All vehicles must be registered in the owner’s county of residency. Once the vehicle is properly registered, a registration sticker will be issued that must be displayed on the vehicle’s windshield or on the rear license plate of a motorcycle or moped.
- An owner must register a newly purchased vehicle within 30 days of purchase.
- Nonresident truck owners may be issued 30-day temporary registration permits for certain movements of farm products and machinery during harvesting season.
- Under certain conditions, temporary registration permits and reduced registration rates for special vehicles may be obtained.
- Buyers’ temporary tags are recognized for 60 days; dealers’ metal registration plates may be used on any dealer-owned vehicle except for commercial purposes (vehicle inspection is required).
- A manufacturer’s metal registration plate may be used for vehicle testing purposes only; a vehicle inspection is required. Dealers temporary cardboard tags may be used for demonstrating a vehicle for sale, or for transporting or servicing vehicles without a motor vehicle inspection. These vehicles may not be used for driver license driving exams.
- Farm registered vehicles, in addition to use for farm and ranch purposes, may be used as a means of passenger transportation for members of the family to attend church or school, to visit doctors for medical treatment or supplies, or for other necessities of the home or family. Farm registered vehicles may not be used for gainful employment.
- For registration applications and detailed information, consult your County Tax Assessor-Collector or the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Vehicles Not Required to be Registered or Inspected
The following vehicles are not required to be registered, inspected, or to display a license plate when temporarily operated on highways:
- Farm tractors
- Farm trailers, farm semi-trailers, and certain fertilizer and cottonseed trailers with a gross weight of 4,000 lbs. or less
- Implements of agriculture
- Power sweepers
- Certain golf carts
- Electric bicycles
- Motorized and electric personal assistive mobility devices
When temporarily operated on highways, the following vehicles are not required to be registered or inspected if the owner annually secures a distinguishing $5 license plate and complies with other special conditions in the law:
- Machinery for drilling water wells and construction machinery.
- Farm trailers, farm semi-trailers, cotton trailers, cottonseed trailers, and certain fertilizer trailers weighing over 4,000 lbs. but less than 34,000 lbs gross.
Vehicle Registration for New and Nonresidents of Texas
A new Texas resident must register every vehicle he/she owns before applying for a Texas driver license.
When a nonresident establishes residency in Texas or enters into gainful employment, his/her vehicle may be operated for 30 days.
After 30 days, the vehicle must be registered in Texas.
New residents registering a vehicle must obtain a Texas vehicle inspection report and verification of the vehicle identification number (VIN) by a state-approved vehicle inspection station prior to registration. The vehicle owner will then be provided the necessary form for processing the vehicle registration. Evidence of financial responsibility for the vehicle being registered must be presented at the time of registration. If evidence of financial responsibility is not presented, the vehicle cannot be registered. The registration receipt issued by the county tax assessor-collector for each vehicle will be acceptable proof of the registration when applying for a Texas driver license.