Basic Information If You Are New to Texas
You have 30 days after moving to Texas to register your vehicle in the County of residence and 90 days to obtain a Texas Drivers License from DPS (Department of Public Safety). Texas is one of five states that separates vehicles from drivers thus you will need to contact the DPS at one of the numbers shown below, take proof of insurance, TxDMV registration receipt and proof of Social Security number to the DPS office convenient for you. Those in the Galveston County area are included below:
Galveston DPS Office 6812 Broadway (409) 740-0031
Texas City DPS Office 1325 N Amburn Rd. (409) 933-1130
Alvin DPS Office 113 E. Sealy (281) 585-4525
Houston/Clear Lake 111 Tristar (off SH 3) (281) 486-8351
REGISTERING & TITLING YOUR VEHICLE
The Galveston County Tax Office (GCTO) provides registration and titling services for more than 300,000 vehicles on behalf of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV). After you have registered your vehicle in the County, you will receive renewal notices directly from TxDMV, typically six weeks before expiration. Keep an eye on your windshield and come on in when you receive the renewal--you will not lose a month by coming in early nor will you gain one by coming in late. Sign up for email reminders regarding renewals from TxDMV online at www.txdmv.gov. have your plate number or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) handy.
In order to register your vehicle in Texas, proof of Texas liability insurance or out-of-state liability insurance is required. If using out-of-state insurance, you must provide the declaration page of the policy. In an effort to improve customer satisfaction, we accept out-of-state checks but be prepared to show identification! All TxDMV/vehicle related forms are available on our website as well as the TxDMV website.
A basic registration fee of $50.75 is charged for passenger vehicles and light trucks (6,000 lbs. or less). Fees for trucks over 6,000 lbs. is included below. Trailers up to 6,000 lbs. are charged a base fee of $45.00 and motorcycles and mopeds have a base fee of $30.00. See complete fee schedule below.
TWO STEPS ONE STICKER PROGRAM
Starting in March 2015, TxDMV implemented a single sticker program which allows your registration sticker to serve as combined proof of registration and inspection. A current, passing inspection is required for registration renewal - including trailers over 7,500 pound capacity. The inspection may be obtained up to 90 days in advance of registration expiration. Keep the Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) received from the inspection station to provide to our office at the time of renewal. Although inspection stations upload activity to the State that we can see in the Registration and Titling System, the frequency is not known. Like proof of insurance, most of the time we can see the information in our system but not always.
FIRST TIME REGISTRATION IN TEXAS
New residents from out of State will pay an additional $90.00 to register their vehicles in Texas and an additional $33.00 application fee. You will need to do the following:
Have the vehicle inspected at a DPS licensed inspection station in Galveston County. Locate a station near you online at www.TxDPS.state.tx.us. The station will require proof of liability insurance. Upon passage of the safety inspection, you will be provided a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR).
Bring the following to our office:
a. Proof of insurance, title or registration in your name
b. Current driver's license (out-of-state)
c. DPS Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR)
Registration Fee schedule:
Use the 130-U form to register and title your vehicle in Texas 2019 Form 130-U Application for Title and Registration.pdf. Titling it here enables you to transfer title within the State in the future. It is not required. You may just register the vehicle and you may also just title it.
If you need to have a friend or family member with a different last name to represent you in our office, be sure to complete the authorization section on the form Return of Title/Registration Application for Additional Information or Payment.
Disabled placards are available for those with temporary or permanent disabilities and are provided at no cost to disabled veterans. You will need to bring a prescription from a physician in order to obtain a placard or plates.
You may also visit any of our offices for your sticker or drop the renewal along with proof of insurance and inspection in any of the yellow drop boxes located outside full time branch offices. Friendswood Satellite has a black drop box in the entry drive toward the rear of the City Hall building. Renewals left in drop boxes are processed within three working days.
NOTE: Online renewals are processed by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Please let us know if you fail to receive a sticker within two weeks of renewing online. We will research and contact TxDMV for you.
