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 an out of state license that is valid you should be able to register and insure your car though in Texas. An insurance company needs a valid US driver's license to rate you on so while a Texas license is not needed a valid license is need for an insurer to check on your driving history.
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:
- registration fee,
- title application fee of $28 or $33, depending on the county, and
- new resident tax of $90.
Additional fees may also be due at the time of registration. For more information, contact your TX 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 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 TX 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.