I'm going to be a student at a public university in Texas, and will live at a fraternity off-campus. But I believe I will still be keeping my California residency, as I'm not "moving" to Texas. I'm going to be buying a car in Texas. Can I register this new car in the state of Texas, despite not having residency nor a permanent address in the state of Texas?

  • 1
    You will very likely be considered a resident of Texas for all applicable laws here. Regardless of whether you would prefer to not be--- you are domiciling here for at least a semester. I will double check tommorow
    – David Reed
    Aug 4, 2018 at 3:16
  • Not sure how trustworthy this is, but it clearly states that you can do all the steps of registration even though your license is from out of state: carinsurance.com/Articles/…
    – Ben Voigt
    Sep 3, 2018 at 3:23
  • 1
    This page, which is official, says that as a university student you aren't required to have Texas title and registration (but it also doesn't say you can't): txdmv.gov/motorists/new-to-texas
    – Ben Voigt
    Sep 3, 2018 at 3:24

3 Answers 3


According to driving laws in the US, in Texas:

a non-resident owner of a privately owned passenger car that is not registered in the state in which the person resides and that is not operated for compensation may operate the car in this state for the period in which the car’s license plates are valid.

  • I understand that, but I would like to know if I can buy and register the vehicle in Texas. It's not registered in any other state.
    – Jeffrey
    Aug 4, 2018 at 21:15

Texas allows you to register the car in Texas even if you have an out of state title.

However, in your case, because of the amount of taxes, you will probably WANT to register it in Texas. You will likely pay less in state taxes, less in state sales tax and less in licensing fees (probably 1/10th) and less in insurance costs.

Use your address at the dorm. You don't need a Texas drivers license to do it.

Once you get to California you can re-register it there if you want.


Note: Active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces and non-resident, full-time students attending a Texas college or university are not required to register or title their vehicles in Texas.

  • 1
    This would be a more persuasive answer if it included a citation to Texas legal authority (i.e., a statute) supporting your assertion. Jul 18, 2020 at 22:39

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