State law requires that you register and title your vehicle in Texas if you establish residency or become gainfully employed. Your vehicle can be operated with valid out-of-state license plates for only 30 days. Those not required to title/register vehicles in Texas are nonresident members of the U.S. armed forces or nonresident, full-time students who attending an accredited Texas institution of higher education. Vehicle registration and titling are completed in the county of residence with the county tax assessor-collector acting as an agent for the Texas Department of Transportation.

Tax Assessors/Collectors

Harris County
1001 Preston Street
Houston 713-274-8000

Brazoria County

451 North Velasco, Angleton
Central/West 979-864-1320
South 979-388-1320
North 281-756-1320

Fort Bend County

1317 Eugene Heimann Circle
Richmond 281-341-3709

Galveston County

722 Moody Avenue
Galveston 877-766-2284

Matagorda County
1700 7th Street
Bay City 979-244-7670

Montgomery County
400 North San Jacinto Street
Conroe 936-539-7897

Vehicles must pass a safety inspection and vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection at a state-appointed Safety Inspection Station before they can be registered. The inspection facility will provide you with a verification form that must be submitted to the county tax office along with an application for certificate of title. Title and registration fees are due at the county tax office at the time the application for title is made. Proof of liability insurance for your vehicle is required before these services can be provided.

Emissions Testing

The Motorist’s Choice Vehicle Emissions Testing Program is active in Harris County, combined with the annual safety inspection program and operated by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Vehicles must undergo an annual test at a decentralized test-and-repair facility or at a test-only facility. Gasoline-powered vehicles from two through 24 years old are tested beginning with the vehicle’s second model year anniversary. Vehicles failing the test will have to be repaired and pass a retest, or qualify for a waiver. For details on safety inspections and/or emissions testing, contact:

Texas Department of Public Safety

Houston DPS Regional Office
Houston 281-517-1353
DPS Field Office

Driver’s License

New residents who desire to operate a motor vehicle on Texas highways must secure a Texas driver’s license. All original applicants for a driver’s license or identification certificate must present satisfactory proof of identity from three categories of documents. The Texas Department of Transportation provides complete details on driver licensing requirements through customer
service, recorded information, and on its website:

Texas Department of Transportation

Vehicle Titles and Registration Division
Toll Free 800-558-9368
Newcomers to Texas who hold a valid out-of-state license and own a vehicle will need to bring proof of Texas registration, insurance, Social Security number, and the out-of-state license. The only exam required is the vision test. If the out-of-state license is expired, written and driving exams will be required in addition to the vision test. Vehicle owners must provide proof of insurance; others must complete an affidavit of non-ownership. When the Texas license is issued, the out-of-state license must be surrendered. Driver license offices are conveniently located throughout the metro area.

Child Safety Laws

Children younger than four years of age or less than 36 inches in height must be secured at all times in a child passenger safety seat system according to manufacturer’s instructions. Children at least 15 years of age riding in the front seat of a vehicle must be equipped with and secured in a property operating seat belt. Children younger than 18 years of age are not allowed to ride in open bed of a pickup truck or flatbed truck or an open flatbed trailer.

Boat & Outboard Motor Licensing

All motorboats and all sailboats 14 feet in length or longer operated on public waters or docked, moored, or stored on public water must be currently registered. All outboard motors must be titled. Title applications and manufacturers statement of origin (MSO) must accompany a request for boat registration for new boats and/or outboard motors. For more information, contact:

Texas Parks & Wildlife

Toll free

Boat Registration and

Outboard-Motor Title Locations

Houston, North
350 North Sam Houston Parkway
Houston 281-931-6471

Houston, South

10101 Southwest Freeway
Houston 713-779-8977
14037 Delaney Road
LaMarque 409-933-1947

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