BECOMING LEGAL

DRIVER’S LICENSE

To obtain a valid Texas driver’s license, which is legally required after 30 days of residence, an out-of-state newcomer must: (1) apply for a license at one of many Department of Public Safety testing stations in the Dallas area; (2) produce a certified copy of his or her birth certificate or a valid out-of-state driver’s license; (3) pass a written examination; (4) pass a driving skill test if the out-of-state license has expired; (5) undergo an eye test to determine if corrective lenses are needed; (6) be 18 or older. Persons 16 or 17 years of age may be licensed only if they have completed a certified driver-education program. Texas is one of several states that does not require you to surrender your old driver’s license.

VEHICLE REGISTRATION

Out-of-state vehicles may be registered for Texas license plates at various locations in Dallas County. Substations of the county tax assessor’s office, which handles vehicle registrations, are located on all four sides of the county.

To establish Texas residency: (1) have your vehicle’s serial number verified through an inspection at a service station or car dealership; (2) surrender your out-of-state title; (3) apply for registration within 30 days of moving here; (4) pay a $15 new residents’ fee, plus a $3 title fee and the cost of your license plates (cost based on the weight of the vehicle), which are required on both the front and the rear of the car. Subsequent re-registration may be handled by mail. Call 749-8621 for further information.



AUTO INSPECTION



All vehicles registered in Texas must be inspected for safety every 12 months. The fee for an inspection sticker, which is applied to the lower left-hand corner of the windshield and shows the number of the month in which the inspection was performed, is $5 plus the cost of any repairs necessary to bring the vehicle up to established safety standards. Inspection stations are located throughout the Dallas area at various service stations, dealerships, garages and most major department store auto-service areas.



VOTER REGISTRATION

Becoming a qualified voter in Texas is a simple process. You must be (1) an American citizen; and (2) 18 years of age or older. Although it is no longer necessary to be a resident of the city or of the state for at least 30 days, you must have a permanent residential address within Dallas County. Voter registration can usually be done through the mail simply by filling out a form and returning it at least 30 days before an election to Election Department, Records Building, Dallas, TX 75202.

You may register at any time during the year. To begin the process, call the voter registration office at 749-8871.



EXEMPTION



Every homeowner living within the Dallas Independent School District has the right to claim an exemption of $5,000 per year of the total assessed value of his house. This exemption applies to school taxes. More city and school tax exemptions are also available.

To qualify, you must have title to the property on January 1 of the tax year. An affidavit claiming the homestead exemption must be filed with the Dallas County Appraisal District. To receive an affidavit or to obtain more information, call 826-9360.



PET CARE

The City of Dallas and most surrounding suburbs have leash laws that prohibit dogs from running loose. Dogs that are not kept indoors, on leashes or in fenced enclosures may be impounded.

Annual rabies vaccinations are required for both dogs and cats, but city licenses are required only for dogs. If the animal has been spayed or neutered, the fee is $3 per year; otherwise, it is $8.

Certain exotic pets are prohibited in various municipalities. For more information on City of Dallas ordinances, call the city health department’s Animal Control Center at 388-0568. In suburban cities, check with the local city hall.

Emergency veterinary services are available during odd hours at five emergency clinics in the Dallas area: Emergency Animal Clinic, 13031 Coit Road, 661-2112; Animal Medical and Surgical Hospital, 600 W. Airport Freeway, Irving, 445-1520; Belt Line East Animal Hospital, 1214 Belt Line Road, Sunnyvale, 226-0265; South Oak Cliff Animal Hospital, 5512 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway, 372-4646 or 371-8383; Carrollton Animal Emergency, 1103 Belt Line Road, Carrollton, 446-0262.

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