New to Houston

Houston - known as the energy capital of the world is the fourth largest city in the United States. Its bursting economy, job growth and low cost of living positions Houston as a popular international destination.

If you are new to the Houston area, there are a few things you might want to know before and after your move. The Greater Houston metropolitan area consists of eight counties: HarrisBrazoria,ChambersFort BendGalvestonLibertyMontgomery and Waller. Texas does not have a state income tax, but it does have property taxes. We hope some of the resources listed below will help you in your journey to get settled. Welcome to Houston!

Government Website

www.houstontx.gov
The City of Houston

www.houstonnoem.org
City of Houston Office of Emergency Management

www.visithoustontexas.com
Visitor and Convention Bureau

www.houston.org
Greater Houston Partnership

www.houston-texas-online.com
Chambers of Commerce - Greater Houston

www.hcad.org
Harris County Appraisal District

Transportation

www.ridemetro.org
The Houston Metro System

www.hctra.org
Harris County Toll Road Authority

www.fbctra.com
Fort Bend County Tool Road Authority

www.houstontranstar.org
Houston Traffic and Road Conditions

www.fly2houston.com
The Houston airport system

www.portofhouston.com
The Port of Houston

www.drivetexas.org
TxDOT Highway Conditions

Auto Registration and Insurance

If you are new to Texas, you have 30 days to get a vehicle inspection and register the vehicle. (1) You must pass inspection first. Be sure to take your insurance card with you. (2) After inspection take the following to your county tax office:

  • Inspection certification
  • Proof of liability insurance
  • Vehicle odometer reading (if less than 10 years old)
  • Original out-of-state title
  • Proof of registration
  • Proof of sales tax payment or current foreign or military ownership document
  • Completed Form VTR 130-U

For more information on fees and documents, visitwww.txdmv.gov/vehicles/registration/register.htm.
Every 12 months, the vehicle must pass a safety inspection.

Texas Law - Proof of Liability Insurance

Texas law states that anyone operating a motor vehicle in the state must establish financial responsibility for that vehicle, which most people do by buying automobile liability insurance.

Visit this for minimum requirements - http://www.tdi.texas.gov/auto/frvp.html

Texas Driver's License

Anytime you change addresses, you need to update your drivers license. In Texas, you have 90 days to do so. If you are moving from out-of-state and have a valid drivers license and own a vehicle you will need to provide the following:

  • Proof of Texas Registration
  • Proof of liability Insurance (state law)
  • A social security number
  • And the out-of-state license
  • Pass a vision only test

If your license has expired you will have to retake the test. More information and locations can be found at: www.txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLicense/ - or call Texas DPS Driver's License Office in Houston at (713) 681-6187.

Texas Voter Registration

To be eligible to register to vote in Texas, you must meet these requirements:

  • Be a US citizen residing in Texas
  • Be at least 18 years old on election day
  • Not be a convicted felon (unless sentence, probation and/or parole are completed.)
  • Not be declared mentally incapacitated by a court of law.

In most Texas counties, the Tax Assessor-Collector is also the Voter Registrar. You can also visitwww.sos.state.tx.us/elections/
You can also register to vote when you apply for a license.

Texas Homestead Exemption

You may apply to get a tax break from your property taxes by filing a Homestead Exemption on your principal residence. Homestead exemptions remove part of your home's value from taxation, thus lowering your taxes.

The deadline for filing is up to one year after the delinquency date which is normally February 1st.

For more information on Texas Homestead Exemptions visit:http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/proptax/exmptns.html

For more information on property taxes - visit www.hcad.org.