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How to Register a Vehicle in Texas

Vehicle Registration Online Services Guide

Texas Car Registration

New residents and new car owners in Texas must register car credentials at a local county tax assessor office. The vehicles that must be registered include:

  • Passenger cars.
  • Pickup trucks.
  • Commercial vehicles.
  • Motorcycles.
  • Motorized scooters.
  • Mopeds.
  • Auto homes.
  • Ambulances.
  • Buses.
  • Trailers.
  • Taxis.
  • Off-highway vehicles.
  • Rebuilt salvage vehicles.
  • Boats.

Vehicles must be inspected by the Texas Department of Public Safety before getting car registration. Drivers can take their vehicles to the following locations:

  • Participating mechanics.
  • Oil change stations.
  • DPS inspection stations.

Drivers must bring their car insurance card to show that you meet the minimum state coverage. To find out if your county is one of the few that does not require testing, check the DPS inspection station locator.

Information Related to Car Registration

How to Get Car Registration as a New Resident

New residents have 30 days to obtain TX DMV car registration, but they cannot register a car online. The process for how to register car documents is as follows:

  1. Visit a local county tax assessor office.
  2. Show proof of car insurance.
  3. Provide proof that your vehicle passed a safety inspection.
  4. Show proof of vehicle ownership:
  5. Title or car registration from previous state of residence.
  6. Complete an Application for Texas Title (130-U) form.
  7. If there is a lien on your vehicle, fill out an Application for Registration Purposes Only (VTR-272) form.
  8. Pay the fee for registering car documentation; base fees are as follows:
  9. Passenger cars or pickup trucks: $50.75
  10. Trailers 6,000 pounds or less: $45
  11. Vehicles between 6,001 and 10,000 pounds: $54
  12. Motorcycles and mopeds: $30
    • Accepted payment methods vary based on the county.

How to Register a Car

Drivers who have recently bought a new car can expect the dealership to handle the registration of the vehicle. However, if you bought a used car from a private party, follow these steps to register your vehicle:

  1. Visit a county tax assessor office.
  2. Drivers cannot register car online in Texas.
  3. Provide identification documents.
  4. Proof of ID primary documents:
    • Drivers license.
    • Passport.
  5. Secondary documents:
    • Birth certificate (original or certified copy).
    • Court order showing name and date of birth and indicating a name or gender change from a U.S. entity (original or certified copy).
  6. Supporting documents:
    • Social Security card.
    • W-2 form.

Drivers must bring either one primary identity document, two secondary identity documents or one secondary and two supporting identity documents.

  • Two proofs of residency:
    • Valid voter registration card.
    • Car registration certificate.
  • One proof of Social Security Number:
    • Social Security card.
    • Health insurance card.
  • One proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful presence:
    • Passport.
    • Birth certificate.
    • Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) (non-U.S. citizens).
    • Foreign passport with attached temporary I-551 (non-U.S. citizens).
  • Show proof of car insurance.
  • Complete an Application for Texas Title (130-U) form, which handles titling and TX car registration.
  • Present a Certificate of Inspection, depending on your county.
  • Pay the registration fees; base car registration fees are as follows:
  • Passenger cars or pickup trucks: $50.75
  • Trailers 6,000 pounds or less: $45
  • Vehicles between 6,001 and 10,000 pounds: $54
  • Motorcycles and mopeds: $30

Drivers can obtain custom license plates when they register their vehicle.

  • Note: Get a vehicle history report to ensure the car you are interested in is in good condition.

Vehicle Registration for Military Members

Military members on active duty are not required to title and register their vehicle with the Texas DMV. These drivers must maintain current car registration with their home state in order to operate a vehicle in Texas. Military members who are Texas residents must follow the same steps above to register car credentials.

  • Note: Drivers who are moving to another state should contact the DMV of their new state of residence for information on how to transfer vehicle registration. The TX DMV does not require you to turn in your license plates when moving, but you should discard of them properly after you transfer your TX car registration.

How to Apply for Handicap License Plates and Placards

Drivers can apply for a temporary or permanent handicap placard by following these steps:

  1. Fill out an Application for Persons with Disabilities Parking Placard and/or License Plate (VTR-214) form.
  2. Have your physician complete the necessary portion of the application.
  3. Submit your application to a local county tax assessor office.
  4. Pay the $3 annual fee.

Disabled veterans can apply for a DV designation by filling out an Application for Disabled Veteran License Plates and Parking Placards (VTR-615) form and showing proof honorable discharge.

Suspended Car Registration in Texas

Vehicle registration can be suspended for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to drivers license suspension in Texas or lacking the necessary amount of car insurance. Reinstatement of a suspended car registration can only take place once you meet the requirements of the suspension. For a lack of car insurance, you must purchase the necessary amount of coverage and visit a local county tax assessor office to show proof of financial responsibility.

