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Do I need a Texas driver's license to register and insure a car in Texas?

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The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) told us that a driver's license is not needed to register and plate a vehicle. You will need auto insurance though to register a car, and typically a driver's license is needed for insurance purposes. So, while you can register a car without a license, you would need a license (though not necessarily a Texas one) in order to obtain Texas auto insurance on the vehicle.

If you have just moved to Texas and still have a valid out-of-state license, you should be able to register and insure your car in Texas. An insurance company needs a valid U.S. driver's license to check your driving history and generate an insurance rate for you.

If you have just moved to Texas, you need to be aware that new residents are required to do the following within 30 days of moving to Texas:

  • Get a vehicle inspection
  • Register and title their vehicle

New residents must have their vehicles pass inspection before having it registered and titled. After having it inspected, owners should take the following to their county tax office:

  • inspection certification
  • proof of liability insurance
  • the vehicle's odometer reading if it is less than 10 years old
  • an original out-of-state title, proof of registration, proof of sales tax payment or current foreign/military ownership document
  • completed Form VTR 130-U, and the following fees:
  1. registration fee,
  2. title application fee of $28 or $33, depending on the county, and
  3. new resident tax of $90.

Additional fees may also be due at the time of registration. For more information, contact your Texas county tax office. For information about the new resident tax, contact the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces and non-resident, full-time students attending a Texas college or university are not required to title or register their vehicles in Texas.

New residents are required to get a Texas driver's license within 90 days of moving to Texas. You must register your car in Texas in 30 days, so before you are required to get a Texas license, and thus can plate it before you obtain a driver's license in this state.

Before buying insurance for a car in Texas, learn everything you need to know to be a smart shopper by reading our Texas car insurance page.


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