A Texas vehicle registration connects Lone Star State residents with the forms of transportation they own or lease, including motor vehicles, motorcycles, and boats.

Registering a Vehicle in Texas

New to Texas?

Texas residents have 30 days after establishing residency to have their vehicle inspected and registered. Before visiting a local County Tax Office, residents must have:

  • Proof of auto insurance.
  • A vehicle safety inspection. Be prepared to show proof of car insurance when arriving at the inspection station.

Then, residents of this state can register their car by visiting the local County Tax Office with:

  • Proof of car insurance.
  • Proof of the vehicle passing a safety inspection.
  • Proof that the resident owns the vehicle (registration or title from the previous state).
  • A completed Application for Texas Certificate of Title (Form 130-U). Even if the residents are not titling the vehicle, use this application for registering.
  • Payment for the registration fees. Individuals may, depending on their situation, be required to pay additional titling or sales tax fees.

Registering a Vehicle in Texas

After purchasing a vehicle, residents of this state have 30 days to have it inspected and registered with the TX DMV. To register, visit the local County Tax Office and present:

  • Proof of vehicle ownership.
  • Provide proper identification.
  • Provide proof of car insurance.
  • Complete an Application for Texas Certificate of Title (Form 130-U). This form handles titling and registration.
  • Provide a Certificate of Inspection, if applicable. This will depend on your county.
  • Pay the registration fees (fees vary by county and vehicle type).

Transferring Registration

Texas residents who are purchasing a vehicle from a private individual, or selling their own vehicle and need to transfer the registration, can visit our “Title Transfers in Texas” section.

Vehicle Inspection Requirement

In Texas, vehicles are subject to annual safety inspections (all counties) and emissions inspections (select counties). In order to register a car, the TX DMV must have notice that the car passed all necessary inspections.

Multi-Year Registration

With this change in vehicle registration law, only new cars bought from a dealer will be eligible for multi-year registrations upon initial registration.

Two Steps, One Sticker with Registration

As of March 1, 2015, changes have been made to the inspection/registration process.

Inspection dates now coincide with the registration date of the vehicle. This means that the vehicle inspection will be due at the same time as the registration renewal. This is in contrast with prior inspection/registration procedures when inspection dates were not linked to registration dates.

Additionally, residents will now only be issued one sticker (to be placed on the windshield) that will serve as both the inspection and registration stickers. Prior to this change, Texas drivers were required to display both a registration sticker and an inspection sticker.

First-time vehicle registrants will need to have their vehicle inspected prior to registration, to be issued the single sticker.

Inspection Fees

Another significant change in the registration process involves the payment of inspection fees. Prior to the change in law, the third-party inspection station would collect the entire fee, including the state’s portion.

Now, inspection stations only collect their share of the inspection fee. Contact the inspection station directly for fee amounts.

Residents will need to pay the state’s portion of the collection fee to the Texas DPS when they pay their vehicle registration fees (see below).

Texas Vehicle Registration Fees

Registration fees vary depending on the county in which individuals are registering. There are some statewide standard fees:

  • Cars and lighter pickup trucks: $51.75
  • Vehicles weighing 6,001 to 10,000 lbs.: $54
  • Motorcycles and mopeds: $30

In addition to the base registration fees, residents may also pay other state, local, and county* fees:

  • Automation fee: $1.
  • TexasSure insurance verification fee: $1.
  • Local fee: $10.
  • Inspection fee: $7.50.
  • Processing and handling fee: $4.75.

Texas charges a 6.25% tax rate based on the value of the vehicle. If residents buy a vehicle from an individual, the taxes will be charged to them along with the title, registration, and local county fees. Each county has its own registration fees.

Additional Vehicle Inspection Fees

Residents of Texas will also need to pay vehicle inspection fees to the TX DPS when they register their vehicle in Texas.

NOTE: This is the state portion of fees that must be paid in addition to fees paid to an inspection station.

Fees will differ depending on the type of vehicle individuals have, the Texas county they live in, and the type of inspection they are required to complete.  For more information about vehicle inspection requirements in Texas, see above.

Texas License Plates

When registering, individuals need to get new license plates or transfer the license plates from their old vehicle.

New License Plates

Residents will be given general issue license plates when they register their vehicle for the first time. Individuals can replace their plates at their local county tax assessor’s office.

Transfer License Plates

Residents can transfer their Texas license plates to a different vehicle for free. The Texas DMV will issue an updated registration sticker for the new vehicle.

Vehicle Registration Stickers

Texas vehicle registration stickers, which are issued by your county tax office, feature:

  • The license plate number.
  • The name of the county where your vehicle is registered.
  • Several digits of the vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • The vehicle’s registration date.
  • The sticker should be affixed to the vehicle’s windshield.

The registration expires on the last day of the month shown on the registration sticker. There is a grace period of 5 working days. Driving with an expired registration could result in a $200 fine.

