Motorist FAQ

General

General

  1. Why am I being charged twice for the inspection?

    Texas inspection fees are collected in two steps, but rest assured, you are not being charged twice for an inspection. The inspection station receives its portion of the fee at the time of inspection. The state collects its portion of the fee at the time of registration.

    Inspections are verified electronically, so your inspection station cannot charge you more than their portion of the fee. The remaining state's portion of the fee is collected by your county tax office at the time of your renewal..

  2. My vehicle was salvaged. What do I need to do to get it on the road again?

    When a vehicle is considered salvage, there are several steps to get it rebuilt and back on the road. The steps must be followed in the order listed:

    Step 1: Apply for a Salvage Vehicle Title by mailing the following to the address on the form:

    You should receive the Salvage Vehicle Title within 3 weeks.

    Step 2: Make any necessary repairs and have the vehicle inspected at any state inspection station. A state safety inspection must be conducted by an authorized state safety inspection station in Texas.

    Step 3: Apply for title and/or registration by submitting the following in person to the county tax office:

  3. I'm a Texas resident and currently out of state with my vehicle. How do I renew my registration if I am not in Texas?

    You can renew your registration by “self-certifying” as the vehicle owner, that you are entitled to renew your Texas registration, but you and your vehicle are currently out of state and you are unable to complete the required Texas vehicle inspection. This is common with active-duty military members who are on assignment outside of Texas.

    You can renew your registration and waive the Texas vehicle inspection requirement either online or by mail.

    1. Online: by self-certifying you are out-of-state
    2. By mail: submit the following to a county tax office in Texas if you are not eligible to renew online: 
      • Renewal notice, vehicle identification number, or plate number
      • Copy of owner's current driver license or government-issued photo identification
      • Copy of proof of current vehicle insurance
      • A written statement indicating the vehicle is out-of-state
      • Fees: Contact your local county tax office for exact fee amounts and payment methods

    To ensure you do not receive a ticket or have to pay penalty fees for lack of inspection, you will need to have your vehicle inspected within 3 days after returning to Texas. Also, we recommend you keep the inspection report in your vehicle to prove you have completed it if you are stopped by law enforcement.

  4. I renewed my registration and never received the sticker. How do I get another one?

    If the registration sticker was lost or never received, submit the following in person or by mail to a county tax office:

  5. I'm new to Texas. How do I title/register my vehicle and get my driver's license?

    Welcome to our great state! There are 4 steps to title and register your vehicle in Texas as a new Texas resident. The steps must be followed in the order listed:

    • Step 1: Obtain Texas vehicle insurance
      • Some out-of-state insurance policies may be acceptable. We recommend you contact your insurance agent for assistance
    • Step 2: Obtain a Texas vehicle inspection at any state inspection station within your new county of residence
      • Proof of vehicle insurance will be required at the time of inspection
    • Step 3: Apply for a Texas title and/or registration in person at a county tax office. Take the following with you:
    • Step 4: Apply for a Texas driver license through the Texas Department of Public Safety
      • Information for new residents is available on their website

    Be sure to register your vehicle within 30 days of moving to Texas; otherwise, penalty fees may apply.

  6. How do I obtain disabled placards/plates?

    You can apply for plates and/or parking placards for persons with disabilities in person or by mail at your local county tax office in your county of residence. You will need to provide the following:

  7. How do I check the status of my registration renewal?

    You can check the status of your registration renewal through our online renewal tracking tool Where's My Sticker if you completed your renewal online. The tracker will tell you WHEN IT WAS MAILED to you, not when you should receive it. If the registration renewal was submitted:

    • By mail: Please allow up to two weeks for delivery by the US Postal Service. If it has been more than 2 weeks since the mailing date on the online tracking tool and you have not received your registration, you can contact your local county tax office.
    • Online: You will receive a confirmation email after you complete the online renewal process that will serve as your proof of registration until the sticker arrives. Be sure to keep the confirmation in your vehicle in case you are stopped by law enforcement. You may contact your local county tax office if you do not receive your renewal and it has been 2 weeks since the mailing date or if you need more information.
  8. How do I let the DMV know I no longer own a vehicle?

    To protect yourself from liability, you should complete a Vehicle Transfer Notification within 30 days from the date of sale. You may still submit a vehicle transfer notification after 30 days from the date of sale, but it does not guarantee release from liability. Keep in mind the information on the motor vehicle record will remain the same until the new owner transfers the title into their name..

    You can submit the vehicle transfer notification using one of these options:

  9. What is the difference between the owner on record and the renewal recipient?

    The owner on record is a person that is responsible for the vehicle and owns and receives all correspondence.

