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Texas Vehicle Registration Requirements

What is the “Two Steps, One Sticker” Initiative? 

Texas drivers now only need one sticker to show that their registration and inspection are up to date. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles announced a new initiative called “Two Steps, One Sticker,” which is the result of House Bill 2305 passed during the 83rd legislative session in 2013.

This new initiative eased the renewal of required annual services because by aligning the expiration dates. Drivers can take care of these required services around the same time with just one sticker. Three agencies are involved with this initiative: The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TXDMV) who will administer the state’s vehicle registration program, The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) who will administer the state’s vehicle safety inspection program and The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) who will administer the state’s vehicle emissions testing program.


90-day Window Before Expiration for Renewal

Starting March 1, drivers will have a 90-day window before their expiration date to pass an updated inspection and renew registration. Drivers, whose inspection expires before their registration or during the same month, will have to get an inspection before they can renew their registration. On the other hand, drivers, whose registration expires before their inspection, will not need another inspection until the next time their registration is due.

Renew Vehicle Registration in Texas Online


Renewal of the annual registration can still be done online, by mail or in person at the driver’s county tax office. Driver’s inspection status will be verified electronically at the time of registration. In addition, a current, passing inspection is required for registration renewal. Once registered, registration is valid through the last day of the registration expiration month.

New Registration Requirements, Same Cost

Fortunately, this initiative will not affect Texas drivers’ wallets. The inspection fee will be the same, however, it will be paid in two steps if the vehicle is inspected on or after March 1, 2015: STEP 1– The inspection station’s portion of the fee is due at the time of inspection and STEP 2-The state’s portion of the fee is collected at the time of the registration. The state’s portion of the inspection fees will be line-itemed on the driver’s registration renewal notice.

Calculate Your Vehicle Registration Fees

Another interesting part of the new initiative is that drivers may calculate their fees by visiting the below referenced website and scrolling to the “Fees Section”. In addition to calculating their fees, drivers can also find out if their vehicles are up for registration or inspection renewal by clicking on “Calculate my Date”.

Step by Step Instructions for Vehicle Registration Renewal

Officials have set up this useful website (, which is supposed to smooth the transition process. There you can find step-by-step instructions for the new process of renewing required services.

Before issuing one’s registration renewal notice, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles will check the state inspection records for the driver’s last inspection. If that record cannot be found, is expired or failing, the driver will not receive a registration renewal notice. Instead, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles will send an Inspection and Registration Notice informing the driver that no record could be located. This notice should remind the driver that an inspection must be completed in order for the driver to renew their vehicle registration. Again, methods of renewal are available through an online system, by mail or in-person. More information regarding those methods can be found on the above-referenced website.

Lost or Misplaced Vehicle Inspection Report

If you have misplaced your VIR (Vehicle Inspection Report) and you need proof of current inspection to complete the vehicle’s registration, visit to download and print a copy of the document.

Find out what happens if you’re in an accident while your inspection is out?

Register your Vehicle for Multiple Years

As part of this new initiative, only new passenger cars and light trucks purchased from a dealer which have two years of initial inspection will be eligible to receive two years of initial registration at time of title. If a driver currently holds a multi-year registration, it will remain valid until it expires, however, the driver will still need to pass an annual vehicle inspection. Texas Department of Motor Vehicles will send out a notice on the month of the vehicle registration instructing the driver to get an inspection and pay the state’s portion of the inspection fee to the county tax assessor-collector’s office. If the driver does not complete their required inspection and remit the state’s portion of the fee to the county office within 30 days of the registration month, the remark “VERIFY INSPECTION” will be placed on the driver’s vehicle record for law enforcement purposes.

Vehicle Registration for New Texas Residents

New Texas residents must get their vehicles inspected and registered within 30 days after they move to Texas. The State’s portion of the inspection fee will be due at the time of registration if the inspection was completed March 1, 2015 or later.

Transferring a Vehicle Title in a Private Vehicle Sale

If a driver has purchased a used vehicle through a private sale or received title through transfer of ownership, that vehicle will need a current, passing vehicle inspection before it can be titled and registered. The State’s portion of the inspection fee will be due at the time of registration if the inspection was completed March 1, 2015 or later.

Vehicles Exempt from Texas Vehicle Registration Requirements

If a vehicle does not currently require an annual inspection, then it does not require an inspection for purposes of registration now that the new program has gone into effect.

Can you be stopped for No Inspection Sticker?

In some situations, yes. In most situations, no. It is important to have a printed report of your vehicle’s inspection in the car with you. After March 1, 2015, a vehicle passing the annual inspection will not be issued an inspection certificate. In situations in which vehicle’s registration renewal is not due until some month after March 2015, it is possible that law enforcement officials will see vehicles with no inspection certificate displayed. The registration decal issued to the vehicle will serve as the visual indicator that the vehicle is in compliance with the vehicle inspection requirements in Transportation Code, Chapter 548. “Failure to Display Inspection Certificate” (Texas Transportation Code §548.602) and “Dismissal of Charge; Administrative Fee” (Texas Transportation Code §548.605) have been repealed effective March 1, 2015, meaning that it will no longer be a violation of the Transportation Code to operate a motor vehicle without a valid inspection certificate on or after March 1, 2015.

Examples of the Texas Vehicle Registration Requirements

Example 1: Inspection expires December 2014; registration expires March 2015:

Vehicle must be inspected by Dec. 31, 2014 and the station must affix an inspection certificate to the vehicle with an expiration of December 2015. The station will collect the total inspection fee for the type inspection being conducted. When the vehicle owner seeks registration renewal in March 2015, DMV or county tax assessor/collector will verify the record of a passing inspection in the DPS inspection database and issue the renewal registration certificate to the vehicle. The owner will only pay the registration fee.

Example 2: Registration due March 2015; inspection expires April 2015:

When the owner seeks registration renewal, DMV or county tax assessor/collector will verify passing inspection in the DPS database and issue the registration certificate to the vehicle.

Example 3: Inspection expires November 2015; registration expires March 2016:

Following the expiration of the inspection certificate in November, the vehicle may be operated without a valid inspection sticker or report (Texas Transportation Code §548.602 repealed effective March 1, 2015). To register the vehicle, vehicle owner must obtain a passing inspection report no more than 90 days in advance of registration expiration.

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