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License Plates & Placards in Texas

SUMMARY: Texas License Plates

If you live in Texas and drive a vehicle, you'll need a Texas license plate. To apply for a license plate, simply register your vehicle. You'll need to renew your plates by renewing your vehicle registration. If you get a new car, you can usually transfer license plates from your previous vehicle. You can also replace license plates and use the TX DMV license plate lookup for personalized plate options.

Read below for more information about license plates in Texas.

Are you looking for something a little different? Learn more about your choices on our specialty plates and applying for specialty plates pages.

NOTE: Do you need disabled parking access? Find compete details on our Disability Placards & Plates page.

Types of Texas License Plates

If you live in Texas and own a car, truck, motorcycle, or other vehicle, you'll need to register it with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The TX DMV issues license plates for the front and back of most vehicles. These license plates will be required to be changed every 7 years due to deterioration of the reflective coating on the plate.

In addition to the standard license plate, there are several types of specialty plates you can choose from, including personalized tags that support specific causes or organizations.

If you have a disability, you may wish to apply for disability parking plates. For more information, visit our Disability Plates and Placards page, which has application information and regulations.

Temporary License Plates

Texas offers several types of temporary plates and short-term registration options that allow you to operate a vehicle that must be registered.

If you buy a vehicle from a dealership, they will handle the temporary plates and registration for you.

If you buy from a private seller, you can print a temporary transit permit from the TX DMV website. It is valid for up to 5 days and allows you to take your vehicle to the DMV to be registered.

Apply for License Plates in Texas

To get your Texas license plates, you need to register your vehicle with the TX DMV.

When you move to TX, you have 30 days to register your vehicles. If you live in TX and buy a vehicle, you have 30 days to title and register it.

Learn more about registering your car in Texas on our Vehicle Registration page.

Renew Your Vehicle Tags

Before your license plate sticker expires, you need to renew your registration. Once your renewal is processed, you'll get a new sticker to put over the old one.

The TX DMV offers online registration renewal as well as renewal by mail and in person. See our Registration Renewal page for complete details.

Replace Texas License Plates

If your license plates and/or stickers have been lost, stolen, or destroyed—or if your plates are due for replacement—you will need to replace them in person at your local tax assessor-collector's office.

To replace your plates, you will need to submit:

You will receive replacements as soon as possible after your application has been reviewed and approved.

While you aren't required to report loss or theft to the police, you may want to do so to prevent fraudulent use of your tags.

Transfer or Surrender License Plates

You can transfer TX license plates for free at your tax assessor-collector's office.

Transfers are allowed IF your plates are less than 7 years old AND you're transferring them:

  • Between vehicles you already own.
  • To a vehicle you've purchased from a dealer or private party.
  • To a vehicle you're leasing.
  • From a vehicle you co-own to a vehicle in your name only.

You must remove the registration sticker when you remove the plates from the previous vehicle.

If you cannot or choose not to transfer your plates, you MUST surrender them in person at your local Texas tax assessor/collector office.

Fees for Texas Tags

The fees below are base fees ONLY and do not include service fees, taxes, or local fees.

  • New registration and registration renewal.
    • Cars and light pickup trucks: $50.75.
    • Vehicles from 6,001 to 10,000 lbs.: $54.
    • Heavy-duty pickups, RVs, and commercial vehicles: Fees vary by weight.
    • Trailers and travel trailers up to 6,000 lbs.: $45.
  • Replacement License Plates:
    • Most plates & stickers: $6.
      PLUS
    • Automation fee: $1.
  • License plate transfer are free.

Lookup License Plates

When you order personalized license plates in TX, the online ordering system will perform a license plate lookup to see if the letter and number combination you want is available.

To use the license plate lookup, choose a plate type and personalized message for the system to check. Available combinations must still be approved before they're issued.

License plate numbers CANNOT be used to look up the registered owner of a vehicle or other information. Instead:

  • Contact local law enforcement to report a vehicle.
    OR
  • Order a vehicle history report for a vehicle's accident and repair history.

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