Dealer Application Process

Logo of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles

When you’re ready to apply for your dealer’s license, what do you need to provide exactly? Well, clearly, you’ll have to complete the eLICENSING application on the TxDMV website in its entirety.

Let’s take a look at what documents you’ll need. Make sure that you have the following items saved electronically so that you can upload them to your application!

  • As we discussed, you’ll need to provide a $50,000 Motor Vehicle Surety Bond, also called a dealer bond. Don’t forget to sign your bond!
  • And, of course, you’ll need to provide proof that you completed this course.
  • You will also need a copy of your lease or proof of property ownership, including the notarized statement from the property owner if you are subleasing.
  • And you’ll be asked to submit business photos clearly showing the business structure and mounted business sign.
  • You’ll need to provide proof of identity including fingerprints for all owners and manager of your business.
  • If you plan to use an Assumed Name, or “Doing Business As” (DBA) name, which is a name different than your legal entity, then you’ll need to provide the Assumed Name Certificate.
    • Sole Proprietors and General partnerships can obtain the Assumed Name Certificate from the county clerk’s office in the county where the business is located. All other entity types will need to obtain an Assumed Name Certificate from the Texas Secretary of State.
    • You’ll also need to provide your Certificate of Filing from the Texas Secretary of State, although this does NOT apply to those applying as Sole Proprietors or General Partnerships.

Dealer Bond

So, let’s talk for a second about this dealer bond.  This is an item that trips up many applicants.  As you can see, it’s required for the license types listed here.  Importantly, it must be valid for two years from the last day of the month in which you submit your application.  Another common error is that the names on the bond don’t match the exact names of the applicant or business on the license.  The bond must be signed by both the bond company representative and the owner or representative for the business. The key to not getting held up on your dealer bond is to work with an insurance agent that’s familiar with dealer bonds and has experience with what DMV requires.

Additional Application Requirements

You are not done just yet. You’ll need to provide additional information such as:

  • Contact information to create your eTAG account
  • And contact information for the business and license contact
  • You’ll need to answer the premise and background history questions
  • You can also order your metal dealer’s plates
  • You’ll need to electronically or manually sign the application
  • And, of course, you’ll need to submit payment to complete the application


After you submit your application, TxDMV will email you to inform you who on your application needs to be fingerprinted. All individuals identified as requiring fingerprints must have their fingerprints live-scanned or submitted via mailed ink cards to the approved vendor, IdentoGO. Do not go to the vendor to get fingerprints taken until after you receive confirmation from TxDMV. The results of the fingerprinting will be sent directly to the TxDMV.

You can learn more about Fingerprinting Requirements in the TxDMV website.

TxDMV Comprehensive Resources

The agency has provided convenient and comprehensive user manuals and videos found here to walk you through the details of submitting an application. We recommend that you watch the appropriate videos prior to starting your application. That’s the fastest way to get your license and minimize errors. Most applicants can expect to receive their license in less than three weeks. Incomplete applications, premises issues, or a criminal background are common issues that can slow down the application process.

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Criminal History Offense and Action on License Notice

If you have a criminal history and are concerned about your eligibility for a license, you MAY request a criminal history evaluation before applying for a new dealer’s license. This can be done by setting up a user account through the TxDMV website and requesting a criminal history evaluation in the eLICENSING portal. (Note: This step is NOT a requirement but it might be helpful IF you have a criminal history).

By entering this site, you verify you’ve been notified of your rights outlined in the Texas Occupations Code Chapter 53, Subchapter D, as well as the current criminal history guidelines found in the Texas Administrative Code §211.3.