How to Register a Trailer

Manufactured trailers that exceed 4,000 pounds must be registered with the TX DMV. Visit a local county tax office and provide:

  • A completed Application for Texas Title (130-U) form.
  • Evidence of trailer ownership:
    • Manufacturer Certificate of Origin (for new trailers).
    • Certificate of Title (for used trailers weighing over 4,000 pounds).
    • Bill of Sale and Registration Receipt (for used trailers less than or equal to 4,000 pounds).
  • Payment the $45 registration fee (unless over 6,000 pounds).

Trailers that have a gross weight which exceeds 4,500 pounds need to pass an annual safety inspection.

  • Note: RVs follow the same steps for registration as standard passenger cars, though fees will vary.

How to Register a Motorcycle

Bring the following to a local county tax office to register your motorcycle:

  • Proof of motorcycle ownership:
    • Vehicle title.
    • Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin.
  • A safety inspection certificate.
  • One proof of ID:
    • Drivers license.
    • Birth certificate (original or certified copy).
  • Proof of motorcycle insurance.
  • Payment for the $30 fee and other taxes.

Follow the above steps to register motorized scooters as well.

Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Registration

In order to operate a low-speed vehicle (LSV) or a neighborhood-electric vehicle (NEV) on Texas roads, you must register these vehicles with the DMV. Vehicles are classified as LSV or NEV if they meet the following requirements:

  • LSVs have a top speed of 25 MPH.
  • NEVs have a top speed of 35 MPH.
  • LSVs and NEVs feature:
    • Turn signals.
    • Brake lights.
    • Reflectors.
    • Seat belts.
    • Headlights.
    • Taillights.
    • Windshield.
    • A VIN.

Visit a local county tax office with the following to title and register your OHV:

  • Proof of vehicle ownership:
    • Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin.
    • Vehicle title.
  • A filled out Application for Texas Title (130-U) form.
  • Proof of vehicle insurance:
    • Auto insurance card.
    • An insurance binder.
  • Payment for county and registration fees.

Salvage Vehicles

Before you register or title a salvage vehicle, the TX DMV recommends that you read the Salvage Dealer and Motor Vehicle Information Manual. Because of the fraud typically associated with purchasing a salvage vehicle, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles has very strict rules regarding salvage car registration and title.
Contact the Vehicle Titles and Registration Division help desk at (888) 368-4689 for more information.

Boat Registration

The following vessels must be registered in Texas:

  • Motorized boats.
  • Sailboats that are 14 feet in length and have an auxiliary engine.
  • USCG documented vessels.

Boat registration documents are valid for a period for two years.

Related Links

Submitted by knightrous0xide on 10th Mar 2016

My wife and I moved into

My wife and I moved into Texas from NM several years ago and left behind a purchased Chevrolet cavalier but never changed the title over into my wife's name and just hung onto the title with original owners signature and all. Just recently we decided to look into registering it in Texas. Looking at the fees and what not it seems much cheaper to just go back to NM transfer the title and register it in NM(much cheaper) and then just bring it back over to Texas and just transfer it to avoid ridiculous penalties. Or about what would it cost to just have my wife finally sign the title and try to go in and register it after it sat in NM for several years. We just didn't need the vehicle at the time but wanted to keep it. I still keep in contact with original owner so if I have to I will tear everything up and just make a repurchase.

Submitted by chrisc23 on 3rd Nov 2015

What happens if you lose the

What happens if you lose the inspection certificate

Submitted by bakerdj5150 on 25th Sep 2015

My wife's previous husband

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?

Submitted by roxannelsm on 7th Jun 2015

I bought a new vehicle from a

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?

Submitted by watty53 on 3rd Jun 2015

Im an active duty service

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.

Submitted by Kimmie060711 on 4th Jun 2015

They can be done online or my

They can be done online or my mail.

Submitted by debieb on 4th Mar 2015

I bought a car in Texas last

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?

Submitted by bulbasaur on 6th Feb 2015

My parents have let me use

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?

Submitted by Bettelou on 4th Feb 2015

We bought a truck in Texas

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

Submitted by shimmers1aw on 13th Jan 2015

Hi I am overseas, but still

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.

Submitted by venjieb on 19th Dec 2014

Hi, my car was previously

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?

Submitted by adyelle on 26th Sep 2014

I have a Volkswagen Super

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.

Submitted by ceecee949 on 17th Aug 2014

I received a renewal notice

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

Submitted by (not verified) on 5th Jun 2013

What is needed for proof of

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.

Submitted by Margreet Wijnen (not verified) on 1st Nov 2012

We are thinking about

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?

Submitted by ryno_tx (not verified) on 4th Apr 2012

I'm a texas resident active

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

Submitted by lei (not verified) on 10th Mar 2012

I'm in the Active duty

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?

Submitted by etomlin (not verified) on 21st Jan 2012

can my father in law renew my

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

Submitted by gree (not verified) on 6th Dec 2012

how can I find out how much

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

Submitted by Anita Queen (not verified) on 3rd Jul 2011

I drove my car to Texas from

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?

Submitted by Anonymous on 18th Mar 2011

how do u do register

how do u do register

Submitted by Anonymous on 12th Feb 2011

i was curious to know is if

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?