Car Registration in Texas
Registering a car?
It's a good time to check car insurance rates
Find the lowest rate among top providers.Page Overview
This page is designed to help you register a vehicle for the first time in Texas. If you already have a registered vehicle and want to renew it, visit our Registration Renewal page to learn how.
You have 30 days to register your vehicle after establishing residency. Before visiting your local County Tax Office, make sure that:
- You have proof of auto insurance.
- You get a vehicle safety inspection. Be prepared to show proof of car insurance when arriving at the inspection station.
Now you're ready to register your car. Arrive at your local County Tax Office with:
- Proof of car insurance.
- Proof of your vehicle passing a safety inspection.
- Proof that you own the vehicle (registration or title from previous state).
- A completed Application for Texas Certificate of Title (Form 130-U). Even if you are not titling the vehicle, use this application for registering.
- A completed Application for Registration Purposes Only (Form VTR-272) if there's a lien on your vehicle.
- Payment of registration fees. You may, depending on your situation, be required to pay additional titling or sales tax fees.
NOTE: Some counties in Texas also may require an emissions test. Visit our Smog & Emissions Checks page for full details.
All vehicles owned by Texas residents must be properly registered.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires that you have insurance to get an inspection, register your vehicle, and get a Texas driver's license. If you're in the market for new coverage, visit our Car Insurance Center to compare rates from a variety of providers.
Registering a New Vehicle
After purchasing a vehicle, you have 30 days to register it with the TX DMV. To register, visit your local County Tax Office and:
- Provide proper identification.
- Provide proof of car insurance.
- Complete an Application for Texas Certificate of Title (Form 130-U). This form handles titling and registration.
- Provide a Certificate of Inspection, if applicable. This will depend on your county.
- Pay the registration fees (fees vary by county and vehicle type).
If you are purchasing a vehicle from a private individual, or selling your own vehicle and need to transfer the registration, visit our Title Transfers in Texas page.
You are not required to title or register your vehicle with the TX DMV if you're a member of the Armed Forces who is not from Texas. But you do need to keep your registration current in your home state in order to drive in Texas.
Registration fees vary depending on the county in which you are registering. There are some statewide standard fees:
- Cars and lighter pickup trucks: $50.75
- Vehicles weighing 6,001 to 10,000 lbs.: $54
- Motorcycles and mopeds: $30
Your fee includes the base fee, plus an Automation fee of $1 that is used for improvements to the registration system.
Texas charges a 6.25% tax rate based on the value of the vehicle. If you buy a vehicle from an individual, the taxes will be charged to you along with the title, registration, and local county fees.
Each county has its own registration fees, which are explained on the Texas Registration Fees chart available for download on the Texas DMV website.
If you have a custom-built car in Texas, the registration process is slightly different. You'll need to have your vehicle inspected to make sure all safety equipment is in working condition.
You'll also need to apply for a vehicle identification number (VIN) by visiting your local Texas DMV office with:
- A completed Rebuilt Vehicle Statement (Form VTR-61).
- Receipts or bills of sales for all major parts you used in constructing your vehicle.
- Payment for any applicable fees.
When you're ready, follow the steps outlined in " Registering a Vehicle in TX" above to register and title your custom car.
When registering, you will need to get new license plates or transfer the license plates from your old vehicle.
New License Plates
You will be given general issue license plates when you register your vehicle for the first time. These plates are valid for 7 years.
If you prefer specialized plates, visit our License Plates & Placards in Texas page for more information.
Transfer License Plates
You can transfer your Texas license plates to a different vehicle for free. The Texas DMV will issue an updated registration sticker for the new vehicle.
TX license plates are only good for 7 years. If your transfer plates are approaching 7 years, you will need to obtain new plates from the TX DMV.
Vehicle Registration Stickers
Texas vehicle registration stickers, which are issued by your county tax office, feature:
- Your license plate number.
- The name of the county where your vehicle is registered.
- Several digits of your vehicle identification number (VIN).
- Your vehicle's registration date.
The sticker should be affixed to your vehicle's windshield.
The registration expires the last day of the month shown on the registration sticker. There is a grace period of five working days. Driving with an expired registration could result in a $200 fine.
Jump over to our Special Vehicles page for detailed information on how to register your trailer.
You can find information on registering off-highway vehicles on our Special Vehicles page.Other Topics in This Section