Sunday, June 22, 2014

How to Apply for a New Texas Driver License?

To apply for a new Texas Driver License, it involves three steps:
  1. Vehicle Inspection
  2. Car Registration and Title
  3. Driver License
In this article, I will describe my experience of converting an out-of-state driver license to Texas'.

Where to Go?

Except for the second step, you can go to any nearby location as you like. For car registration and title, you need to go to your own county where your new residence resides in. Below shows you the links that you can find for where-to-go in each step:
  • Vehicle Inspection
  • Car Registration and Title
    • To do this, you must visit your local county tax-assessor collector office.
      • First find out which county your residence resides in.
      • Then, search for "Texas Plano County Tax Assessor" and Google search will return this link. Google map also shows you the locations of all available county tax office locations.
  • Driver License
    • The clerk of county office will provide you a list of locations for the new driver license application, which is handled by Texas Department of Public Safety.
    • For example, here is the list I got for the Dallas suburb:
      • Denton
        • 820 N Lop 288 (940)484-6666
      • Lewisville
        • 190 N Valley Pkwy Ste 201 (972-221-8081)
      • Carrollton
        • 2625 Old Denton Rd. Ste 464 (972-245-5800)
      • McKinney
        • 400 Powerhouse St. (214-733-5350)
      • Plano
        • 2109 W Parker Rd. Ste 224 (972-867-4221)

What to Bring?

For each step, you are supposed to bring some documents before going. Here are the summary based on my own experience:
  • Car Inspection
    • Proof of liability insurance
      • Any current state insurance is acceptable.
    • Payment
      • Texas state law requires that payment is made whether your vehicle passes or fails inspection.
    • Photo ID
      • This must be current and valid. If you are registering your vehicle in the state of Texas, you will need a photo ID in order to acquire your VI-30 or green sheet.
  • Car Registration and Title (see [2] for more details)
    • Ownership evidence
      • Out of State Title, Registration Receipt, or Foreign Ownership, etc
    • Proof of Insurance
      • Some counties require you have the Texas Insurance before you go. 
      • Check out minimal car insurance requirements (i.e. 30/60/25) in Texas here.
    • Inspection Form from step 1
      • VI-30 or VI-30-A (green, blue, or white)
    • Application for Texas Title: 130-U
      • You can download and complete it in advance
      • Other forms may be required, such as RPO form VTR-272 (see [2])
        • If you do not possess the title because it has a lien, you also must complete Form VTR-272.
      • You can choose either to keep your out-of-state Title or apply for a new Texas Title (recommended).
    • Other requirements if applicable (see [2])
    • Payment
  • Driver License
    • Meet all the identification requirements (see [5] for more details)
    • Proof of Insurance (see [3])
    • Proof of Registration (from step 2)
    • Payment

When to Go?

There are deadlines for both car registration and driver license application. In summary, the deadlines are:
  • Car Registration
    • A new resident must register their vehicle within 30 days of establishing residence or becoming gainfully employed.
    • Most counties are first-come-first-served. The best time to go is around 2-2:30 pm based on my experience.
  • Texas Driver License
    • An individual can legally drive with a valid, unexpired driver license from another state or country for up to 90 days after moving to Texas. Penalty fees may apply if the title is not transferred within 30 calendar days from the date of sale or entry into Texas.
    • The individual must apply in person at any driver license office for a Texas driver license within those 90 days to continue driving legally. An unexpired driver license from another U.S. state, U.S. territory or a Canadian province must be surrendered to DPS when applying for a Texas driver license.
    • If you can, make an online appointment.
    • Office will be closed at 5:30pm or 6:00pm (on Tuesday only). But, all people inside the building before closing time will ALL be served. I saw people came in just before the closing time.
    • Avoid summer time if you can because all the teens are applying for their driving permits or new licenses during that time.

What to Expect?

At each step, you will receive something. Here the summary for each step:
  • Vehicle Inspection
    • VI-30 or VI-30-A (green, blue, or white)
  • Car Registration and Title
    • You will get your vehicle registration sticker, license plates, and/or Texas Title
  • Driver License
    • You will get your temporary Texas driver license; you should expect to receive your new driver license in about two weeks.
Finally, be warned that you could be charged with processing fees if you want to pay by credit cards.  So, bring your check book with you before you go.


  1. Texas Vehicle Safety Inspection
  2. New Resident Registration and Title Requirements (Collin County)
  3. Car Insurance Requirements in Texas (TxDMV)
  4. Moving to Texas (TxDPS)
  5. Identification Requirements (TxDPS)
  6. Pay Driver License reinstatement fees at
  7. Get your driver record immediately online at
  8. Pay Driver Responsibility Program surcharges at
  9. Did you know you have...
    • 30 days to change your address when you move
    • An option to record an emergency contact phone number, directive to physician and allergic reactions to drugs on the reverse side of your card.
    • If you find any errors of your new driver license, email or call the Contact Center at (512) 424-2600.
    • If there are no errors it is very important that you destroy your previous driver license or identification cad.
      • It is a violation of Texas State Law to have more than one driver license or identification card in your possession.
  10. Get a Toll Tag on line here
  11. In Texas, no portion of the registration fee is based on car value, so you can't deduct anything. See the reference here and here.
  12. Vehicle Transfer Notification
    • When a Texas-titled vehicle is sold or traded in, the seller needs to notify TxDMV.
  13. I sold my vehicle, why did I receive a registration renew (FAQs)

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