REGISTERING YOUR VEHICLE
The Galveston County Tax Office (GCTO) provides registration and titling services on behalf of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV). Once a vehicle is titled and registered, TxDMV should send renewals about six weeks in advance of expiration. There is no loss to you if you renew before the sticker is expired NOR is there any benefit gained by coming in after the month of expiration. An inspection is required in advance of renewal (but no more than 90 days in advance of exipiration date) as well as proof of insurance. Proof of insurance and inspection may or may not need to be presented when registering in person. Sign up for email reminders regarding renewals from TxDMV online at www.txdmv.gov. have your plate number or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) handy. You may renew online by clicking on the Renew Your Vehicle Registration Online link as long as your registration has not expired more than six months. 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 (allow up to another week for USPS delivery). An additional option (if you have the renewal form) is to visit one of our grocery store partners listed below.
A family member with the same last name may represent you in our office but if a friend or family member with a different last name, be sure to complete the authorization section on the Authorization for Purchase of Registration Form (Authorization for Purchase of Registration.pdf).
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.
A basic registration fee of $50.75 is charged for passenger vehicles and light trucks (6,000 lbs. or less) and this added to the other fees should below total up to $74.75. Fees for trucks over 6,000 lbs. is in schedule below. Trailers up to 6,000 lbs. are charged a base fee of $45.00 (for a total of $67.25) and motorcycles and mopeds have a base fee of $30.00 (for a total of $53.25).
Grocery Store Partners
HEB at 2955 South Gulf Freeway (I45), 2755 E. League City Pkwy
Krogers 250 South FM 270, 2750 E. League City Pkwy, 1920 W. League City Pkwy
Randalls at 2951 Marina Bay Drive (near South Shore Harbour)
Krogers at 3410 Gulf Freeway (at FM 517)
HEB at 701 W. Parkwood (FM 528 at FM 518)
Krogers at 151 N. Friendswood Drive (corner of FM 518 & FM 2351)
Krogers at 5730 Seawall Blvd (near Convention Center)
Randalls at 2931 Central City Blvd
Arlans at 12460 Highway 6
HEB at 3502 Palmer Highway (at 34th Street)
Krogers at 3541 Palmer Highway
PLEASE 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.
TITLING YOUR VEHICLE
If you purchased a vehicle from a dealership, the dealer is required to file the title application on your behalf so there will be no need to visit the Tax Office. The dealer should provide you with a receipt showing the vehicle has been titled in your name.
If you purchased a vehicle from an individual, you will need a signed title and a Form 130-U. If the registration is expired, you must also have it inspected in advance of coming to our offices to title and register it. Bring proof of insurance, an inspection form, your ID and payment that includes a $33 application fee, registration fee (see above) and applicable sales tax (6.25% sales tax based on the value of the vehicle according to the State or sales price, whichever is higher). The Standard Presumptive Value (SPV) calculator may be found at https://www.txdmv.gov/standard-presumptive-calculator. If you paid less than the SPV, you may pay sales taxes on an appraisal amount if provided by a licensed insurance adjuster or licensed motor vehicle dealer but it must be obtained within 20 working days of purchase. Download the appraisal form here Used Motor Vehicle Certified Appraisal Form 14-128.pdf.
NEW TO TEXAS?
First Things First - Driver's Licenses Issued by DPS
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 contact DPS to obtain a Texas drivers license at one of the numbers shown below. You will likely need to take proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate, social security card or passport. You may also need to go online to the DPS website to schedule an appointment in advance. DPS offices in the Galveston County area are:
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 Your Vehicle As a New Texas Resident
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 (see below) as well as the TxDMV website. There is a $90 fee to register a vehicle in Texas and a $33 application fee. Titling in Texas is not required but it is encouraged if you have the title. 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)
OTHER QUESTIONS? For additional information, please contact our office toll free at 1-877-766-2284 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ACCEPTED FORMS OF PAYMENT
We have several options for you to use when submitting payment to our office. You may pay 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".
MOTOR VEHICLE FORMS:
OFF HIGHWAY VEHICLE INFORMATION
There has been a great deal of interest in 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
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
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:
- 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 look forward to serving you!
Cheryl E. Johnson, PCC, Galveston County Tax Assessor Collector