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Houston Moving Guide

Getting Your Driver's License in Houston

Have you recently moved to Houston or Texas and need to change your driver's license? After unpacking your things from storage and moving into your new home, getting your Texas driver's license in Houston is the next step in making your move official. You can find tips to help you navigate the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and vehicle registration at your local Houston DMV location. Planning ahead can help you save time, for sure! And keep a smile on your face.

Welcome to Texas Road Sign

Getting a Texas Driver's License

Folks who move to Texas have 90 days to convert their out-of-state driver's license to a Texas driver's license. You are not required to take a driver's test or the skills or knowledge test, but you do need to pass a vision test. Simply gather the required documents showing identity, Social Security number, U.S. citizenship, and residency and head to a Department of Public Safety office. Find your closest DMV or Department of Public Safety locations online here. Most people will pay $25 (ages 18–84), and the license will last for six years.

Houston has added four DPS Mega Centers that move lots of people through in a short time, in addition to the traditional DPS offices. Online appointments also are an option at the Mega Centers, which enable you to get in line before you arrive. This means you can continue running errands or eating lunch until your text message arrives noting your appropriate arrival time. The four DPS Mega Centers in the Houston area are located on S. Gessner, Veterans Memorial, Spring, and Rosenberg.

Applicants under 18 who move to Texas must take a skills exam, even if they have a valid license from another state.

Those who need to take a driving test can schedule the appointment online, which is an improvement from the past. Currently, there is a 4-week to 7-week wait on the online calendar, depending on the location you select.

As an FYI, DPS offices now accept credit cards in addition to cash, check, and money orders.

Online Renewals and Address Changes for a Texas State ID and License

Fortunately, you don't need to head to the DPS in person for routine license renewals or address changes. There are a few requirements before you can make the updates online, such as age requirements (18–79), as well as having a current valid license, credit card, and Social Security number already on file. The fee is $25 for a license renewal and $11 for an address change. You need to be connected to a printer to print your temporary license or ID, which is valid for 45 days.

Texas state licenses can be renewed in four ways: online, by phone, in person, or by mail. There are requirements for each of those, with in-person being the last option if the others aren't a fit.

Even if you use the Texas driver's license online renewal option, the state requires you to appear in a driver's license office at least once every 12 years for a vision test, as well as to update your photo, signature, and fingerprints.

What are the Texas License Registration and Vehicle Inspection Requirements?

Folks who move to Texas have 30 days to register their vehicle in the state. The first step to being registered as a Texan is to get insurance for your vehicle. Texas requires a minimum amount of insurance: $30,000 per injured person and $25,000 for property. Then you are ready for the vehicle inspection. All Texas registered vehicles are required to have an annual inspection. Texas vehicle inspection requirements include an emissions test for those living in Harris, Montgomery, and other neighboring counties. This can be done at Texas Department of Public Safety inspection stations, mechanic shops, and other authorized dealers.

The next step is a visit to the local county tax assessor-collector office. These lines can be long! Bring along your insurance card, proof of vehicle inspection, and proof you own the vehicle (such as the registration or title). The total base registration is $52.75, but some counties may add additional fees. Be sure to visit the customer service rep while you're at the county tax assessor-collector's office. Sign up for eReminder and receive an email when it's time to renew. The best part is you can renew your registration online!

Texas has recently moved to a Two Steps, One Sticker program, with the vehicle registration and inspection now on one sticker. This makes vehicle registration dependent on passing vehicle inspection. Don't forget your inspection must take place within 90 days of the expiration.

Vicki Powers

About the author

Vicki Powers

Vicki Powers, formerly of Houston on the Cheap, is a native Texan and freelance journalist. She loves helping Houstonians learn how to live in a big city without spending big bucks.

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