Buying and Registering A Car in Texas Without a License

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If you are looking at a great deal on a car but haven’t passed your driver’s test yet, you don’t want to wait until you’re licensed to get your dream car. Is it possible to buy a vehicle without a license in Texas?

You can buy a car without a license in Texas. No laws require a driver’s license to purchase a vehicle. However, you cannot test or drive the car off the lot and should bring someone else to take it home once you’ve purchased it.

Car dealer standing in showroom near a new car. - Texas View

Can You Buy a Car in Texas Without a License?

Texas does not require a license to buy a car at an individual level or a dealership. If you buy a car from a dealership without a license, you cannot test drive the car or drive it away. However, you can still purchase the vehicle in your name.

People who don’t drive often do need to own cars. Some of the reasons that someone would buy a vehicle without having a license are:

  • They hold a business with multiple vehicles
  • They have a caretaker who drives for them
  • They are buying a car for a family member with a license
  • They are purchasing a car in anticipation of getting a driver’s license
  • They have a personal chauffeur who will be driving

You will need a legal ID to buy a car without a license in Texas. For most people without a driver’s license, this is a passport. You’ll need to present some form of identification when purchasing the car so the dealership knows it’s not a fraudulent transaction.

Once you buy the car, someone else must drive it away from the lot. However, if you’ve brought someone else to test drive it, they can take it home for you. You only need to be present to sign the paperwork and purchase.

hundreds of new cars waiting for their owners - Texas View

Buying a Car in Texas with an out-of-state license

You can buy a car in Texas with an out-of-state license. It works much the same way buying an in-state car does. You will go to the car lot, test drive a few vehicles, and pick the one you want to buy. Once you’ve finished with the sale, you can drive away with the car.

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If you’re buying a car for someone in Texas, you don’t even have to update the registration. As long as you register the car in your name and their name, the Texas license plate, and tags can stay the same.

When buying a car in Texas, you only need a bill of sale from the car dealership. Most out-of-state registrations require a bill of sale to track the former registration of the car and update it to the correct state.

Dealer New Cars Stock. Colorful Brand New Compact Vehicles For Sale Awaiting on the Dealer Parking Lot - Texas View

Registering a Car in Texas Without a License

Once you’ve purchased a car without a license, the following legal step is registering it. While it is possible to register a car without your own driver’s license officially, it is a slightly more complicated process than registering with a permit.

The reason for the difficulty is the lack of insurance. You can’t legally register a car without insurance; car insurance is insured through the driver. If someone other than you will be driving this car, they should be the ones to purchase insurance and register the car.

There are situations where you own and insure the car but are not the primary driver. These are uncommon, but insurance agencies are prepared to handle them. You’ll have to contact your local insurance agent about this. It will likely involve you giving your personal information to your hired driver and allowing them to take out insurance in your name.

Once you have insurance, registering a car doesn’t require more than a federal ID. You can take the proof of insurance to the DMV and officially register your new vehicle. You’ll receive tags and Texas license plates, but you won’t be able to drive it away if you don’t have a license.

Couple reading a booklet at new car showroom. - Texas View

90 Day Registration

If you are moving to Texas and want to register your car, you can do so without changing your Texas license. However, you’ll be required to change your Texas license within 90 days of registration. Here’s what you need:

  • Proof of ownership
  • Proof of insurance
  • Texas tags and license plates
  • Plans to change to a Texas driver’s license

Changing a registration from a different state is slightly different than getting a new registration for a car. The sooner you do this, the better. The site suggests you complete registration updates within 30 days of moving to the state to ensure everything goes smoothly.

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To update your registration to a Texas registration, you’ll need to get your car inspected by a certified mechanic. Most oil change locations are DPS certified and willing to give you certification upon proof of ownership and insurance.

Always make sure you have your insurance card with you. Texas requires car insurance for legal registration, so set that up if your car is uninsured. You can set it up in Texas for more suitable proof of insurance.

Next, you can visit a Texas Department of Motor Vehicles service location. You will show your completed inspection paperwork, proof of ownership and insurance, and your current driver’s license or ID. They will issue you tags and a Texas license plate.

Finally, it would be best if you planned to change your citizenship to Texas citizenship. Unless you’re buying and registering the car in your name for someone else, you should plan on switching to a Texas driver’s license within a few months. It can confuse if you are driving a Texas car and have a license from another state.


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Christian Linden Texas View Headshot 3 - Texas View
Author at Texas View | Texas View

Christian Linden is a seasoned writer and contributor at Texas View, specializing in topics that resonate with the Texan community. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Christian brings a wealth of knowledge in local politics, culture, and lifestyle. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas. When he's not writing, Christian enjoys spending weekends traveling across Texas with his family, exploring everything from bustling cities to serene landscapes.

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