Texas Yearly Vehicle Registration Renewal Requirements

Not many things are tried and true every year, but one thing you can count on every year is Texas vehicle registration. If you haven’t gotten an inspection or renewed your registration in a while (some time before March 1, 2016), the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles changed the way motor vehicle inspections and registrations work. The new process is called Two Steps, One Sticker. Let’s talk about what this new process means.

Two Steps, One Sticker

Here’s how it works:

  • The first step will be to get your vehicle inspected no more than 90 days before your registration expiration date. To do this, take your car to any certified inspection station. Pass the safety inspection and the emissions inspection [insert emissions test page link] (if your vehicle requires it, depending on the model year) and you’ll be halfway there. You’ll only pay the inspection fee portion at that time, which range from $4.75 – $14.25 if you’re getting the standard one-year inspection, depending on where you are in Texas.
  • The next step is to renew your registration. This is where you’ll pay the other portion of your registration fee. There are a few different ways you can do this:
    • Online Renewal: Completing your registration online is the TxDMV preferred way to renew. If you’ve passed your motor vehicle inspection, just go to this website and complete your registration. Your passed inspection will be the in the Texas inspection database. Make sure you have your credit card info ready. You’ll receive your new sticker in the mail.
      • If for some reason your inspection isn’t in the database, you’ll have to bring your Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) to your local county tax office or DPS.
    • By-Mail Renewal: Fill it the registration renewal notice you receive in the mail, include your VIR. and mail the renewal form back to the tax office. Your registration sticker will be mailed to you.
      • Even if you don’t receive a registration renewal notice, it’s still your responsibility to know when you need to renew your registration.
    • In-Person Renewal: Go to your local county tax office or DPS. Your passed inspection will be in the database. It may be a good idea to bring the VIR from your inspection with you, just in case your inspection can’t be found. Fill out the renewal form and you’ll receive your vehicle registration sticker right then.
    • For all of these steps, you’ll need proof of insurance. For online and by-mail renewal, the TexasSure Vehicle Insurance Verification Program will make check for your proof of insurance. If you go in-person, make sure you bring a printed copy.

Once you’re done with these two steps, make sure you place your registration sticker in the lower driver side corner of your front windshield. Thanks to this new program, you will no longer need to have both an inspection sticker and a registration sticker.

You may also have a two-year vehicle registration if you just purchased your brand new car from a dealer. In this case, you’ll be able to keep this extended type of registration, but you’ll have to renew before your registration expiration date. You will also still be responsible for getting an annual vehicle safety inspection and emission inspection. You’ll get a notice stating your inspection due date, so make sure you look out for that so you can keep it legal.

If you’re new to Texas and need a Texas vehicle registration, check out our new resident registration information page.