First Time Car Registration in Texas
- Visit your local Texas tax office.
- Complete an Application for Texas Certificate of Title (Form 130-U: Get Started Now).
- Provide proof of ID, car insurance, vehicle inspection, and ownership.
- Pay the $51.75 vehicle registration fee (standard).
- Note: Additional fees may apply.
For more information, please see below.
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.
NOTE: Other vehicle types, including custom-built cars and trailers, have different registration requirements. Visit our Special Vehicles page for details on these types of vehicles.
As of March 1, 2015, some changes have been made regarding vehicle registration, inspections, and registration stickers. Read below to see how these changes affect your new registration OR visit our Registration Renewal in Texas page to see how the change in law affects your registration renewal.
New to Texas?
You have 30 days after establishing residency to have your vehicle inspected and registered. 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: Get Started Now). Even if you are not titling the vehicle, use this application for registering.
- 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.
Find all the information you need to finish your moving requirements with the DMV.
Registering a Vehicle in TX
After purchasing a vehicle, you have 30 days to have it inspected and registered with the TX DMV. To register, visit your local County Tax Office and:
- Proof of vehicle ownership.
- Provide proper identification.
- Provide proof of car insurance.
- Complete an Application for Texas Certificate of Title (Form 130-U: Get Started Now). 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.
Vehicle Inspection Requirement
In Texas, vehicles are subject to annual safety inspections (all counties) and emissions inspections (select counties). In order to register your car, the TX DPS must have notice that you passed all necessary inspections.
With this change in vehicle registration law, only new cars bought from a dealer will be eligible for multi-year registrations upon initial registration.
Two Steps One Sticker
As of March 1, 2015, changes have been made to the inspection/registration process.
Inspection dates now coincide with the registration date of your vehicle. This means that your vehicle inspection will be due at the same time as your registration renewal. This is in contrast with prior inspection/registration procedures when inspection dates were not linked to registration dates.
Additionally, you will now only be issued one sticker (to be placed on your windshield) that will serve as both your inspection and registration stickers. Prior to this change, Texas drivers were required to display both a registration sticker and an inspection sticker.
For first-time vehicle registrant, this means you will need to have your vehicle inspected PRIOR to registration, so as to be issued the single sticker.
Another significant change in the registration process involves the payment of inspection fees. Prior to the change in law, the third-party inspection station would collect the entire fee, including the state's portion.
Now, inspection stations only collect their share of the inspection fee. (Contact your inspection station directly for fee amounts.) You will need to pay the the state's portion of the collection fee to the Texas DPS when you pay your vehicle registration fees (see below).
Vehicle Registration for Active Military
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.
Texas Vehicle Registration Fees
Registration fees vary depending on the county in which you are registering. There are some statewide standard fees:
- Cars and lighter pickup trucks: $51.75
- Vehicles weighing 6,001 to 10,000 lbs.: $54
- Motorcycles and mopeds: $30
In addition to your base registration fees you may also pay other state, local, and county* fees:
- Automation fee:$1.
- TexasSure insurance verification fee: $1.
- Local fee: $10.
- Inspection fee: $7.50.
- Processing and handling fee: $4.75.
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.
Additional Vehicle Inspection Fees
You will also need to pay vehicle inspection fees to the TX DPS when you register your vehicle in Texas.
NOTE: This is the state portion of fees which must be paid in addition to fees paid to an inspection station.
Fees will differ depending on the type of vehicle you have, the Texas county you live in, and the type of inspection you are required to complete. Visit the Two Steps One Sticker website for a full list of fees.
For more information about vehicle inspection requirements in Texas, see above.
TX License Plates
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. You can replace your plates at your local county tax assessor's office.
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.
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 5 working days. Driving with an expired registration could result in a $200 fine.