Everything’s bigger in Texas, maybe the DMV too! As a new resident of Texas, you must register your out-of-state vehicle with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TX DMV).
Let’s talk about everything you need to register your out-of-state vehicle in your new state of Texas.
As a new resident of Texas, registering your out-of-state car, truck, motorcycle doesn’t have to be frustrating and excessively time-consuming.
Here’s what you need to know about registering an out-of-state vehicle.
Your car needs to be titled in your name within 30 days of the date of sale to prevent title transfer penalties.
In addition to this, you are also required to register your vehicle within 30 days of establishing residency in Texas. Your vehicle must pass a TX vehicle inspection before you will be eligible to register it.
Once your car passes inspection, you must take it to your county tax office to title the vehicle and register it. Make sure you have the following to register your out-of-state vehicle:
- Proof of a passed vehicle inspection (Vehicle Inspection Report)
- Proof of valid liability insurance policy (this policy must meet the state of Texas minimum requirements
- The vehicle’s accurate odometer reading (if required)
- An original out-of-state car title or another valid ownership document
- Proof of a completed sales tax payment or current foreign/military ownership document
- A completed Application for Texas Car Title and/or Registration (Form 130-U)
- Payment for the following Texas vehicle fees:
- Texas registration fee (the base fee is $50.75 for passenger vehicles and light trucks)
- Title application fee of $28 or $33 (the exact amount depends on the county in which you reside)
- Texas state portion of the vehicle inspection fee (up to $30.75)
- Local Texas county fees (up to $31.50)
- 6.25% vehicle sales tax
- $1 auto insurance verification fee
- $4.75 processing and handling fee
If have recently moved and you’re registering a special vehicle defined by the TX DMV, read below to determine how it must be registered.
The TX DMV defines all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) as vehicles with 3 or more wheels, are equipped with one or multiple seats, and are not designed by the manufacturer for farm or lawn use. These vehicles must be titled; however, they are NOT required to be registered.
These motorcycles have 2 or 3 wheels and must be titled but NOT registered.
Boats, including boat motors and personal watercraft, must be registered and titled with the Texas Park and Wildlife Department.
Mopeds are required to be registered in Texas. However, if you want to register an out-of-state moped, it must pass inspection.
Motor homes in Texas must be registered. The registration for motor homes is based on the weight of cars and trucks. For more information, contact your local county tax assessor-collector office. You will need proof of valid auto liability insurance; an inspection is required to complete the registration process.
In most scenarios, these bikes DO NOT pass a TX vehicle safety inspection and can’t be registered or driven on public roads. You will need a secure Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin that is issued by a manufacturer registered with NHTSA to title these vehicles.
The registration fees in Texas vary depending on the county you are registering. The standard statewide fees in Texas are as follows:
- Cars and lighter pickup trucks: $51.75
- Vehicles that weigh between 6,001 and 10,000 lbs.: $54
- Mopeds and motorcycles: $30
In addition to your Texas base registration fees, you may also be required to pay other state, local, and county fees, such as the following:
- Automation fee: $1
- TexasSure Auto Insurance Verification Fee: $1
- Local fee: $10
- Inspection fee: $7.50
- Processing and handling fee: $4.75
In Texas, you will be charged a 6.25% tax rate based on the value of your vehicle. If you purchase a vehicle from an individual (also known as a private sale), you must pay the taxes in addition to the title, registration, and local county fees. Keep in mind that each county has its registration fees.
When registering your out-of-state vehicle in Texas, you must pay your vehicle inspection fees to the Texas Department of Public Safety (TX DPS). Remember that this fee is the state portion of the fees that must be paid in addition to the fees paid to an inspection station.
The fees you are required to pay will vary depending on the type of vehicle you have, the Texas county in which you reside, and the kind of inspection you must complete.
In Texas, vehicles must pass an annual safety inspection, which applies to all counties in Texas. Emissions inspections are performed in selected counties. To register your out-of-state car, the TX DPS is required to have notice that your vehicle passed the necessary inspections.
With the recent change in Texas vehicle registration law, only new vehicles that are purchased from a dealer are eligible for multi-year registrations upon initial registration.
