Two Steps to One Sticker for Inspections and Registrations!


Last week saw the implementation of the new Texas One Sticker Law. This law states that your vehicle will no longer be issued an inspection sticker and your registration sticker will serve as combined proof of inspection and registration.

The Texas Two-Step

Just like in the dance, there are two steps involved. The first step is the most critical, as you need to make sure you are in compliance with the new traffic law. From March 1, through to February 29, 2016, you can renew your registration if your vehicle has a current, passing inspection. On the flip side of this, if your inspection and registration stickers both expire in the same month, your vehicle will need to pass inspection prior to registration renewal.

The second step is to remember to renew your annual registration online, by mail, or in-person at your county tax office. At the time of registration, your inspection status will be verified electronically. A current, passing inspection is required for registration renewal. As of the first of this month of March, you have 90 days to complete both your inspection and registration. Remember though, that your registration is valid through the last day of the registration expiration month.

Money Means Everything

You might be asking yourself, “How much is this going to affect my wallet?” The answer is: not at all! After March 1, your inspection fee is the same, but you will pay it in two steps if your vehicle is inspected on or after the 1st. The inspection station’s portion of the fee is due at the time of inspection. The state’s portion of the fee is collected at the time of registration. The state’s portion of the inspection fees will be line-itemized on your registration renewal notice.

Two-Stepping Into Detail

Before the Texas DMV issues you your renewal notice, they are going to check the state inspection records for your last inspection. If your inspection record cannot be found, is expiring, or failing, you will not receive a registration renewal notice. In its place will be an Inspection and Registration Notice informing you that your record could not be located. It will state that you must get your vehicle inspected in order to renew your vehicle registration.

Online Renewal

If you have a current, passing inspection in the DMV database, you will be able to complete your online renewal and your new registration sticker will be mailed to you. If you don’t have a current, passing inspection, and you are unable to certify that the vehicle is out of state, you will need to obtain a passing vehicle inspection or visit your local county tax assessor’s office and present your current Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) to complete your renewal.

Renewal By Mail

If you have  a current, passing inspection in the database, your local county tax assessor’s office will process your renewal and your new registration sticker will be mailed to you. If you don’t have a current, passing inspection, your renewal will not be processed. Your county will request that you provide verification of inspection.

In-Person Renewal

If your inspection is current and passing in the database, the clerk will proceed with your renewal. Inspection will be verified electronically at the time of renewal.

Title Transfer and Private Vehicle Sales

If you have recently been given ownership of a vehicle from someone else, or you purchased a used vehicle via a private party sale and the inspection has expired, the vehicle will need a current, passing vehicle inspection before it can be titled and registered in your name. The state’s portion of the inspection fee will be due at the time of registration, only if the deal was completed on March 1, 2015 or later.

Special Cases

Self-certification of registration renewal is limited to:

  • Active Duty Military Personnel
  • Full-time students
  • Seasonal Texans: RV’ers, etc.
  • Apportioned vehicles
  • Elected Congressional officials

Only new passenger cars and light trucks purchased from a dealer, which have two years of initial inspection, will be eligible to receive two years of initial registration at time of title.

If you currently have a multi-year registration, it will remain valid until it expires, but you will still need to pass an annual vehicle inspection. You will receive a notice from the DMV on the month of your registration. If you do not complete the inspection and don’t pay the state’s portion of the fee to your county office within 30 days of your registration month, the remark “Verify Inspection” will be placed on your vehicle record for law enforcement purposes. New Texas residents are subject to the same regulations as long-term residents of the state.

Additional Information

If your vehicle passed inspection but the system is unable to electronically verify it, you may present the current, passing VIR you received from the inspection station to the county at the time of renewal. Your inspection will be verified manually, and you will be permitted to renew your vehicle registration.  If you’re renewing at a subcontractor location, like a grocery store, they may not accept your VIR as proof of inspection. Each county will determine whether their subcontractors verify inspection via VIR. If a subcontractor is not permitted to verify, you will be directed to the county office to complete your renewal.

At Finnegan Chevrolet Buick GMC we have all of your state inspection needs met. Our factory trained and certified technicians can get you in and out lickety-split! Come in and see us today!

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The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles has all your answers to those frequently asked questions!

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