Texas Vehicle Registration

Texas Vehicle Registration Guide

Texas Vehicle RegistrationBuying a used car in Texas requires prudence and due diligence.  Texas vehicle registration is not that complicated. Just make sure you have all the documents you need. Make sure you legally register your vehicle.

All the vehicles in Texas must be registered with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The car dealer normally process the registration if you are buying from them. But when it comes to a private seller, you need to process the registration yourself. The process is simple and easy.

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VINCheck.info provides an overview of everything you need to know about vehicle title and registration steps in Texas.

Owners must register their vehicles in Texas within 30 days of becoming a resident.

  • Visit a Texas DPS certified inspection station for the Vehicle Inspection Report
  • Bring a Valid Insurance Card with a minimum coverage of:
    • $30,000 per injured person
    • $25,000 for property damage
  • Visit the local county tax-assessor collector office to get Texas License Plates and Registration Sticker
  • Submit a completed Registration/Title Application Form (130-U)
  • Acquire a Texas Driver’s License from the Department of Public Safety
  • Pay applicable fees

If applicable, the DMV may also ask for the following:

  • Proof of Ownership
  • Foreign/Military Ownership Document
  • Out-of-state Insurance

The vehicle to be titled in the owner’s name should be registered within 30 days of the date of sale. The same grace period applies for out-of-state vehicles:

  • The vehicle should pass Texas Vehicle Inspection
  • Secure qualified Insurance Policy for Texan vehicles
  • Odometer Reading (if the car is not more than 10 years old)
  • Valid Ownership Document (e.g. Out-of-state Title)
  • Proof of Sales Tax Payment
  • Current Foreign/Military Ownership Document (if applicable)
  • Completed Registration/Title Application Form (130-U)
  • Applicable fees:
    • Registration Fee ($50.75)
    • Title Application Fee ($28-$33)
    • Vehicle Inspection Fee ($30.75 or less)
    • Local County Fees ($31.50 or less)
    • 6.25% Vehicle Sales Tax
    • $1 Insurance Verification Fee
    • $4.75 Processing & Handling Fee

Before a vehicle can be taken into the country, it must pass both state and federal regulations:

  • The unit must comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
  • The owner must address matters concerning the U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • The vehicle must pass Texas Safety Inspection to get an official Vehicle Inspection Report.
  • The vehicle must undergo VIN inspection from a certified auto theft investigator, who will provide a VIN Inspection Form (VTR-68-A) upon completion. They must be working under any of these units or agencies:
    • Municipal Police Auto Theft Unit
    • County Sheriff’s Department Auto Theft Unit
    • Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division
    • Auto Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority Task Force
    • National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)

Bring the following to a county tax office:

  • U.S. Department of Transportation Form HS-7 or equivalent customs/federal compliance paper(s)
  • Original Bond Release Letter from the U.S. Department of Transportation (if applicable)
  • Vehicle Inspection Report
  • VIN Inspection Form (VTR-68-A) or:
  • Vehicle Inspection Report
  • Completed Registration/Title Application Form (130-U)
  • Odometer Reading (less than 10 years old)
  • Ownership Document:
    • Provide a certified English translation if written in another language

A vehicle is deemed ‘salvaged’ by the DMV if it was declared a ‘total loss’ by the insurance provider. Once the ‘salvage’ title is granted, the car becomes prohibited from being driven.

If a salvage-titled vehicle is restored to a condition that satisfies the state’s safety standards, the unit can be applied for a ‘rebuilt’ title. As with other cars, the registration requirements will apply if the owner decides to re-register it.

Earning a ‘rebuilt’ title will restore the previous rights and privileges associated with the car. It will be issued with license plates, sticker and other documents from the DMV.

Non-resident military personnel may keep their registration from their home state if they were assigned in Texas. The same is true for Texas residents working out of state. However, they must keep it up-to-date to be permitted by the DMV to operate.

The usual residency rule applies to those who wish to move to the state and register. The unit must be registered in 30 days and the following requirements must be provided:

  • VIN Self-Certification Form (VTR-270) or Vehicle Inspection Report
  • Valid Insurance Policy
  • Proof of Military Service or Leave and Earnings Statement (LES)
  • Copy of Current Government-issued ID
  • Title/Registration Application Form (130-U)
  • Current Out-of-state Registration (if applicable)
  • Payment for these fees:
    • New Resident Tax ($90)
    • Registration Fee for 6,000 lbs and less vehicles ($51.75)
    • Title Application Fee ($28 – $33)
    • Local Fee (not more than $31.50)
    • Processing and Handling Fee ($4.75)
    • Vehicle Inspection Fee (not more than $30.75)
    • Sales Tax equivalent to 6.25% of the posted price

Vehicle registration in Texas must be renewed every year. The DMV will send you a registration renewal notice days before it expires.

You must renew your vehicle registration in person at the local DMV office if your renewal notice directs you to, or if you owe any delinquency fees or unpaid traffic tickets. Make sure to bring the following:

  • Proof of Valid Insurance
  • License Plate Number
  • Vehicle Identification Number, or
    • Previous Year’s Registration Receipt
  • Payment to cover your renewal fees (cash, check, money order, debit/ATM card)

Online renewal can be done between 90 days before expiration and six months after expiration. It may take up to three weeks to get a new registration sticker. You need the following when requesting online renewal:

  • Internet access
  • A valid credit/debit card or checking account
  • The last four digits of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Texas License Plate Number
  • Copy of Vehicle Inspection Report
  • Proof of Valid Vehicle Insurance

Mail these items, along with your request, to the county tax office:

  • Renewal Notice
  • Copy of Vehicle Inspection Report
  • Proof of Valid Vehicle Insurance
  • Associated Fees

To request a change of address on your vehicle’s DMV records, you must complete the Address Change Form (VTR-146).

Mail it to the following address:

Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
Vehicle Titles and Registration Division
P.O. Box 26417
Austin, TX 78755-0417

If your intention is to change the mailing address for registration renewal notice, fill out the appropriate section on the same form or change it online.

To transfer vehicle ownership between family members, you must present these requirements:

  • Signed Negotiable Title
  • Completed Title/Application Form (130-U)
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts (Form 14-317)
  • Affidavit of Motor Vehicle Gift Transfer
  • The Signatures of Donor and Recipient on the affidavit and title application.
  • Payment for applicable fees and taxes (to be submitted to the county tax office)

Texas DMV charges multiple when you register your vehicle. Each case is different. These fees will be charged during your car purchase if you buy from a dealer. You must pay the DMV directly if you purchased your vehicle from a private party. The fees that are required from ALL vehicles include:

  • New Resident Tax ($90)
  • Registration Fee ($50.75)
  • Title Application Fee ($28 – $33)
  • Vehicle Inspection Fee ($30.75 or less)
  • Local County Fees ($31.50 or less)
  • Insurance Verification Fee ($1)
  • New Resident Tax ($90)
  • Processing and Handling Fee ($4.75)
  • Sales Tax equivalent to 6.25% of the vehicle’s price

We hope that this guide will help you register your car in Texas. For more information and clarifications, we recommending contacting the nearest DMV office in your location.

Not from Texas? Click your state on the map below for vehicle registration information specific to your state.