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Department of the Air Force
JBSA Lackland Passport/VISA Office
1561 Stewart St
Bldg 5616, Room 108
JBSA Lackland, TX
Figuring out the best way to get around is important when you’re in a new installation. It’s useful to understand the various regulations, local laws as well as license and registration requirements. Whether you need a driver’s license, transport a car overseas or want help buying a car, there are people to assist you at your new installation. Check out the topics below to find information and regulations on vehicles and registration at your base.
State laws vary when it comes to motor vehicle insurance requirements, licensing, and registration. The term vehicle generally includes automobiles, motorcycles, vans, trailers, and boats regularly parked or garaged overnight. Service members and their families will want to understand their state's laws on registration and licensing before moving to a new state. Visit the USA.gov Motor Vehicle Services page for links to state-specific websites.
Texas State law requires you to have sufficient liability insurance and a valid driver's license to operate a vehicle. The term "vehicle" generally includes automobiles, motorcycles, vans, trailers, and boats regularly parked or garaged overnight.
If you are temporarily stationed in Texas, you may keep your vehicle registration from your home state; however, it must be kept current. If you plan to make it your permanent home, then you need to register your vehicle. As a new resident, you have 30 days to apply for a Texas title or registration along with obtaining insurance meeting the minimum amount of insurance coverage required by the State of Texas and a Texas safety inspection and Vehicle Inspection Certificate. If you would like to apply for a Texas driver's license, the Texas Department of Public Safety issues driver licenses.
Access complete information on insurance, driver's licensing, and where and how to register your vehicle by visiting the State Department of Motor Vehicles website.
Active duty military personnel with a valid driver's license from another state do not have to get a Texas driver's license or Texas license plates. However, military retirees who stay in San Antonio must obtain them.
How to get your vehicle registered in Texas:
Auto Liability Insurance
In Texas, automobiles must be covered by minimum limits of liability insurance in accordance with the Texas Motor Safety Responsibility Act of 1981. There are minimum limits for bodily injury liability and property damage liability for any licensed motor vehicle. Current proof of financial responsibility (usually automobile insurance) is required to obtain or renew a driver's license, to register a car, and upon issuance of a safety inspection sticker.
Annual automobile inspections are required in Texas and must be completed before registering an automobile or obtaining a Texas license plate. Take your vehicle to a certified Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) inspection station. Many mechanic shops, oil change locations, and service stations are certified by DPS as inspection stations.
Below are JBSA-wide policies and information relating to transportation and military personnel.
Active-duty military personnel with a valid driver's license from another state are not required to obtain a Texas driver's license or Texas license plates; however, military retirees who stay in San Antonio must obtain them.
The information below applies to individuals who are transferring a valid out-of-state driver's license and/or applying for a new Texas driver's license/identification (ID) card. Visit the Texas Department of Public Safety for information about Motorcycle Licensure.
New Texas residents can legally drive with a valid, unexpired driver's license from another U.S. state, U.S. territory, Canadian province, or qualifying country for up to 90 days after moving to Texas. Before the end of the 90-day grace period, a new Texas resident must apply for a Texas license in person at any driver's license office. When applying for the new Texas license, the individual must surrender any unexpired driver's license in their possession from another U.S. state, U.S. territory, or a Canadian province.
Written, driving, and vision tests are required for those who have never been licensed or have an expired out-of-state license. NOTE: U.S. military personnel on active duty or individuals recently discharged with an expired driver's license from another state may be exempt from the skills exam and knowledge exams. To qualify for the exemption, applicants:
Adults (18 and Older):
Applicants who have a valid, unexpired driver's license from another U.S. state, U.S. territory, or from Canada must surrender their out-of-state/country driver license and are not required to take the knowledge or skills exams. They will require proof of:
Minors (Under 18):
State and local laws regulate the operation of motor vehicles, and these laws can vary by location. Many states regulate the following:
Seatbelt use: As of September 1, 2009, under Chapter 545 of the Texas Transportation Code, a new law enacted by the 81st legislature as House Bill 537, requires every person riding in a motor vehicle, no matter their age, to be secured by a seat belt, no matter where they are seated in the vehicle. This means that adults sitting in the back seat must wear a seat belt or risk receiving a traffic ticket. Drivers of the vehicle may also be cited for failing to ensure everyone in the vehicle is wearing the proper safety restraint.
Motorcycle operation: In San Antonio, adults over the age of 21 are not required to wear a helmet if either proof of completion of a motorcycle operator training course or evidence of private medical insurance can be shown; however, all riders under 21 must wear a helmet. IMPORTANT: Service members are required to wear a helmet both on and off the installation.
Use of a Hand-held Mobile Communication Device While Driving: Effective January 1, 2015, San Antonio motorists are banned from holding hand-held mobile communication devices while driving. This includes being at red lights. Drivers can use a Bluetooth device to take calls.
Child safety seats: According to Texas law, all children younger than 8 years old, unless taller than 4'9", are required to be in the appropriate child safety seat system wherever they ride in a passenger vehicle. The safety seat system MUST be installed according to the manufacturer's instructions. The best safety practice is: if the child is not yet 4'9", they are better protected if they continue to use the appropriate child safety seat system until they can properly fit in the adult safety belt. Visit the Texas Department of Public Safety's Safety Program Frequently Asked Questions for more information.