Motorcycle Registration in Texas

Before taking a motorcycle out on the road, residents of this state need to register it with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Use this guide to learn about applying for an original registration after becoming a new Texas resident OR after purchasing a bike in-state.

New Texas Residents

Once individuals move to Texas, they have 30 days to register their motorcycle with the Texas DMV.

PRIOR to turning in a registration application, Texas residents need to:

  • Have their bike inspected at any Department of Public Safety (DPS) inspection station. For details, jump over to our Vehicle Inspections section.
  • Once the inspection’s complete, the DPS agent will provide a Vehicle Inspection Report.
  • Purchase Texas motorcycle insurance.

Then, to complete the registration application, provide the following items at the local county tax office:

  • A completed Application for Texas Title and/or Registration (Form 130-U).
  • The motorcycle’s previous out-of-state title OR registration, indicating you are the owner.
  • Military and foreign vehicle ownership documents are also accepted.
  • An acceptable form of identification.
  • Proof of TX motorcycle insurance.
  • The completed Vehicle Inspection Report.
  • Payment for the $30 base fee for motorcycle registration PLUS any other applicable fees or taxes.

Registering a Texas Motorcycle

The process for registering a motorcycle with the TX Department of Motor Vehicles will differ depending on whether residents bought the bike from a dealership OR from a private seller. Below, we’ll outline the steps for registration in both scenarios.

Motorcycles from Texas Dealers

Most dealers in Texas will handle the registration process. The Texas DMV’s “Two Steps, One Sticker” process requires dealers to:

  • Ensure the new motorcycle has passed inspection.
  • Submit the buyer’s registration documentation to the DMV.

The dealership will usually include all registration-related costs in the purchase price of the bike.

Before leaving the dealership, individuals need to make sure they verify that no additional action is required on their part to register the motorcycle in their name.

Motorcycles from Private Parties

Texas residents who recently purchased a motorcycle from a private party need to register it themselves. Note that the Texas DMV recommends visiting an office with the seller to ensure the process goes smoothly.

BEFORE going in to apply for registration, residents need to:

  • Purchase TX motorcycle insurance.
  • Make sure the seller provides the bike’s valid Vehicle Inspection Report.

If the motorcycle doesn’t have a valid Vehicle Inspection Report, individuals need to have it inspected at a Texas DPS inspection station. Then, register the motorcycle by heading to the local county tax office with the seller, and submit the following:

  • A completed Application for Texas Title and/or Registration (Form 130-U).
  • The motorcycle’s title signed by the buyer AND seller.
  • Proof of Texas motorcycle insurance.
  • An accepted document to prove identity.
  • The bike’s Vehicle Inspection Report.
  • The $30 base registration fee for motorcycles AND any other applicable fees or taxes.

Motorcycle Registration Fees in Texas

The TX Department of Motor Vehicles’ fees to register a motorcycle are as follows:

  • Motorcycle registration: $30.
  • Title fee: $28 to $33 (varies by county).
  • Processing and handling fee: $4.75.
  • Local fee: Up to $31.50 (dependent on county).
  • Safety inspection: $7.50 (out-of-state motorcycle safety inspection can be up to $30.75).
  • Sales tax: 6.25% of the sales price OR standard presumptive value, whichever is higher.

Boat Registration & Licenses in Texas

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) processes all vessel title and registration applications. Continue reading to learn about applying for boat title and registration AND the minimum requirements to operate watercraft in the Lone Star State.

TX Boats You Must Title & Register

There are different types of boats that require titling and registering in the state of Texas. The TPWD requires registration for the following types of boats:

  • All motorized vessels (including those powered by trolling motors).
  • Any sailboat measuring 14 ft or more.
  • All sailboats with auxiliary engines.
  • U.S. Coast Guard-documented vessels.

Exceptions to the Parks and Wildlife Department’s registration requirement include:

All non-motorized (powered by paddles/oars):

  • Canoes and kayaks.
  • Punts.
  • Rowboats.
  • Rubber rafts.
  • Sailboats less than 14 ft propelled only by the wind.
  • Coast Guard-documented commercial vessels that are:
  • Used in coastal shipping.
  • Longer than 115 ft.

In addition, Texas residents are required to title the following vessels in TX:

  • All motorized boats.


  • Measuring at least 14 ft long.
  • With auxiliary engines.
  • Gasoline and diesel-powered outboard motors.

Boats exempt from the TPWD’s titling requirement include:

  • Vessels documented with the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Non-motorized (powered by oars/paddles):
  • Rowboats.
  • Canoes and kayaks.
  • Rubber rafts.
  • Punts.
  • Sailboats propelled only by the wind measuring less than 14 ft.

Residents of Texas who aren’t sure about whether their boat requires titling and/or registration can call the TDWP’s boat information hotline at (800) 262-8755 for clarification.

