Texas License Plate Lookup

Texas License Plate Lookup

Texas is not like its neighbor Louisiana.  Louisiana residents can have only rear license plates. While Texas residents should have both front and rear license plates.

But there are exceptions as well. For example, motorcycles can have only rear license plates. Antique autos and trailers can also have only rear plates.

Things to Know About Texas License Plate Lookup

There are some important things you should know. They will make your TX license plate lookup easier.

Currently, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TXDMV) issues license plates. You should be careful about having 2 license plates. Otherwise, you may get a $200 fine.

Moreover, you should place both plates on the bumper of the vehicle. Besides, rear plates visibility should be 50 feet. You can also use digital license plates. They are available since July 2, 2020.

Driving a vehicle for 90 days without TX license plates is also possible. You need to get no temporary license plate. There are 3 cases when you can do so.

  1. You are an international student. But you must have a valid license plate. It can be from another state.
  2. You have an International Driver’s Permit (IDP).
  3. Residents of Mexico are also part of it. But the vehicle should be registered in Mexico. Also, it should have Mexico state plates.

Note: Driving for more than 90 days will be a law violation.

Getting License Plate in Texas

As we have already mentioned Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TXDMV) issues license plates. But Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is responsible for driver licenses.

Getting a license plate in TX consists of many steps.

First of all, you should register your car. After, you can get your license plate in TX.

You should provide some documents to get a license plate in TX. If you meet all these requirements there will no problem for you to get a license plate.

  1. You need to have a vehicle inspection. But the inspection center must be licensed. DPS gives licenses. There may also be some other vehicle-related shops that are certified by DPS. For example, oil change shops, service stations, and so on. TXDMV created a tool to help you find the nearest inspection centers. The tool is called Inspection Station Locator.
  2. You need also to have vehicle insurance. Besides, there are additional requirements for insurance coverage. The minimum insurance money for a person wounded during the accident is $30,000. Meanwhile, for damaged belongings, it is $25,000.
  3. Prove that the car is your property. For instance, you can show the vehicle insurance. If you are from other state show your car title.
  4. Next, you should complete the Application for Texas Title.
  5. Finally, you should go to your local tax office.

Getting Temporary Permits in Texas

Are you going to stay in TX for a short time? In this case, you will need to get a temporary permit. The permit allows you legally drive in TX. They are just like temporary license plates. Thus, you can drive with them legally in TX.

There are 4 different temporary permits in TX.

  1. One-Trip Permit.
  2. Transit Permit.
  3. Permit for 3 to 6 days.
  4. Permit for 30 days.

Temporary One-Trip Permit

A one-trip permit is valid only for up to 15 days. As the name hints to us it is valid only for one trip. Thus, you can drive your vehicle from the starting point to the destination point. But the vehicle should not carry any load.

It is a must to place the temporary permit on the rear of the vehicle. However, there is no need to have a TX inspection card.

There are 2 ways to apply for a one-day permit.

  1. You can apply to the tax collector office.
  2. It is also possible to apply to the regional service center.

The fee for the one-day permit is $5. Besides, there is a processing $4,75 fee. The latter fee is non-refundable.

You can pay it credit card or cash. Certified checks and deposits are also accepted. But you can’t pay the fee via personal check.

Temporary Transit Permit

You need the transit permit. But you need it if you bought the vehicle in TX. And now you should take it to your home.

The permit is valid for up to 5 days. However, this permit is only available to light trucks and passenger cars. Moreover, you can get only one permit for each vehicle.

You can apply for a transit permit online.

Temporary Permit for 3 to 6 Days

The temporary permit allows you to drive on the TX highways. But you should be a resident of the US, Canada, or Mexico. Also, the permit is for busses and commercial vehicles.

You can get the temporary permit in 3 ways.

  1. You can get it from the tax collector office.
  2. Getting it from regional service centers is also possible.
  3. You can also get a temporary permit online.

The fee for 3 days permit is $25. Meanwhile, the fee for 6 days permit is $50. There is also a non-refundable $4,75 processing fee.

