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Texas Car Title Transfer and Registration


The good news for those looking to go about the vehicle title transfer process in Texas is that the state’s DMV doesn’t make it nearly as difficult or expensive as some of its neighbors. Nevertheless, there are still certain responsibilities that fall with the seller and the buyer of the vehicle alike, which must be fulfilled to avoid penalties.

Out of State Registration

As with most states, it is necessary to register any out-of-state vehicles brought into Texas within 30 days of arrival. A full inspection and emissions check will be required – both of which must be passed in order for the vehicle to be registered. An Application for Texas Title (Form 130-U) must then be completed and submitted, along with the required documentation.

Purchasing Vehicles from Dealers in TX

Picking up a vehicle from a dealership can make the purchase process much easier. Dealers are required by law to handle all administrative duties with regard to title transfer and registration, though the vehicle buyer will still be expected to pay all necessary fees and charges.

However, it is important to always ensure that a receipt is provided by the dealer, which must include the details of the new owner.

Private Vehicle Purchases

When buying a car privately in Texas, the buyer has 30 days from the sale date to arrange and complete the title transfer. It is recommended that both the seller and the buyer attend their county’s tax office together.

In order to successfully transfer ownership, the seller must produce:

  • The vehicle title with the signature of the seller
  • An Application for Texas Title (Form 130-U) fully completed and signed
  • Evidence of sales tax payment (if applicable)
  • Evidence of valid car insurance in Texas
  • Inspection documentation
  • Releases of lien (if required)
  • Full payment of all applicable fees and charges

Should the license plates be taken off the vehicle by the seller…which is relatively common…a temporary Vehicle Transit Permit can be downloaded. This will provide the new owner with the right to use the car for a maximum of five days and ONLY for journeys to and from the nearest tax office. Only one such permit can be issued per vehicle transfer.

It is also recommended that the buyer retains a copy of:

  • The seller’s name
  • Their full address and telephone number
  • The date on which the vehicle was purchased
  • The agreed purchase price
  • Full details of the vehicle, including VIN, model, make and year of manufacture

A vehicle cannot be registered without evidence of valid Texas car insurance, but it is nonetheless possible to fill out an Application for Title Only (Form VTR-131) to transfer ownership.

Private Vehicle Sales

When a vehicle is sold privately in the state of Texas, the responsibility of sorting out the title transfer falls with the buyer. However, it is a legal requirement for the seller to provide them with the required paperwork and documentation they need, which includes:

  • The vehicle title complete with the signature of the seller
  • An odometer reading
  • A completed Application for Texas Certificate of Title (Form 130-U)
  • The selling price of the vehicle

It is always highly recommended that the seller of the vehicle immediately notifies the DMV that ownership of the vehicle has been transferred just as soon as the vehicle is sold. This will in turn ensure that the previous owner is not held liable if the car is involved in any violations. This can be done be heading over to the TxDMV website, or by visiting any county tax office to complete the required paperwork.

In addition, it is a good idea to retain key information about both the buyer and the vehicle itself, including:

  • The name, address and telephone number of the buyer
  • The agreed purchase price and the date of the sale
  • Complete information about the vehicle, including its make, model, VIN etc.

Donated and Gifted Vehicles

When an individual or organization receives a vehicle that was gifted to them with no sale taking place, it is the responsibility of the recipient to handle the title transfer process.

This involves visiting your local county tax office and producing the following:

  • The vehicle title, fully completed and signed by the previous owner
  • Application for Texas Certificate of Title (Form 130-U)
  • Affidavit of Motor Vehicle Gift Transfer (Form 14-317)
  • The $10 payable in gift tax

Vehicle Inheritance

The specifics of title transfers and ownership when it comes to inheritance vary in accordance with the number of vehicle owners, the way the estate is distributed and more. It is therefore recommended that you get in touch with your local county tax office or the Texas DMV, for more information on your own responsibilities upon inheriting a vehicle.


In the instance of a vehicle that is awarded to a new owner as part of a divorce settlement, the divorce decree must be taken to the tax office in order to arrange the title transfer.

Fees and Charges

The exact fees and charges you can expect to pay will differ somewhat from one county to the next. As such, it is advisable to get in touch with your local DMV office and to use the following examples as guidelines only.

Typical fees and charges include:

  • Title application fee – $30
  • Inspection fee – from $10 to $40
  • County fees and local charges – Up to $20
  • Verification of insurance – $1
  • Automation fee – $1

In addition to the above, anyone buying a car privately from a seller will be liable for taxation at a rate of 6.25%, which applies to the difference between the car’s selling price and its standard presumptive value.

Lien Removal

When a car has been fully paid off, it is a legal requirement for the lender to release the lien in no more than 10 working days. If the lien was recorded using a paper title, the certificate must be then given to the owner.

When the title has been received, the buyer is required to provide the DMV with:

  • The signed lien title
  • A letter from the lender authorizing the release of lien
  • An Application for Texas Certificate of Title (Form 130-U), completed and signed
  • Any payable fees and charges

Corrections to Vehicle Titles

Any required corrections to information contained within a vehicle title must be requested at the earliest possible juncture. Errors on the part of the county or DMV will be corrected free of charge, though all other corrections are payable at the full rate of a new vehicle title application ($30).

For the fastest and easiest way of tackling every type of vehicle title transfer, head over to Transfer My Auto to generate a free checklist of documents based on your circumstances!