Registration Renewal in Texas
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires all residents to renew their vehicle registration annually. It's important to renew on time to avoid fines for failing to comply. Renewals may be completed online, by mail, or in person. You will need to have your vehicle inspected in order to renew.
Continue reading below to learn more about renewing your vehicle registration in Texas.
As of March 2015, new changes to the renewal process have been put in place regarding your required vehicle inspection. Please see TX Safety and Emissions Check below for full details.
Registering for the First Time in Texas?
Did you just move to Texas? Purchase a used car? If so, then visit our Car Registration page for full details on how to register your vehicle.
You must renew your TX registration every year by the last day of the month in which it expires. You should receive a renewal notice from the Texas DMV well before your registration's expiration deadline. The renewal notice will include:
- Renewal deadline date.
- Registration renewal fee.
- Emissions and/or safety inspection requirements.
- Contact information for your County Tax Office.
Didn't Receive a TX Registration Renewal Notice?
If you don't have a TX DMV registration renewal notice, you can still renew online (as long as you're eligible and/or your county participates) or in person. Either way, it's your responsibility to renew your TX registration before it expires, even if you never received a renewal notice.
NOTE: Update your address with the TX DMV if your address has changed.
Texas DMV E-mail Reminders
The TX DMV recommends signing up for eReminders. With eReminders, you never have to worry about your renewal notice getting lost in the mail. Plus, if you forget to renew your plates after your first eReminder, the DMV will automatically send another, close to your registration's expiration date.
To register for eReminders, provide:
- Your Texas license plate number.
- The last four digits of your vehicle's identification number (VIN).
- Your email address.
NOTE: You will still be sent a regular renewal notice in the mail even if you sign up for eReminders.
All vehicles registered in Texas must undergo an annual safety inspection, which is conducted at an official motor vehicle inspection station. Your inspection must be valid when you register your vehicle.
Two Steps One Sticker
A key law change enacted on March 1, 2015, significantly affects the vehicle registration and inspection process.
With this change, your vehicle inspection due date is now directly linked with your vehicle registration renewal date. In order to register your car, you must first pass any necessary safety inspections (all Texas counties) and smog inspections (select counties).
As part of this transition for Texans, through February 29, 2016:
- If your registration renewal is due before your inspection due date, you do not have to get an inspection until your next registration renewal.
- If your inspection is due in or before the same month of your registration renewal, you will be required to pass the inspection before you can register.
Upon successful registration renewal, you will be issued one sticker to be displayed on your windshield. This sticker will act as both your proof of registration and proof of inspection.
Read below for information about new inspection fee procedures in TX.
Out-of-State TX Residents
If you're outside of Texas when your registration renewal is due and cannot complete a vehicle inspection, you must notify the TX DMV and you will be permitted to renew your registration without completing the inspection.
You will need to have your vehicle inspected within 3 days of returning to Texas.
You may renew your Texas plates in one of three ways:
Renew in Person
Visit your county tax office and:
- Present your TX vehicle renewal notice. If you don't have it, you can still renew with one of the following:
―Your license plate number.
―Your vehicle identification number (VIN).
―Last year's registration receipt.
- Provide proof of liability insurance.
- Pay your renewal fees (different county offices accept different forms of payment; call before visiting).
- Be sure your safety and/or emissions inspection is valid.
NOTE: Depending on your county, you may be able to renew at a licensed substation (such as a grocery store). Contact your County Tax Office for locations.
Renew by Mail
To renew your TX vehicle's registration by mail:
- Review your DMV renewal notice and make sure all information (address, name, vehicle) is correct. Retain the vehicle owner portion of the notice for your records.
- Complete emissions and safety inspection information on the notice, if required. You cannot renew your registration if your vehicle doesn't have a valid inspection.
- Provide a photocopy of your proof of insurance.
- Pay renewal fee with a money order or check
- Mail the paperwork and your fees to your County Tax Office.
NOTE: If it's been a few weeks since you mailed your renewal and you've yet to receive your new TX registration sticker and certificate, contact your County Tax Office. Be ready with:
- Your VIN.
- Your vehicle's license plate number.
Before you can renew your TX registration online, you must meet the following requirements:
- Your county must participate in the online renewal system.
- You must be a resident in the county in which your vehicle is registered.
- Your vehicle's liability insurance coverage must meet the state's minimum requirements.
- You must have completed any necessary emissions and safety inspections on your vehicle. The TX DMV will check your inspection date electronically.
- You have not received a ticket for driving with an expired registration.
- You must have a valid e-mail account.
- Enter your license plate number.
- Enter the last four digits of your VIN.
- Enter your proof of insurance (required if the DMV's online verification system is unable to verify your coverage).
- Pay your renewal fees with a MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover card.
NOTE: If you need technical assistance when renewing online, call the TX DMV help desk at (888) 368-4689 or send an email to email@example.com.
Your vehicle's registration renewal fees include a number of factors, such as base registration fees, DMV fees, and local county fees.
Base Registration Fees:
- Cars and light trucks: $50.75
- Pickup trucks between 6,001 to 10,000 lbs.: $54
- Mopeds and motorcycles: $30
DMV Registration Fees:
- $1 Automation Fee (pays for improving the DMV's titling and registration system).
- $1 Department of Public Safety Fee (pays for the TexasSure insurance verification system).
As of March 2015, a portion of vehicle inspection fees must be paid to the TX DMV when you renew your vehicle registration. Previously, the total fee was paid to the vehicle inspection station.
NOTE: You will still need to pay a portion of inspection fees to the inspection station.
The amount paid when you renew your registration will be based on the type of inspection required in your county and the type of vehicle you own. See the TX DMV website for details.
Local County Fees:
Local county fees vary by county and can be as high as $20.
Fees also vary for such things as motorhomes and commercial vehicles, so look over your TX DMV renewal notice for an itemized list of what you owe. You can also review the TX DMV's fee chart if you don't have your notice.
Late Fees and Penalties
Your TX registration is considered expired after the last day of your renewal month. If you forget to renew, you will have 5 business days after the end of your renewal month to renew your plates without penalty. After the grace period you risk getting a $200 ticket.
TX License Plates
Texas license plates should be replaced every 7 years. Your renewal notice will indicate when it's time to get new plates. They will be issued to you at no charge.
TX law requires that all motorists maintain a minimum level of liability insurance at all times. Without valid proof of insurance, you can't renew your vehicle's registration.
To confirm TX insurance minimums or to update your coverage, visit our Texas Insurance Section.
For Texas residents serving in the military outside of the state, you may renew your registration:
- By mail
You must meet the renewal requirements, just as if you were in the state (see above). Additionally, before you complete your renewal, be sure to update your address with the TX DMV to your current out-of-state address. That way, you will receive your renewal materials in a timely manner.
NOTE: Additional information for military personnel in Texas may be found on our Military Drivers Section.
If your Texas license plates have been damaged or stolen, apply for new ones as soon as possible.
You also need to get duplicates of your TX registration certificate and/or license plate stickers from the TX DMV if they become lost or damaged.
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