Texas car registration renewal applications may be submitted online, by mail or in person. Overall, registration decals must be displayed on a vehicle’s license plate and will expire on the last day of the month displayed on the decal. In any case, DMV car registration renewal requests must be submitted up to 90 days prior to the expiration date of a credential. All renewals must be filed through the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and residents may track the progress of their applications online.

If you complete a TX DMV registration renewal online, you may be eligible for a discount. Otherwise, renewal fees may vary between counties and may include local road and bridge taxes. In most cases, vehicles must complete state-approved inspections before being issued updated stickers. To learn more about DMV registration renewal fees, requirements and procedures, read the sections below.

Requirements for Car Registration Renewal in Texas

A Texas DMV car registration renewal cannot be completed without your vehicle first passing a state-issued inspection. An inspection must be completed at an approved center where a TX vehicle inspection report (VIR) can be issued. Furthermore, proof of liability insurance coverage must be submitted to the DMV before a renewal can be processed.

Residents may check their DMV registration renewal status online, ensuring that the application was received in full and is being processed. A copy of your registration receipt may be re-ordered by completing the appropriate form.

What do you need to renew your car registration in Texas

Whether you are renewing a car registration online, by mail or in person, you must submit the correct paperwork to the TX DMV. Depending on the method you use, the following items may be required for a renewal:

  • Proof of identity, such as a state-issued drivers license or a photo ID card.
  • Proof of liability insurance, such as an insurance card.
  • A vehicle inspection report (VIR), if applicable.
  • A vehicle registration renewal notice, if available.

Acceptable forms of payment may differ between counties. Typically, online payments must be made with a debit or credit card, while mailed-in applications must be paid with a check.

Texas Vehicle Registration Renewal Notice

TX vehicle registration renewal notices are sent to eligible residents 90 days prior to these credentials’ expiration date. Generally, there are two types of notices issued to Texas residents. If a vehicle registration renewal inspection is not required, the customer will be issued a standard renewal notice. On the other hand, if the state finds that an inspection must be completed prior to renewal, an additional notice will also be sent. Customers must complete all required inspections before submitting a renewal application.

Texas Car Registration Renewal Notice Lost or Not Received

A lost registration renewal notice does not need to be replaced. However, applicants must submit additional paperwork if they cannot provide this notice. For example, the following items may be used in lieu of a notice if the document was lost or not received:

  • A renewal receipt from the previous year that displays the car owner’s name.
  • A certificate of title application receipt from the previous year that contains the vehicle owner’s name.
  • A “Registration Purpose Only” receipt from the previous year in the car owner’s name.

Electronic car registration renewal notices are also available to eligible applicants who would like to receive correspondence via email instead. However, vehicle owners are required to sign up for this service online.

Texas Car Registration Renewal Options

Residents of Texas may submit a vehicle registration renewal online, in person or by mail. The procedures for each method differ and may incur separate fees. Generally, applicants may operate a car with expired vehicle registration decals within five days of their expiration date. If the car owner fails to apply for a renewal, he or she will be issued a citation of $200. Generally, vehicles with an expired registration cannot be operated until the full renewal dues have been paid.

If an applicant only requests a TX DMV car registration renewal within one month of it lapsing and provides a valid reason for the delay, the decals will be renewed for one year and a new expiration date will be set. However, if a valid reason cannot be given, additional late fees may be applied.

How to Renew Car Registration Documents Online

If you submit a DMV registration renewal online, a $1 discount will be applied to your order. In general, online renewals may be processed 90 days prior to their expiration date. Similarly, a motor vehicle registration renewal may be submitted online up to six months after the expiration date if a citation has not been issued.

In order to renew a car registration online, you must enter the license plate number and the last four digits of the vehicle identification number (VIN) into the state’s online portal. Once entered, follow the online prompts and pay the renewal fee. Moreover, a vehicle inspection report (VIR) must be completed prior to applying, if applicable. Furthermore, the online system allows two days for the payment to be processed and up to three weeks for the new stickers to be mailed.

How to Renew Your Car Registration by Mail

Residents have the option to send the vehicle registration renewal notice via mail, along with an acceptable payment method, to the county tax office. However, be mindful that you may need to take your vehicle to an approved inspection center, if applicable. After which, you must send the following items to your local tax office:

  • A completed registration renewal notice.
  • A copy of the VIR form.
  • Proof of liability insurance for the vehicle.
  • An acceptable payment method for the renewal.

Where to Renew Car Registration Documents in Person

If you need to renew a car registration in person, you may do so at your local county tax office or at an approved substation. Generally, a vehicle registration renewal notice is not required to complete the registration. However, you must provide your license plate number, VIN or renewal receipt from the previous year. While the TX DMV will have a record of your latest inspection, you may be asked to present proof if the database does not show a current report.

Military & Out of State Vehicle Registration Renewal in Texas

Applicants may submit a DMV registration renewal online, by mail or in person without completing an inspection if the vehicle is not based in the state. However, a self-certification will be placed on the vehicle’s record alerting the TX DMV that an inspection is due upon its return. Drivers must submit their vehicles for inspection within three days of returning to Texas.

Once you have completed the vehicle registration renewal inspection, you must keep the VIR along with your car. If stopped by a law enforcement officer before the self-certification has been removed from your records, you may show the VIR as proof of a valid inspection. Overall, the self-certification record will be removed 48 hours after the inspection has been verified by the TX DMV.

In the event that you are a military service member who is stationed in TX, you may renew the car registration from your home state rather than obtaining a new credential that was issued by the Texas DMV. If you would prefer to have a state-issued credential, you may choose to apply for a vehicle registration from TX as well.

Texas Vehicle DMV Registration Renewal Fees

The Texas car registration renewal cost varies between counties. However, the base registration fee for a personal vehicle under 6,000 pounds is $50.75. The following TX DMV registration renewal fees may be applied to your application:

  • A maintenance and operations fee of $1.
  • A local car registration renewal fee of up to $31.50. This fee may be comprised of the following charges:
    • A county road and bridge fund fee of $10.
    • A child safety fee of $1.50
    • A transportation projects fee of $20
  • A vehicle registration renewal processing and handling fee.
  • An inspection fee, if applicable.

The DMV registration inspection fee is divided into two parts: state charges and county-specific costs. The counties portion is due at the time of the inspection, whereas the state’s portion is due at the time of the renewal request. DMV registration inspection fees vary depending on the type of test being performed.

For example, the state’s portion of a one-year safety inspection is $7.50, while the state’s portion of a two-year safety inspection is $16.75. Furthermore, counties have their own testing fees. For example, the state’s portion of an emissions-only test in El Paso is $2.75. However, the state’s portion of the same test in Travis County is $4.75.

Last updated on Tuesday, July 16 2019.

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