Steps to Register an Out of State Vehicle in Texas
Law enforcement takes a dim view toward vehicles with expired tags, dangerous vehicles that are not road worthy and improperly registered or unregistered vehicles traveling its roads.
The state requires all newly arriving citizens to register out of state vehicles within 30 days of moving here. Failure to do so will result in fines and other possible penalties including jail time for the driver, up to and including vehicle confiscation, if that vehicle is found to have been involved in a crime.
To avoid such fines and other penalties, take the time to get your vehicle lawfully registered within the allotted time upon your arrival. Just follow the steps for doing so, and we will be glad to welcome you as a new resident.
You must get your vehicle(s) inspected by the Department of Public Safety (DPS), not the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV does not inspect vehicles; its primary focus is registration, licensing and confirming insurance coverage.
This is an important distinction to make since the DMV is usually the first place people think of when dealing with vehicle legalities.
Where to Get a DPS Inspection
The good part about getting an inspection is that you do not have to travel to the state Department of Public Safety to get one.
There are many inspection locations in most mid-size to large cities. You can usually get one without much delay, and they do not take that long to complete.
You can take your vehicle to any DPS certified inspection station to get it done. Certified vehicle service and repair shops and even oil change services and gas stations are all possibilities. Lack of access is not a barrier to getting this done.
The final piece of the vehicle inspection is to show proof of insurance. This insurance must equal or exceed the state’s 30-60-25 law for liability coverage on the vehicle.
Texas requires vehicle owners to buy liability insurance that pays $30 000 up to $60,000 protection for passengers and $25,000 for property damage. If your current coverage meets or exceeds that, you are good to go insurance-wise.
Ok, I’m Inspected and Insured, Now What?
Step Two Register Out of State Vehicle
A visit to the local tax assessor’s office should follow next. Take your inspection report, proof of insurance and proof of vehicle ownership (title), along with a valid photo ID with you to get the vehicle registered.
If you are coming to the state with a vehicle insurance policy issued by another state, you must bring the entire policy with you for registration. This is the only way to verify that your insurance meets the aforementioned 30-60-25 Texas requirement.
Additionally, if you are a first-time registrant, you must complete Form 130-U. This is not a title document, since the state does not require a title originated in Texas, but it is the state’s basic registration. I say basic because, depending on the county, there may be additional, local fees attached.
It comes with a total fee of around $52. This cost covers the state basic registration fee and your electronic verification registration, TexasSure.
A sales tax related fee gets added to your registration fees as well. This fee is payable to the Comptroller of Public Accounts.
It is either $90 or the difference between your previous state’s sales tax rate and this state sales tax rate. While there, it may be a good idea to sign up for eRemember.
This service will email remind you it is time for renewal, and you can actually do it online without having to come into the office.
This registration and fees do not apply to full time, out of state college students or to currently active military personnel.
Step Three And, Finally, Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls…Driver’s License
Yes indeed, you must get a new driver’s license. As a new state resident, in order to drive in this state or any other state you may move to, you must have a valid Texas driver’s license.
This officially and finally makes you, causes you to be…ready for it… a duly registered, insured, paid new member of the driving public in the great state of Texas.