If you just moved to Texas, youíll soon learn plenty about the culture,
customs, and history of the state. In the meantime, here are a few items to
consider as you get acclimated.
Get legal on the road
As a new Texas resident, you have 30 days to register your vehicle and get
your driverís license. Before you register your vehicle, though, it must pass
the state inspection process. In order, here are the three steps to follow:
1. Take your vehicle to a state inspection station. You can find a list of what
types of inspections are required in your county and an inspections-station
locator at www.txdps.state.tx.us/vi. When you go, make sure you take
your driverís license and proof of insurance. If your insurance policy
wasnít issued in Texas, you may need to show proof that you carry the
minimum coverage required by the state: $20,000 bodily injury or death to
one person; $40,000 bodily injury or death to two or more persons; and
$15,000 injury or destruction to other property.
2. When your vehicle passes inspection, the inspection station will give you a
verification form to bring to the county tax assessor-collectorís office. This
is where you obtain a Texas vehicle registration sticker and license plates.
Youíll need proof of ownership, such as registration or title from your
previous home state, as well as proof of insurance. Again, you may need
to show that you carry minimum coverage amounts.
3. Apply for a Texas driverís license at the Texas Department of Public Safety
(DPS) office in your area. To find the location nearest you, visit
www.txdps.state.tx.us. Bring an ID, proof of Social Security number, proof
of liability insurance, and proof of Texas vehicle registration. Expect to
provide a thumbprint and surrender any valid out-of-state license you
Register to vote
While at the driverís license office, you can register to voteóor you can pick
up a voter-registration application from the county voter registrarís office, a
library, post office, or from the secretary of stateís Web site,
www.sos.state.tx.us. The application must be received 30 days before an
election to vote in that election.
You can find a wealth of information about the state at TexasOnline.com. You
can also search here for links to Web sites for counties, cities, chambers of
commerce, schools, and libraries. If youíre looking for answers to questions
about state laws, required business licenses, taxes, and more, you may also
find that information here.
Donít fall for misleading solicitations to file your homestead exemption
There is no fee to file a property-tax homestead exemption. You might receive
letters, though, on official-looking stationery offering to file your homestead
exemption for you for a fee. Even some people who have lived in Texas their
entire lives confuse these letters as a form from a state agency requiring a
mandatory fee. Donít fall for it. The process is simple and costs nothing. You
can download the application from
www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxforms/50-114.pdf, fill out the form, and
send it in to your appraisal district.
If you have other questions, please feel free to get in touch with me.
Welcome to your new home!