Register & Title Your Vessel in Texas

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department requires you to title and/or register a recently-purchased vessel within 45 days of the sale date (before late fees apply).

To register and/or title a boat in Texas, residents of this state can begin the registration process by gathering the following items:

  • A completed Vessel/Boat Application (Form PWD 143) AND/OR Outboard Motor Application (Form PWD 144).
  • For residents who don’t have a bill of sale, the seller will need to complete AND sign the tax affidavit portion of the application(s).
  • For previously out-of-state OR untitled vessels, a completed Verification of Vessel or Outboard Motor Serial Number (Form PWD 504).
  • If titling/registering a used boat that’s never been titled, registered, OR documented, a completed Affidavit of Fact (Form PWD 314)
  • A bill of sale.

If applying for a title, any of the following proof of ownership documents for:

  • Brand new boats: Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin.
  • Used boats: Properly assigned TX title.
  • Out-of-state boats: Most current out-of-state title or registration.
  • A valid photo identification, like your Texas driver’s license OR state identification card.
  • The appropriate fees to title and/or register your watercraft.

Then, if possible, the seller needs to accompany the resident to submit the required items above at:

  • A TPWD office location.


  • The local county tax assessor’s office.

A Texas boat registration will be valid for 2 years.

Texas Boat Title & Registration Fees

The fees to title and register a vessel with the TX Parks and Wildlife Department are as follows:

Original and renewal boat registration (depends on the length of your boat):

  • Less than 16 ft: $32.
  • 16 ft to less than 26 ft: $53.
  • 26 ft to less than 40 ft: $110.
  • 40 ft or more: $150.
  • Vessel/outboard motor title: $27.
  • Registration transfer fee: $11.


  • Registration card: $11.
  • Boat decals AND registration card (must be replaced with duplicate decals): $22.
  • Title: $27.

Taxes for:

  • New Texas residents: $15.
  • Sales and use: 6.25% of the purchase price.

TX Vessel Renewals & Replacements

Boat registrations are valid for 2 years in Texas. The TX Parks and Wildlife Department will mail TX residents a renewal notice before the boat’s expiration date.

Individuals can renew their Texas vessel registration using any of the following methods:

  • Online by providing information about your boat AND the necessary renewal fees.
  • In-person at a TPWD office OR county tax assessor’s office, providing:
  • The renewal notice OR a completed Vessel/Boat Records Maintenance (Form PWD 143M).
  • A completed Letter of Authorization (Form PWD 581) if someone other than the boat’s owner is renewing the registration.
  • Payment for the applicable renewal fees.

Only tax assessor offices accept credit/debit cards—TDWP offices do not (bring cash, a check, or money order instead).

  • By mailing the renewal notice AND a check or money order for the appropriate renewal costs in the envelope provided with the renewal notice.

TX residents who lost or did not receive their renewal notice can also mail:

  • A completed Vessel/Boat Records Maintenance (Form PWD 143M) OR written request for registration renewal.
  • A check or money order for the applicable renewal fees.

Send the above to:

4200 Smith School Road
Austin, Texas 78744

Replace a Lost Boat Title or Registration

If the boat title or registration is lost or destroyed, residents can request duplicates by providing:

A completed:

  • Vessel/Boat Records Maintenance (Form PWD 143M) for replacement decals, registration card, AND/OR vessel title.
  • Outboard Motor Records Maintenance (Form PWD 144M) for a replacement outboard motor title.
  • If someone other than the vessel’s registered owner will request replacement decals AND/OR registration card, a completed Letter of Authorization (Form PWD 581).

(For residents who are ordering a duplicate title, only you (the owner of the vessel) can make the request.)

  • A valid photo identification, like your state ID card OR TX driver’s license.
  • Payment for the necessary duplicate title/registration fees.

Then, submit the required items above at any of the following locations:

  • Any TPWD office.
  • The local county tax assessor’s office.

Texas Boater Requirements

The TX Parks and Wildlife Department requires boat operators to have completed a certified boater safety course if they were born on or after September 1, 1993. Residents who are 13 years old or older AND have a certified boater safety certificate may operate the following types of watercraft without adult supervision:

  • Personal watercraft (e.g. Jet Skis).
  • Wind-propelled watercraft (e.g. sailboats) longer than 14 ft.
  • Motorized boats with greater than 15 HP.

To complete the TPWD’s education requirement, individuals can enroll in:

  • An approved online boater education course.
  • A classroom course—Search for available in-class courses.

Keep in mind, completing a boater education course could earn residents discounts on boat insurance. Even if they’re not required to enroll in a course, becoming a better boater AND saving some cash makes that extra education worth it.

Accepted Forms of Payment

The Texas DMV accepts these forms of payment:

  • Check
  • Money order
  • Cash (only accepted in person, not in the mail)

Texas residents who are paying DMV fees by check or money order need to make it payable to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Residents of this state need to make sure they have an acceptable form of payment before visiting their local Texas DMV location.

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