May 30, 2012
Texas makes a big first impression. As soon as I drove over the state line, I was greeted with an extra-large lone star and a reminder to drive friendly – the Texas way. Still many hours away from my new home, I already felt like a Texan.
Legally, I wasn’t really a Texan. As a new resident, I had to do a few things to get legal. Your Texas REALTOR® can help guide you through the process and put you in touch with the right offices in your new neighborhood.
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles has a helpful booklet that outlines what steps you’ll need to take, but here are the basic steps to get started.
New residents have 30 days to register their vehicles in Texas. You must register your vehicle before you can obtain your Texas driver license.
The first step to registering your vehicle is to make sure that it’s insured, and Texas has minimum requirements for what type of coverage you carry. Next, you’ll need to have your car inspected at a certified Vehicle Inspection Station. Don’t forget to take your proof of insurance when you go. You’ll get a vehicle-inspection sticker and paperwork that you’ll take to your county tax-assessor’s office. Later, you’ll put that sticker on your windshield.
Be sure to bring your registration or title and your insurance information, along with your inspection information, to the tax-assessor’s office. If you don’t have a Texas title, you’ll need to get one there, too.
Be prepared to pay for each of these services and your license plates, as well as a new-resident sales-tax fee on each vehicle that you own, usually $90 per vehicle. Once you’re registered, you’ll receive a registration sticker for each car, which will go nicely with your inspection sticker.
And don’t forget about county-level requirements. Some counties require an emissions inspection, and fees can vary from county to county. It’s a good idea to find out more about your local tax assessor and see which forms and fees you’ll need to take with you.
New residents have 90 days from the time you arrive in Texas to get a driver license. Those are issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety, and it provides a detailed outline of what documents you need to bring and license fees. You’ll also need to fill out an application form and prove your Texas residency with two documents (specified online) with your name and residential address. And bring your old license; you’ll have to surrender it to become a legal Texan and provide your fingerprints as well.
As you can see, there are a many steps to take to become a legal resident, and your Texas REALTOR® can help you along the way. And even though some native Texans might disagree that I’m a true Texan, I’m still proud to call myself an official one.