Temporary Permit for 30 Days

The 30 days permit is the maximum temporary permit. Unlike a 3 to 6 days permit, you can get it online. You can only get it from the tax collector office. Getting it from regional service centers is also possible.

The fee for a 30-day-permit is $25. The processing fee is also $4.75.

License Plate Fees in Texas

There are base license plate fees. They are based on the type of vehicle. For example, the fee for a car is $50,75. Meanwhile, the fee for a motorcycle’s license plate is $30.

License plate fees are also based on the weight of the vehicle. For instance, the fee for a light truck is $50,75. While heavy trucks have 7 different fees. They are based on the 7 weight categories.

Note: The fees don’t include additional taxes. The fees may also vary from county to county.

Renewing License Plates in Texas

You should renew your license plate in TX each year. The registration expires after a year at the last day of the month. The month is on the registration sticker.

Generally, TXDMV notifies you when the registration expires.

You have 3 ways to renew your license plates.

  1. You can renew it in person. The tax office is where you should visit. Besides, you should take your renewal notice. It is also a must to have a current vehicle inspection. You should also provide current liability insurance.
  2. Renewing it online is also possible. Moreover, you will get a $1 reduction. You can renew your license plate online 90 days prior to expiration.
  3. It is also possible to renew by mail. You should send the renewal notice to the tax office. Additionally, you should mail all the documents for in-person renewal.

There are also counties having alternative ways of renewal. For example, you can renew it even in a grocer store.

Replacing License Plates in Texas

Before 2016 TX conducted automatic replacement of license plates. It took place every 7 years. The replacement is for increasing the quality of the plate.

However, now TX no longer does the automatic replacement. Yet, you can apply for a replacement if the quality of the license plate is low. For example, it is impossible to read the license plate numbers.

You may also replace your license plate if you lost it. It is also possible if someone stole the plate.

First, you should complete the Application for Replacement License Plate. After, you can mail it to the TXDMV.

The fee is $6,50. It is non-refundable. Also, you can’t pay in cash through the mail.

Transferring License Plates in Texas

You should visit the tax collector office. They will assist you in transferring your license plate.

It is possible to transfer license plates from one vehicle to another. But they should be your own. Both vehicles bought from the private sector and dealer are eligible for this function.

There is no fee for transferring license plates in TX.

Surrendering Your License Plates in Texas

Texas doesn’t retain ownership of the license plates. Hence, the license plate is your own property. You don’t need to return it to TX. Besides, you can keep it as a souvenir.

Anyway, if you choose to get rid of it you can cut it.

Types of Texas License Plates

You can’t find that much variety of TX license plates. There are only 3 types of TX license plates.

General-issue license plate

The current general-issue license plate was introduced in 2012. The plate is also known as “The Texas Classic”. The plate has 7 characters. In the beginning, there are 3 capital letters. After, there is a dash in the form of TX. In the end, there are 4 numbers.

There’s also the TX slogan “The Lone Star State”. You can also see a “TEXAS” written above the plate. TXDMV decides the numbers. Hence, you can’t personalize it.

Visit our banned Texas license plates page for more details.

Specialty license plates

There are two specialty license plate subtypes: qualifying and non-qualifying.

You should meet some requirements to get a qualifying plate. But each TX citizen can have a non-qualifying plate.

Generally, you can personalize specialty license plates. You can get a plate only from your local tax office.

Souvenir license plates

You can’t use souvenir license plates to drive the car. They only have a decorative function. You can also give them as a present.

The fee for a souvenir license plate is $20. Additionally, you will pay $20 if you want to personalize it.

Manush K

Manush K

Manush considers writing as a form of art. Mixing facts with good grammar and the right punctuation is not enough for having unique content. She is sure, that you can't be a good writer if you are not able to leave the traces of your individuality in your work. She is a freelance content writer, translator, and voice talent in Upwork. She also works as a freelance writer on wizardwriters.com and has written many academic essays and literature reviews. Her educational background in social studies and linguistics give her the chance to find the right approach for each written material.