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
Houston 713-368-2000

Brazoria County

111 E. Locust Street, Angleton
Central/West 979-864-1134
South 979-388-1134
North 281-756-1134

Fort Bend County

500 Liberty
Richmond 281-341-3709

Galveston County

722 21st Street
Galveston 409-766-2485

Matagorda County
1700 7th Street
Bay City 979-244-7605

Montgomery County
400 N. San Jacinto Street
Conroe 936-539-7896
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 713-957-6120
DPS Field Office

Inspection & Emissions Testing
11222 N. Houston Rosslyn
Houston 281-272-1150

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
Customer Help 512-465-7611
Specialty Plates 512-374-5010
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:

Houston Offices

12220 S. Gessner 713-219-4100
10503 Grant Road 281-890-5440
8825 Tidwell 713-633-9872
1601 Townhurst 713-465-8462
9206 Winkler 713-943-0631
15403 Vantage Pkwy E. 281-449-2685

Suburban Offices

Alvin 281-585-4525
Angleton 979-864-5711
Baytown 281-424-1339
Conroe 936-442-2810
Galveston 409-740-0031
Humble 281-446-3391
Katy 281-391-4874
Pasadena 713-473-3232
Rosenberg 281-633-5400
Texas City 409-938-1130
Webster 281-486-8242
Woodville 409-283-7757

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, South

10101 Southwest Freeway
14037 Delaney Road

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