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With the largest land mass in the continental United States, Texas is nearly a country within a country. Its wide-open spaces, warm beaches, historical sites and cities like Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, mean you will never run out of things to do in Texas.
Driving in Texas is necessary in a state this big and that means finding your local Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) office and getting a new Texas driver’s license or Texas ID card, or your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) location for registering your car and registering and titling your boat.
You can drive with your valid out-of-state license for 90 days after moving to Texas, but your car has to be registered and titled within 30 days.
A boat also must be registered and titled in Texas and you have 90 days to do so.
Like all states, you also have to carry valid car insurance.
With 90 days to apply in person for a driver’s license, you have plenty of time to get the documents you need together. When you head to your local DPS office you will need:
- A valid out-of-state driver's license.
- Provide proof of identity.
- Provide proof of Social Security number.
- Two proofs of Texas residency. One of the documents must prove that you've lived in Texas for a minimum of 30 days.
- Complete required application forms available at any Texas DPS office. Your application must include a photograph and thumbprint.
- Pay the required fee.
- Pass the vision test.
NOTE: If you're 18 and older and hold a valid driver's license from another state, U.S. territory, or from Canada, France, South Korea, or Germany, you do not have to retake the knowledge and road tests.
If you have a valid learner permit or learner's license from Canada, France, South Korea, or Germany, you will be required to take the driving test but not the knowledge exam.
If you have a license and hail from a different country than any of those listed above, you will be required to take both the knowledge and driving test.
If you're younger than 18 and hold an unexpired out-of-state driver's license, you're exempt from the knowledge exam, but you do have to retake the road test.
If you've don't hold a driver's license and wish to apply, visit one of the two following sites that applies to you:
For a Texas ID card you must also apply in person, provide the same proof of identity as for a license and have a Social Security number. The good news is no tests are required.
You will have to pay a fee of $16 if you are age 59 and younger. The card expires after six years. If you are 60 and older the fee is $6 and the card never expires.
You only have 30 days to register your car in Texas and you need to do so before applying for a Texas driver’s license. This means getting a vehicle inspection and having proof of TX car insurance. Some counties require an emissions check while others do not.
You also need to register and title your boat if you're going to be enjoying Texas public waterways. You can do this at the Texas Parks and Wildlife headquarters or field offices and at any of the Tax Assessors-Collectors offices as well.
Texas car insurance requirements are similar to most other states but it’s important to know them before you register your vehicle. In order to drive in Texas your vehicle must meet the state's minimum required amounts, but if your car is financed you may have to carry additional coverage. Bring an extra copy of your proof of insurance when you visit the Texas DMV as they may keep a copy.
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