As of March 1, 2015, the inspection and registration process has changed. The inspection dates now coincide with your car’s registration date, which means your vehicle’s inspection will be due when you renew your registration. Previously, inspection/registration inspection dates were not linked to registration dates.
In addition, you will now only be issued a single sticker that must be placed on your windshield that serves as your inspection and registration stickers. Before this change, Texas drivers were required to display their registration and inspection stickers. First-time vehicle registrants will have their car inspected before getting registered to be issued one sticker.
Another change that has occurred in the Texas registration process is the payment of inspection fees. Before the change in this law, the third-party inspection station collected the entire fee, including the state’s portion.
Inspection stations now ONLY collect their share of the state inspection fee. Contact your current inspection station directly for fee amounts. You must pay the state’s portion of the collection fee to the TX DPS when you pay your car registration fees.
When registering your vehicle, you must obtain new license plates, or you must transfer the license plates from your previous vehicle.
You will be given general-issue license plates when registering your car initially. Your plates can be replaced at your local county tax assessor’s office.
If you need to transfer your Texas license plates to a different vehicle you own, you can do so for a fee. The TX DMV will issue an updated registration sticker for your new car.
Texas vehicle registration stickers are issued by the county tax office and feature the following information:
- Your current license plate information (license plate number)
- The name of the county where your vehicle is registered
- Sever digits of your vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Your vehicle’s registration date
Remember that the registration sticker must be placed on your car’s windshield. Your registration expires on the last day of the month shown on your Texas registration sticker. You have a grace period of 5 business days. Driving with an expired vehicle registration could result in a $200 fine!
Once you move to Texas, you have a maximum of 30 days to title and register your out-of-state car with the TX DMV.
First, your car must pass an inspection at your local Texas inspection station. This vehicle inspection will consist of a safety check and an emissions check; however, the emissions check is specific to certain Texas counties.
Your car must pass inspection before you will be eligible to receive a Texas car title.
Once you pass inspection, submit the following to your local TX DMV branch:
- Your valid out-of-state car title and registration
- A completed Application for Texas Car Title (Form 130-U)
- Proof of a valid Texas auto insurance policy
- Proof your car passed inspection
- An odometer disclosure is required IF your vehicle is less than 10 years old
- Proof of paid sales tax
- Payment for all applicable TX title fees and taxes
In Texas, you will complete the titling and registration process simultaneously.
Vehicle titling fees in Texas may vary depending on the county. Call your local county tax office for an estimate of your Texas titling fees. The standard Texas title transfer fees are as follows:
- Title application: $28 or $33 (depending on the county in which you reside)
- Inspection fee (state portion): a maximum of $30.75 (the inspection station will charge its additional service fees upon inspection)
- Local and county fees: $31.50 (maximum amount)
- Insurance verification fee: $1
- Automation fee: $1
There are different ways you can renew your Texas vehicle registration. We’ll list the different methods you can use to renew your TX car registration, and you can decide which option best suits you.
Did you know you could renew your registration online and receive a $1 discount? Your Texas vehicle registration can be renewed online 90 days before the expiration date or 1 year after the expiration date IF you have yet to receive a citation for an expired registration. Your expiration month will NOT change.
Be advised that there is a 2-day payment processing hold before your Texas vehicle registration sticker is printed. Allow a maximum of 3 weeks for processing and mailing. Be advised that you are required to have your vehicle inspected, and it must pass a Texas inspection BEFORE you can renew your TX vehicle registration.
Your vehicle’s registration sticker displays different information, such as your license plate number, county of registration, and partial vehicle identification number (VIN). This specific customization aids in protecting you against theft and fraud.
Your vehicle’s registration expires on the last day of the month, provided on your sticker. For example, if your car sticker shows the date 12/23, your car registration is valid through the last day of December 2023. Vehicles registered in Texas must pass an annual inspection to ensure they comply with Texas law.
Texas by Texas is the digital assistant that enables Texas residents to manage their government-issued licenses and registrations by creating an online account. You can also receive reminders when it’s time to complete specific tasks, such as renewing your Texas registration.