    A renewal recipient is someone who may be able to renew the vehicle registration only and if different from the owner on record will receive only the renewal notice.

    A common example when the owner on record is different from the renewal recipient is when the owner on record is the parent and the renewal recipient is their child who is in college and lives at another address.

  10. I'm in the military and Texas is my home of record. How do I title/register my vehicle?

    Thank you for contacting us and for your service and sacrifice for our country.

    The good news is as a Texas resident serving in the U.S. armed forces, regardless of where you are stationed, you can title and/or register your vehicle in Texas by mail to your local Texas county tax office. Be sure to complete your title/registration transfer within 60-days, if you purchased a vehicle and it is not already titled in your name in any state or country; otherwise, penalty fees may apply.

    To apply for title and/or registration while the vehicle is out-of-state, submit the following by mail to a county tax office in Texas:

    To ensure you do not receive a ticket or have to pay penalty fees, you will need to have your vehicle inspected within 3 days after returning to Texas. Also, we recommend you keep the inspection report in your vehicle to prove you have completed it if you are stopped by law enforcement.

    Additional notes:

    For individuals serving abroad or out-of-state in the U.S. armed forces, a Texas physical address is required to obtain either Texas initial registration or renewal.

  11. How do I update my address?

    To change the address on your vehicle record, a completed Change of Address for Texas Motor Vehicle (VTR-146) will need to be submitted in person to your local county tax office or mailed to the address listed on the form. Please note, the Title Document field on the form is not required.

    The online option does not change the address for the owner on record, only the renewal recipient. This means if the owner of the vehicle in our vehicle registration system does not have the same address as the renewal recipient, the registration renewal notice and the registration sticker will be sent to the renewal recipient address, and all other correspondence will be mailed to the owner's address on record.

    A common example of this situation is the vehicle owner is the parent and the renewal recipient is their child who is in college and lives at another address. Any toll violations or notifications to the owner will be sent to the address on file for the owner, not the renewal recipient.

    If you want to change the renewal recipient address, click here.

  12. I just purchased a manufactured trailer. How do I title/register my trailer?

    There are specific requirements for titling and registering trailers in Texas. Registration is always required for a trailer, but the need for a title is based on the trailer weight. If the trailer is over 4,000 pounds gross weight (empty plus carrying capacity) it must be titled, but if it is 4,000 pounds gross weight (empty plus carrying capacity) or less, titling is optional. If the trailer was previously titled, it must continue to be titled.

    There are exceptions for farm trailers:

    • Title is required if it is over 34,000 pounds gross weight or was previously titled
    • Title is optional if it is 34,000 pounds gross weight or less
    • Registration is optional if the farm trailer is 4,000 pounds gross weight or less
    • Farm trailers are exempt from inspection

    You will need to take the following to a county tax office in order to title/register the trailer:

    • Evidence of ownership – Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin, title, bill of sale, or out-of-state registration receipt
    • Completed Application for Texas Title and/or Registration (Form 130-U)
    • Completed Trailer Verification Statement of Fact (Form VTR-141)
      Only required if the trailer is being titled and is:
      • A new travel trailer or park model trailer
      • Any travel trailer or park model trailer last titled/registered out-of-state
      • Any homemade trailer being titled for the first time
    • Weight Certificate, if applicable
      • Required for all out-of-state trailers, unless the empty weight is shown on the out-of-state title or Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin
    • Applicant's current driver license or government-issued photo identification
    • Proof of current inspection, if applicable
      • Inspection is required for trailers over 7,500 pounds gross weight (farm trailers exempt)
      • Inspect your trailer at any state inspection station within your county of residence. Look for stations with a TL or TLMC endorsement remark. We recommend contacting the inspection station to confirm they conduct trailer inspections
      • Click here to view the inspection criteria for trailers. Proof of insurance for the vehicle pulling the trailer will be required at the time of inspection
    • Fees: Contact a county tax office for the exact fee amount and payment methods

    Additional information on trailers, including requirements for assembled trailers, can be found here.

    Titled trailers require a vehicle identification number. If the trailer does not have a vehicle identification number, more information can be found on the VIN Assignment/Reassignment Process.

  13. How do I get a copy of my Texas title?

    If your Texas title is lost or never received, a replacement title can be obtained in person or by mail through a Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Regional Service Center. A replacement is referred to as a Certified Copy of Title. Keep in mind, Texas cannot issue a replacement title for another state.

    To obtain a replacement title, submit the following in person or by mail to a Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Regional Service Center:

    Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Regional Service Center locations are listed on page 2 of the application. Requests submitted by mail must be sent to the Wichita Falls Regional Service Center address.

