration documents include any paperwork or notices you may have received in the mail from DMV car registration officials, a copy of your vehicle inspection report (VIR), proof of current automobile liability insurance and all the fees listed on your DMV notice or on the TxDMV website. Acceptable forms of motor vehicle registration fee payment vary by county. Contact your local county tax office to find out which forms of payment are accepted.
Where to Register a Car in Texas for the First Time
Texas auto registration services are available at your local county tax assessor-collector office or at a TxDMV Regional Service Center. If you are obtaining a TX car registry for the first time, you must conduct this transaction in person. Although renewing clients can get car registration services online through a trusted third party, this service is not available to first-time registrants.
How to Register a New Car in Texas
New car shoppers wondering, "How do I register my car if it is new?" are pleased to learn during their transaction with the dealer that all of the registration tasks are handled by the dealership. However, new car registration in Texas is not as simple if you have bought a new car from an individual, have been gifted one or are a new resident to the state. Getting car registration documents together as described above makes the process easier. Go to your closest county tax assessor-collector office within 30 days of establishing residency or taking possession of the car. Bring your VIR, photo ID, VIN, proof of insurance and applicable fees and request the correct forms. Motorists requesting car registration along with applying for a Texas title should complete Form 130-U, Application for Texas Title. If there is a lien on the vehicle, use Form VTR-272, Application for Registration Purposes Only.
How to Register a Used Car in Texas
The registration of vehicle process for used cars is mostly the same as it is for new cars. A Texas car registry and inspection must occur within 30 days from the date on which you purchased the vehicle. All vehicles are required to pass an annual safety inspection and select counties will require emissions inspections as well. Car registration applicants must bring their VIR, proof of vehicle ownership, photo ID, proof of car insurance and fill out Form 130-U. If there is a lien on the vehicle, then the registrant will need to complete Form VTR-272.
Temporary Texas Vehicle Registration
Texas DMV car registration officials can issue a 30-day temporary registration for personal vehicles subject to TX registration laws but not authorized to travel on state roads. This pause in car registry can result from a lack of reciprocity between state or county governments or a lack of registration. Obtain a 30-day motor vehicle registration permit at your closest TxDMV Regional Service Center or at your local county tax assessor-collector office. Auto registration applicants must provide proof of vehicle insurance that meets minimum liability limits in Texas and agree to display the temporary permit in the rear window of the vehicle.
If you wonder how to get car registration documents after buying buy a car from a seller who decided to keep the Texas license plate, you will need to print a Transit Permit before driving the vehicle on Texas roadways. This type of temporary car registration is valid for a maximum of five days and enables you to drive the car to your local county office, where you will complete registration later. Full instructions for obtaining this kind of temporary transitional registration are on the TxDMV website and can be obtained by entering the vehicle's VIN and following the prompts.