How do you get TxT? This app can be downloaded from the App Store and in Google Play. You can renew your vehicle registration electronically using TxT through the following links:
Texas registration renewal notices are mailed to all registered vehicle owners in Texas unless they opt to go paperless. To renew your vehicle registration by mail, you must send the following to your Texas county tax office:
- Current renewal notice (obtain the vehicle owner’s portion for your records)
- A copy of your valid Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) – you can also obtain a copy at www.mytxcar.org.
- Proof of a valid auto liability insurance policy
- All applicable fees listed on your renewal notice
To register your Texas vehicle in person, you need to take your vehicle registration renewal notice and proof that you have a valid auto liability insurance policy to your Texas county tax office or an approved substation.
If you don’t have your vehicle renewal notice, you can renew your car registration using one of the following pieces of information:
- License plate number
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
- Registration receipt from the previous year
In most cases, Texas inspection records are available in near real-time. However, there may be instances when the record is not available immediately. If your vehicle passed inspection, but the system is not able to electronically verify it, you can present the vehicle inspection record you received from the vehicle inspection station to the county at the time of renewal.
If proof of inspection is required to complete your TX vehicle registration renewal, visit MyTXCar.org to download or display it electronically. You can also print a copy of your document. Your vehicle’s inspection will be verified manually, and you will be eligible to renew your TX vehicle registration.
Some Texas counties offer vehicle renewals at substations and subcontractors, such as participating grocery stores. If you’re renewing your vehicle registration at a county subcontractor location, they may NOT accept your vehicle inspection report as proof of a passed inspection.
Each Texas county determines whether its subcontractors are eligible to verify inspections manually with a vehicle inspection report. If a subcontractor is not permitted to verify a passed inspection using a VIR, you will be directed to the TX County tax office to complete the vehicle renewal process.
Acceptable payment options vary by county. Contact your Texas county tax office for more information.
Your Texas vehicle registration renewal notice will include the following information:
- Renewal deadline date (the date by which you are required to renew your TX vehicle registration)
- Registration renewal fee (the amount you must pay to renew your TX vehicle registration)
- Emissions and/or safety inspection requirements (information about all required inspections)
Texas vehicle registration renewal notices are sent by mail to all registered vehicle owners. If you didn’t receive a renewal notice, you can still renew your vehicle registration online, by mail, drop box, or in person at any of the Texas County Tax Assessor-Collector offices. Make sure you have your license plate number and the vehicle identification number, as this information is required to complete the TX vehicle registration renewal process.
We’re sure you have questions about registering your out-of-state vehicle in Texas, so we’ll cover the most asked questions.
How many days do I have to register my out-of-state vehicle in Texas?
You have 30 days after establishing residency in Texas to have your vehicle inspected and registered. Keep in mind that your out-of-state vehicle must pass all inspections before you can register your vehicle.
When registering my out-of-state vehicle, do I need to submit proof of ownership documentation?
Yes. You are required to provide proof of ownership, proper identification, and proof of a valid auto insurance policy. You may also need to submit a Certificate of Inspection. You need to complete an Application for Texas Certificate of Title (Form 130-U) and pay the registration fees. These required fees vary by county and vehicle type.
If I am registering a standard vehicle, how much is my registration fee?
If your out-of-state vehicle is a standard passenger vehicle or a light-weight pickup truck, according to the TX DMV, your fee will be $50.75.
As you are probably aware, there are tons of DMV locations throughout the state of Texas. We’ve listed a handful of these locations to help you stay on track with your TX registration process.
TX DMV – Granbury Branch
1410 W. Pearl St.
Granbury, TX 76048
Monday – Friday (7:30 AM – 5 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)
TX DMV – Katy Branch
22333 Grand Corner Dr.
Katy, TX 77494
Monday – Friday (8 AM – 4 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)
TX DMV – Belton Branch
550 E. 2nd Ave.
Belton, TX 76513
Monday – Friday (8 AM – 4 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)
TX DMV – Austin Branch
4000 Jackson Ave.
Austin, TX 78731
Monday – Friday (8 AM – 5 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)