  14. What are my options if I bought a vehicle without a title?

    If you are unable to obtain the proper documents to complete a vehicle title transfer, there are still two options available to apply for a Texas title. They are:

    Bonded title process: You will need to submit a completed Bonded Title Application or Tax Collector Hearing Statement of Fact (Form VTR-130-SOF), a copy of applicant's current driver license or government-issued photo identification, and a $15 fee in person (check, cash or money order) or by mail (check or money order) to a Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Regional Service Center to determine eligibility.

    Tax Collector Hearing:  Contact your local county tax office  for the requirements.

  15. I purchased a vehicle more than 30 days ago from a dealer. Where are my plates and title?

    A Texas dealer is responsible for processing title and registration on behalf of their customer within 30 days of the date of purchase or 45 days if seller-financed (the dealer provides the financing).

    If it has been 30 days and you have not received your title and/or registration, you can file a dealer complaint against the dealer.

    Our Enforcement Division investigates complaints against licensed dealers. You may submit a dealer complaint online. Once you have submitted the complaint, you will receive a reply email with a case number. You will need the case number to track your complaint status. Complaints are assigned to an investigator in the order received. Please allow up to 3 weeks for the complaint to be assigned to an investigator. The investigator will reach out to you for more information, if needed.

    If the buyer's temporary tag expires before the complaint is settled, we recommend you purchase a 30-Day Permit to put on your vehicle at a county tax office or Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Regional Service Center.

  16. I bought a vehicle from an individual (private party). What do I do now?

    Congratulations on your purchase! Be sure to complete your title transfer within 30 days from the date of sale; otherwise, penalty fees may apply.

    To apply for title and registration, submit the following to a county tax office:

  17. How do I renew my vehicle registration?

    Texans have several options available to renew their registration.

    • Step 1: Obtain a Texas vehicle inspection at any state inspection station within the owner's/renewal recipient's county of residence, no earlier than 90 days before the registration expiration
      • Proof of vehicle insurance will be required at the time of inspection
      • Visit our website to find out when to inspect
    • Step 2: Renew the vehicle registration one of three ways:
    • NOTE: You will need to go in person to your county tax office if:
      • You received a citation for expired registration (a 20% registration penalty fee applies)
      • Your registration is expired (online renewal is allowed up to 12 months after expiration)
      • There is a hold on your registration due to certain unpaid fines, fees, or taxes
       
      • ONLINE OPTIONS:
      • We recommend waiting at least 24 hours after obtaining a passing inspection to renew online
        • You can renew using the Texas by Texas (TxT) website or mobile application. TxT is an official, account-based digital government assistant that provides an easy, fast, and secure way for Texans to take care of government services – like vehicle registration renewal. To learn more about TxT, create a TxT account, and renew your vehicle registration, please visit the TxT webpage on Texas.gov.
        • You can also renew using this online option without creating an account.
        • A payment confirmation receipt email will be sent immediately to you if the online renewal is successful
        • Approximately 3 business days later, a second email will be sent to you advising you if the renewal was approved
        • If approved, the email will include a receipt that may be used as temporary proof of registration, while the sticker is in the mail process which may take up to 2 weeks to receive. Keep this in your vehicle in case you are stopped by law enforcement.

      • COUNTY TAX OFFICE OPTION:
      • Submit the following in person or by mail to a county tax office:

      • GROCERY STORE OR OTHER APPROVED LOCATIONS OPTION (varies by county):
      • The same items are required as if you were renewing in person at the county tax office; however, you must provide the Renewal Notice to renew at one of these locations. New vehicles with a two-year inspection must provide an “Inspection and Registration Notice,” in lieu of a Renewal Notice.
  18. What do I need to transfer ownership from a deceased owner?

    The evidence required for transferring ownership depends on whether the deceased owner's estate is probated. When the estate goes through probate, the court will name an Executor/Executrix or Administrator and provide Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration as proof of ownership. If the estate is not probated, an Heirship Affidavit is required.

    In either scenario, to apply for title and/or registration, here are the documents the applicant will need to submit to a county tax office:

    • Title, if available
    • Evidence the loan is paid in full (original release of lien), if applicable
    • Completed Title and/or Registration Application (Form 130-U)
    • Appropriate authority to transfer ownership
    • Completed Gift Affidavit
      • Required when the vehicle is inherited between eligible parties
      • Requires notarization, unless signed in front of a county tax office employee
      • The recipient or donor must submit the application in person
      • Refer to page 2 for additional instructions
    • Applicant's current driver license or government-issued photo identification
    • Proof of current vehicle insurance (required if applying for registration)
    • Proof of current Texas vehicle inspection (required if the registration is expired and you would like to register the vehicle)
    • Fees: Contact a county county tax office for exact fee amounts and payment methods
  19. What is needed for someone to renew the registration on behalf of the owner?

