So, you’ve unpacked the moving van, decided to leave the framed crap in the boxes for now, and have collapsed on the pleather couch with a beer. You did it…the moving to Texas is done. Having stopped counting miles on the road after 1000 when the line marks started to blend together and the No Doz wore off giving way to fits of hallucination, you have finished the hard part, right?
Then you realize, next on the agenda is registering you car in Texas…and a bead of sweat glistens on your brow. You have the unique pleasure of tackling one of the largest state government systems in the country. Quietly, and defeated, you come to terms with the fact that every lunch break and minute of work week freedom is now gone. Unpacking the duct tape and crotches from a box, you construct the kick-stand needed for the hours of waiting in line after line you have in store.
Looking online for DMV and registration information, you begin to come to terms with the fact that the state does not even provide a complete map to the hell you must attend. You instead have to fumble around the Internet hoping to find a government website that can embrace the traveler with open arms and a bit of advice before dropping them into a pit of fiery government workers, singed public forms, sunken eyes of the tired and cued, and the all too popular number box allowing you to be served at number 2,445,010.
However, this process can be somewhat shortened, a quick ripping off of a band-aid if you will. Below is the list offering the Express Line through hell, otherwise known as registering your vehicle, getting tags, inspections, etc. I am not saying it won’t hurt, or that the pits of hell won’t be hot, but it’s a dry heat.
Use this list to learn by my mistakes, and expedite your transition of transplanting your car to Texas.
1) Texas Liability Insurance: First things first, start the process of getting your Texas Liability Insurance and/or getting your Insurance transferred to Texas. This is a necessity to continue on to getting you car registered. Call your insurance agency and get them started on it ASAP, because believe me it’s not “so easy a caveman could do it.”
2) Social Security Card: If you do not have your SSC, or even if you have a copy, you need the real one to continue the process. Go to [http://ssa.gov/ssnumber/] for information on how to get a replacement card and Social Security Agencies in the area. It usually costs $10 for a replacement, but you definitely need it especially if your brand spankin’ new job in Texas requires it. If you can’t find it, call your mom, she will get it from the frame next to your birth certificate.
3) Vehicle Inspection: Almost every auto shop in Texas is qualified to do this inspection for safety and emissions. You will easily be able to see the official Texas State Inspection Seal on the shop displayed. This test usually runs around $26 – $45. After a greasy teenager drives your car for a bit and makes a couple right turns, a form will be given to you, filled out by the shop, proving the car passed the inspection…HOLD ON TO THIS (if you drive anything ’95 or less or a Ford of any kind, bring some bribery money, $20 usually works except for Tempos).
4) Tags and Registration: This occurs at the Tax Assessor’s office in whatever Texas town you might be in. You will need:
a) Proof of Texas Liability Insurance
b) Social Security Card
c) Driver’s License
d) Title of Car
e) Inspection form
f) Forms provided at the office or online
g) Check book – Fees usually run from $140 – $200
The following info is from the Texas Department of Transportation website with links to the appropriate forms:
After your vehicle passes inspection, take the inspection certification and proof of insurance (required by law) to your county tax office. Provide the vehicle’s odometer reading if it is less than 10 years old. Present an original out-of-state title or current foreign/military ownership document. If your title is unavailable, take your registration document and proof of sales tax payment. Submit a vehicle title/registration form.
FOR THE LOVE EVERYTHING HOLY AND GOOD IN THIS WORLD – Do yourself a big favor and get there when the office opens at 7:00 on either Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, you will be first in line, taking only 15 minutes. Arriving any later then 8:00 assures a wooden seat on a wooden bench and a sore thumb from 3 hours of texting.
5) DMV: Alright, you are so close you can taste the competence, now time to get a Texas driver’s license, which should happen 30 days after moving. You’ll need to:
a) Provide proof of Identity.
b) Provide proof of Social Security Number.
c) Provide proof of Texas vehicle registration and liability insurance, if you own a vehicle.
d) Complete required forms available at any Texas Driver License office.
e) Pay the required fee.
f) Pass a vision exam.
If you have a VALID out-of-state license in your possession, it must be surrendered at the driver license office (sorry you can’t give it to your 20 year-old cousin who has been razzing you to take him out drinking).
NOTE: If you have never been licensed or have an EXPIRED out-of-state license, you will be required to pass both the written and driving exams, in addition to a vision test.
After this process is completed, you are ready to drive anywhere in the state of Texas. I cannot say that there is an easy way to complete this process, but this will offer an efficient method of becoming a Texas driver. After this, you only have to deal with paying traffic and parking citations, which is another article all together.