How to Change My License Plates From California to Texas

By Nancy Chen
All Texans, their cars
texas map image by Vladislav Gajic from Fotolia.com

All states require motor vehicle owners to register their vehicle with a state agency such as a Department of Motor Vehicles. If you are moving from California to Texas, you will need to take certain steps to ensure that your car is properly registered so that it displays new, valid Texas license plates. Texans are required by law to register their vehicles on a yearly basis.

Obtaining Texas License Plates

Report a change of address to the California DMV by submitting a change-of-address form online or by printing out a form from the DMV website and mailing it in (see Resources for links to both methods). Or you can obtain a form by calling the DMV automated phone line at 1-800-777-0133. An in-person trip to the DMV is not required to report an address change.

Get your car inspected in Texas after moving there before registering and titling it. Your vehicle needs to be inspected, registered and titled within 30 days of moving to Texas.

Go to your local Texas county tax office to register and title your vehicle and to obtain new license plates. To locate your local county tax office, see Resources for the office locator.

Bring the following documents to your county tax office, as stated on the Texas DMV website: inspection certification; proof of liability insurance; the vehicle's odometer reading if it is less than 10 years old; an original title or proof of registration and completed application form for a title (see Resources). You'll also need to pay a registration fee (varies depending on the year of the model), a title fee of $28 or $33 depending on the county, and a new resident tax of $90.

Depending on the county you live in, you may walk out with the new Texas license plates in hand; if not, you will be given a temporary license plate to display while waiting for the plates to arrive via mail.