    The owner(s) on record will need to provide the person renewing on their behalf the following items to take to a county tax office:

    • Written authorization (this can be a simple note)
      • Some county tax offices have a required authorization form that must be completed by you. We recommend calling a county tax office to see if one is required.
    • Their current government-issued photo identification.
    • Proof of your current insurance (copy)
    • Proof of current Texas vehicle inspection (copy)
    • Fees: Contact a county tax office for exact fee amounts and payment methods
  20. Can I visit any county tax office to process my title/registration transaction?

    You may always visit your local county tax office to process your title and/or registration transactions. An application for Texas title can be processed statutorily by your local county tax office, the county in which the vehicle is purchased, or the county in which the vehicle is encumbered by a lien.

    Some Texas county tax offices that are not statutorily required to process your transaction may be willing to process your transaction on behalf of your local county tax office. Please call in advance of your visit to a non-local county tax office to confirm if they are willing and able to process your title and/or registration transaction.

    NOTE: If the title application is processed by a statutory county (purchaser’s, seller’s, or lienholder’s county), local county optional fees are assessed based on the processing county. If the title and/or registration transaction is processed by a county willing to accept the transaction, local county optional fees are assessed based on your local county tax office. The title application fee is assessed based on your local county tax office.

  21. I never received the renewal notice. Do I need the renewal notice to renew my registration?

    You do not need the renewal notice to renew the vehicle registration when renewing online, in person, or by mail through the local county tax office. They are only required if you want to renew at a grocery store.

  22. How do I get a temporary permit?

    Temporary permits can be obtained in person through a county tax office or Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Regional Service Center. Select temporary permits are available online:

    • A 72-Hour Permit and a 144-Hour Permit for commercial vehicle use may be obtained online.
    • A Vehicle Transit Permit may be obtained online for private-party passenger vehicle sales in which the seller keeps the license plates.
  23. What kind of temporary permit do I need?

    The most common reasons for a temporary permit are when a customer purchased a vehicle with expired registration, there are no plates on the vehicle, or the customer is waiting to receive their license plates. A Temporary Permit allows the temporary operation of a vehicle without registration and must be purchased in person except for 72-Hour Permits and 144-Hour Permits. It cannot be used in place of regular registration. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles offers 72-Hour, 144-Hour, 30-Day, One-Trip, and Transit Permits. To learn about the types of temporary permits, visit the Temporary Permit webpage.

    To obtain a temporary permit, provide the following in-person to your local county tax office or Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Regional Service Center:

    • Vehicle identification number
    • USDOT number for a 72-Hour Permit and 144-Hour Permit
    • Applicant's current driver license or other government-issued photo identification
    • Proof of current insurance
    • Proof of passing vehicle inspection for a 30-Day Permit
    • A non-refundable processing and handling fee of $4.75 is assessed per permit. The fee covers the cost to process the permit.
    • Applicable permit fee:
      • One-Trip Permit: $5.00
      • 30-Day Permit: $25.00
      • 72-Hour Permit: $25.00
      • 144-Hour Permit: $50.00
      • Cash, certified check, or money order accepted. Personal checks are not accepted.

    72-Hour and 144-Hour Permits are only available for commercial vehicles being used in Texas. These types of permits may be obtained online. NOTE: A valid USDOT number is required to obtain either a 72-Hour Permit or 144-Hour Permit.

    A passing vehicle inspection is required to operate the vehicle on public roads. A Texas inspection can be obtained at any state inspection station within your county of residence. Proof of a passing inspection is required to obtain a 30-Day Permit. One-Trip Permits are exempt from inspection requirements.

  24. I moved out of Texas. What do I do with my license plates?

    We are sorry to hear that you left Texas but hope that you are settling into your new home. Your Texas license plates are yours to keep. Consider them a souvenir from our great state and something to remember us by. Should you choose to recycle your old Texas plates, cut them into pieces and place them in the recycle bin. This will prevent fraudulent use of the plates..

  25. I lost or misplaced my registration receipt. How do I get another?

    If your registration receipt was lost or misplaced, you can get a duplicate receipt either in person or by mail. You will need to submit the following to request a duplicate receipt:

    Commercial vehicles are required to have the receipt in the vehicles at all times. However, for all other vehicles, it is recommended the registration receipt be retained in the vehicle, as it serves as proof of registration.