New to Texas

SUMMARY: New Texas Residents

As a new resident of Texas, you'll need to register your car and obtain a TX driver's license with the DMV and DPS, respectively. You must register your vehicle(s) first before applying for a driver's license. These tasks will require a trip to your local DPS office and your local county tax office, which handles DMV matters. Once there, where you'll need to submit various documents and payment for the required fees. Once you become a Texas resident, you may also wish to register as an organ donor and register to vote. Both of these registrations can be completed at your local DPS office.

Continue reading this page to find out how to complete your transactions with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Texas and the Department of Public Safety


Texas State Departments

There are two main agencies in Texas that administer DMV-related services:

  • The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) provides vehicle-related services such as registration and titling. You must register your vehicle(s) first before you apply for a TX driver's license.
    • DMV services are generally handled by your local county tax office
    • The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) handles licensing and ID processes.

Additionally, as you establish residency, you may interact with other state departments, including:

  • The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, if you need to register your boat.
  • The Elections Division of the Secretary of State, if you choose to register to vote.
Just Moved?

Find all the information you need to finish your moving requirements with the DMV.

Register Your Car in Texas

If you are bringing any vehicles with you when you move to Texas, you'll first need to have them pass a DPS inspection. See our Car Registration page for complete instructions. Then, need to register them with the TX DMV at your local county tax office within 30 days of becoming a resident. You will need to have valid auto insurance and payment for registration fees.

Special Vehicles

Off-road vehicles, motorhomes, trailers and anything else determined to be a special vehicle will also need to be registered. This process is a little different and you can read all about it on our section on Special Vehicles in Texas.

Car Insurance Requirements

In order to register your car in Texas, you'll have to show proof of your insurance to the Department of Motor Vehicles (TXDMV) at your local county tax office. Moving to a new state presents a great opportunity to shop for a new insurance policy. Visit our Car Insurance center to compare quotes and make sure you're getting the best deal possible.

Emissions Inspections

Most vehicles are required to undergo an emissions inspection in Texas. Depending on what county you live in and what vehicle you drive, you may be exempt from testing. Please refer to our Car Inspections in Texas page for more details.

TX Driver's License/ID Cards

When you move to Texas, you'll need to transfer your out-of-state driver's license to the state within 90 days of establishing residency. You'll need to visit your local TX DPS office in person with various documents and payment for the driver's license fee. You will also need to surrender your out-of-state driver's license. For more information, see our page about Applying for a New License.

Teen Drivers

If you're a teenager and have a learner's permit from another state, you may be able to transfer it for a TX permit without passing the written knowledge exam. For more information, see our guide to Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers).

If you need a commercial driver's license (CDL), application instructions can be found on our Applying for a New CDL in Texas page.

Identification Cards

If you don't hold a driver's license, a Texas identification card can serve as your proof of identity. In order to get one, you'll need to provide documents to verify your identity, U.S. citizenship or lawful presence, and Texas residency. Check out our Identification Cards in Texas page for more information.

Organ Donor & Voter Registration

If you were a registered organ donor in your previous state, you will need to re-register once you become a Texas resident. For more information about organ donation, or to register today, visit our Organ Donation page.

If you would like to vote in the next election, be sure to register to vote in Texas by the deadline date. Our Voter Registration page has all the information you need to get yourself on the voting list.

Military Members Stationed in Texas

When it comes to state-imposed requirements regarding driver's licensing and vehicle registration, you may be exempt if you're an active-duty member of the U.S. military. Our Military Drivers in Texas page has some information that may be helpful to you.

DMV Office Locations & Resources

Our DMV Office Finder can help you locate any TX DPS or county tax office in the state. You may also wish to become acquainted with the state's road rules by reading the following driving manuals:

DMV.ORG BBB Business Review