Can I Register a Car Online in Texas?

How to Register a Car Online in TexasHow to Register a Car Online in Texas

Texas is the second-largest state in the US by land area, coming behind Alaska. It has an area of 695,662 km². The area covers many interesting sites like the Big Bend National Park in Brewster County, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Monahans Sandhills State Park, and the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden in Dallas, among others. The best part of these locations is the road trip to their peculiar destinations. Every road type is present in Texas to give you the pleasure of driving.

Before you can drive legally in Texas, you must be above 16 years and you must have a valid driver's license. Also, your car must be registered in Texas with an official title in the US. Lacking any of these can get you a ticket, and depending on the degree, you may be let go with a dismissal fee, fines to pay, or in extreme cases, being stripped of your driver's license.

Before registering a car in Texas, you need to own a driver's license; only legal drivers can register a vehicle. Obtaining a driver's license is easy, provided you follow the laid-down procedures. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is the body that issues driver's licenses. To obtain your driver's license, visit the closest DPS office in your county, and take the following documents along:

  • Evidence of US citizenship or other document proving lawful presence in the US
  • Identity card
  • Social security number
  • Proof of residency in Texas

Depending on your registration's peculiarities, you may need to perform a vision test, a road driving test, a driver education course, and a knowledge exam.

Can First-time Car Registration be Done Online?

First-time registration, either a first-time car owner or a new resident of Texas, cannot be done online. Some requirements need you to appear in the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. First-time car registrations involve getting a new Texas license plate and tags, whether your first car in Texas or you moved to Texas from out-of-state. After the first registration, other registration renewals can be carried out online, provided you have no outstanding tickets to resolve.

Requirements for Registering a Car in Texas for the First Time

Out-of-state vehicles are allowed a grace period of 30 days from the day you move into Texas to complete your vehicle registration and get your Texas license plates and tags. To get your registration completed, you need to follow these steps:

Step 1 - Get Vehicle Insurance

Out-of-state vehicles who had insurance in their previous states may be able to bring their insurance over to Texas if the provider has a reach in Texas. If the insurance provider does not operate in Texas, you need vehicle insurance in Texas. First-time car owners in Texas should look for vehicle insurance that suits their needs. The requirements in Texas state that your insurance must cover $30,000 for an injured person, $60,000 for everyone involved in an accident, and $25,000 for property damage in an accident.

Step 2 - Get Your Vehicle Inspected

Take your vehicle to any inspection center designated by the Department of Public Safety. During the inspection, you will need to provide proof of ownership; you do not need to title your car in Texas. It can be from out-of-state, but you need to complete a 130-U form if it is not titled in Texas. You also need proof of insurance before your car can be certified.

Step 3 - Apply for a Texas Driver's License

The Department of Public Safety oversees the driver's license issuance in Texas. First-time applicants will need to apply for it at a DPS. At the office, provide evidence of US citizenship or other documents proving lawful presence in the US, an identity card, a social security number, and proof of residency in Texas. When it is all done, you go for the appropriate test and pay the fee for the license. Out-of-state drivers who have a valid driver's license have to get their Texas driver's license within 90 days. Provided their driver's license is still valid, all they need to do is take a vision test, and pay the fee to get their Texas driver's license.

Step 4 - Go for Your Registration

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is the body in charge of registering vehicles. You need to visit your local county office in person to get your car registered. Go with your out-of-state receipt, the 130-U form, proof of vehicle insurance, and a valid driver's license to your local county office to get registered. When your registration is complete, you will receive a pair of Texas license plates and tags. After this first registration, subsequent renewals can be done online and saves you the hassle of visiting the county office if you have no outstanding tickets.

Renewing Your Car Registration

Car registration in Texas typically lasts for a year, after which you will need to renew it to drive legally on Texas roads. Your registration expires on the last day of the month, as written on your registration tag. The county office sends you a reminder three months before your registration expires to keep you in the know. There are three ways to renew your registration in Texas - in person, via mail, and online.

  • In-person: When renewing your registration in person, you need to go to the county with your renewal notice, renewal fees, driver's license, and other requirements like an emissions inspection if it applies in your county.
  • Via mail: You can send in your renewal notice, emissions inspection (if applicable), and other requirements through mail to your local county office to get your renewal. You will receive your registration tag and other documents via mail when the renewal is completed.
  • Online: For convenience and time saving, you can decide to apply for a renewal online. You can apply through the website of the DMV in your local county. You can also use service providers such as Swift-tags to complete your registration online.

For example, when applying through, you do not need to visit the DMV; all you need to do is create a profile on Swift-tags platform and apply. Swift-tags go through the registration for you, and when your registration is ready, they will mail it to you and send you in a digitized format. Using Swift-tags ensures that you do not fall short on your registration, as it reminds you before your current registration expires in Texas.

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