MOTOR VEHICLE FORMS:
Off Highway Vehicle Information
There has been a great deal of interest recently regarding ATVs, LSVs, ROVs, etc. If registered, titled and insured, Low
Speed Vehicles (LSVs), also known as Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs), may
be legally driven at a maximum speed of 35 mph on public roads with a posted
speed limit of 45 mph or less, unless a city or county ordinance prohibits
their operation. The classification criteria per TxDMV is shown below
and additional information is available at https://www.txdmv.gov/motorists/buying-or-selling-a-vehicle/off-highway-vehicles
You May Need a Plate for That Off Highway Vehicle or Golf Cart!
License plates ARE REQUIRED for off highway vehicles and golf carts if they are permitted by city ordinance to be driven on designated roadways. Plates may be obtained from any of our offices at a cost of $14.75 and must be accompanied by a 130U (see form below).
PLEASE NOTE - SIMPLY PURCHASING A LICENSE PLATE DOES NOT ENABLE YOU TO DRIVE IT ON TEXAS ROADS! As of 10/5/2020, we have determined the following cities permit off highway vehicles or golf carts (this list will be updated as additional information is obtained):
Bayou Vista - golf carts and OHV
Clear Lake Shores - golf carts; OHV may be considered in future
Galveston - golf carts
Hitchcock - golf carts only
Jamaica Beach - golf carts and OHV
Santa Fe - golf carts only
Texas City - golf carts and OHV
Tiki Island - golf carts only
Please note that the Governor’s COVID-19 disaster declaration remains in effect for motor vehicle titling and registration thus off ORV and golf cart owners have 60 days from date of declaration end to comply. Avoid the line and obtain plates via the mail!
A vehicle is classified as an LSV or NEV if it has:
maximum speed of 20-25 mph (LSV) or 20-35 mph (NEV)
· a parking brake
· turn signals
· rear-view mirrors
· brake lights
· reflectors, and
· a valid 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
Vehicles (ATVs) are regulated by state and federal laws. A vehicle is an ATV if it:
- is equipped with a seat or seats for the use of the rider and a
passenger and (if the motor vehicle is designed by the manufacturer to
transport a passenger)
- has three or more wheels
- is not more than 50 inches wide,
- s designed for off-highway use, and
- is not designed by the manufacturer for farm or lawn care
ATVs may not be driven on public roads unless permitted by the city and the
- a farmer or a rancher traveling no more than 25 miles
- a public utility worker, or
- a law enforcement officer
ATVs driven on a public road must have a triangular
orange flag on top of an eight-foot pole attached to the back of the vehicle. It must also have a brake system, a
muffler system, a United States Forest Service qualified spark arrester, head
and tail lights, and an Off Highway Vehicle decal issued by the Texas Parks and
A Utility-Type vehicle (UTV) is defined as an Off-Highway Vehicle (ROV), and is generally used for maintenance, hunting or
recreation. ROVs must be titled but may not be driven on public roads unless
owned by a state, county or city and operated on a public beach or highway to
maintain public safety and welfare, if the driver is a public utility worker or
a law enforcement officer.
- equipped with a seat or seats for the
use of the rider and a passenger or passengers, if the vehicle is designed
by the manufacturer to transport a passenger or passengers
- designed to propel
itself with four or more tires in contact with the ground
- designed by the manufacturer for off-highway use and
- not designed by the manufacturer for farm or lawn care.
To be operated on public property, ROVs must have:
ACCEPTED FORMS OF PAYMENT
- a brake system,
- a muffler system,
- a United States Forest Service qualified spark arrester,
- head and tail light, and
- an Off Highway Vehicle decal issued by the Texas Parks and Wildlife
We have several options for you to use when submitting payments to our office. You may via cash, check, money order, cashiers check, debit and Visa, Master Card, Discover, and American Express credit cards. American Express credit cards may only be used in person.
A credit card convenience fee of 2.5% of payment amount (minimum charge $3.00) or $3.00 for PIN-based debit card transactions will be added by Chase, a third party facilitator for these payments and will appear as a separate transaction on your credit card statement. The fee will appear as a charge to "Galveston City Motor".
We look forward to serving you!
Cheryl E. Johnson, PCC, Galveston County Tax Assessor Collector