Frequently Asked Questions

   Two Steps, One Sticker Inspection & Registration Program

Law Enforcement

See Two Steps, One Sticker Law Enforcement Update


VIN Mismatch
If the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) doesn’t match the registration, you may obtain a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) by returning to the inspection station where the inspection was originally performed. The station will need to enter a new inspection record showing the correct VIN. If that is not an option, the vehicle will need to be inspected again to complete the vehicle’s registration renewal.

Inspection Stickers
Vehicles are no longer required to have an inspection sticker on the vehicle’s windshield. The inspection sticker has been replaced by the Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR). Keep the VIR handy as it may need to be shown at the time of registration.

Inspection Fees
Inspection fees have not changed. You now pay the inspection fee in two parts, at the inspection station and at the time of registration.

The inspection fee listed on your registration will not match the state fee listed on your Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR). See Texas Department of Motor Vehicles for more information on Two Steps, One Sticker.

Inspection Stations

Printer Not Working; Cannot Inspect
A violation occurs for Failure to Perform a Complete Inspection and or issue a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR). See Texas Administrative Code 23.62(c)(1)(q).

You cannot continue to inspect, if you are unable to produce an inspection report.

If you are using Vehicle Inspection Connection (VIC), call the Help Desk at (855) 845-0842 for system issues, or the printer manufacturer for printer problems.

If you are using an emissions analyzer, contact the analyzer manufacturer.

   General Inspection

New Timelines for Inspections

Prior to Feb, 29, 2016, you must have a passing vehicle inspection at the time you register or renew your vehicle’s registration. If your inspection expires before your registration, you are required to get your vehicle inspected before the inspection expiration date. After March 1, 2016, you must pass a vehicle inspection within 90 calendar days prior to registration or renewing your vehicle.

For commercial vehicles, you must inspect annually on the anniversary date of your current inspection. There is no grace period, and registration will be completed with your passing inspection at the time of your registration.

Inspection Sticker Removal

Beginning March 1, 2015, you may remove the vehicle inspection windshield sticker when it expires or when the vehicle has passed an annual vehicle inspection. Do not remove the registration sticker, as this serves as proof of registration and inspection. The next inspection date coincides with the vehicle’s registration expiration and will need to be inspected 90 calendar days prior to registration or renewing your vehicle.

Motorist Out-of-State When Inspection Expires

If your vehicle is out-of-state and you are unable to complete a Texas vehicle inspection to renew your vehicle’s registration, you will be able to self-certify the vehicle is out-of-state and will be permitted to register. The self-certification process is limited to:

  • Active Duty Military
  • Full-Time Students
  • Seasonal Texans, RVers
  • Apportioned Vehicles
  • Elected Congressional Officials

You will be able to renew your registration using self-certification online, by mail or in-person. Please contact your county tax office for more information about their requirements for out-of-state registration renewal. See County Tax Offices to find the contact information for your county of residence.

If you renew your vehicle’s registration using the out-of-state self-certification option, a remark will be placed on your vehicle record indicating an inspection is still due. Once you return to the state, you must complete a Texas vehicle inspection within three days of arrival at your home, duty station or destination. It is very important you keep the Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) issued after completing your vehicle’s inspection in case you are stopped by law enforcement before the remark is removed from your vehicle record, which takes about 48 hours. The remark will only be removed upon payment of the state’s portion of the inspection fee and verification of a current, passing inspection.

Proof of Inspection not available at DMV

Present your current, passing Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) to DMV and they will renew your registration.

Inspection Grace Period

There is no grace period on inspections. Beginning March 1, 2015, a passing vehicle inspection is required for vehicle registration.

Free Inspection Re-Tests for Failed Inspections

You do not have to pay to get your vehicle re-inspected, if it fails inspection. If your vehicle fails the inspection, have the item(s) repaired and take it back to the inspection station that originally performed the inspection within 15 days for a free re-test. If you choose not to take it back to the station that originally performed the inspection or should you present the vehicle after the 15 days, then your vehicle is no longer eligible for the free re-test.

Items of Inspection

   Inspection Stations & Inspectors

Returning Unused Inspection Certificates

Your DPS Field Auditor will contact you to pick up your unused inspection certificates.

Complaints against station/inspector

If you have a complaint concerning an inspection station please use our secure web form to  contact DPS. Be sure to have inspection station information, such as station name, station ID (if possible) and inspector. All complaints must be submitted in writing.

   General Vehicle & Driving

National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA)

Contact NHTSA  for federal regulations pertaining to recalls, air bags, vehicle importation and certification, safety defects, child safety seats and other hot topics.

Odometer Rollbacks

Odometer tampering complaints should be addressed to the  Attorney General Consumer Protection Division.

Report a Smoking Vehicle

To report a smoking vehicle statewide, visit the  Smoking Vehicle Program or call, toll-free (800) 453-SMOG (7664).

To report a smoking vehicle in North Central Texas visit  North Central Texas Regional Smoking Vehicle Program (RSVP) or call #SMOKE (#76653) from your wireless phone or (817) 704-2522.

Dismissal of Charge

See Transportation Code §548.605. Dismissal of Charge; Administrative Fee.

License Plates

State law requires vehicle owners to display two license plates, one at the exterior front and one at the exterior rear of the vehicle. Plates must be securely fastened in the horizontal position of not less than 12 inches from the ground, measuring from the bottom.  Texas Administration Code, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, 217.22

* This guidance is referenced in Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) requirements to properly display the registration certificate. DPS does not inspect the license plate specifically, but instead inspects the license plate lamp.

Operation of a vehicle without registration insignia is an offense. Additional information on offense and compliance is specified in the  Texas Transportation Code, 502.473.

   Military Fee Exemption

Who qualifies for the military fee exemption (SB 807)?

Individuals who submit an original or renewal application to be a Texas certified vehicle inspector and meets one of the following eligibility requirements:

  • Active Duty Military Service Member: current full-time military service in the armed forces of the United States or active duty military service as a member of the Texas military forces, as defined by Texas Government Code §437.001, or similar military service of another state.
  • Military Veteran: a person who has served on active duty and who was discharged or released from active duty.
  • Active Military Spouse: a person who is married to an active duty military service member who holds a current license issued by another jurisdiction that has licensing requirements that are substantially equivalent to the requirements for registration in this state; or a military spouse who, within five years preceding the application date, held the license in this state.

What fees are waived with the military fee exemption (SB 807)?

For qualified applicants, the Texas certified vehicle inspector application fees for individual original and renewal applications are waived.

Note: This exemption does not waive vehicle inspection fees or vehicle registration fees.

How do I apply for the military fee exemption?

Currently, DPS does not accept online applications with military fee exemptions. Applications must be submitted through the contact us.

Please include the following:

Upon approval of the supporting documents, you will be instructed to continue the application process by mailing the application form to:

Texas Department of Public Safety
Vehicle Inspection Program
P.O. Box 15999
Austin, Texas 78761-5999

What supporting documentation do I need to submit with my application to obtain the military fee exemption?