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Texas Residency Requirements

Prior to May 2007, the holders of certain TABC permits were required to be legal residents of Texas for one year prior to application for permit. This requirement is no longer in place.

Currently, per TABC Administrative Rule 33.10, an individual who applies for a license or permit shall, at the time of filing the application, be a United States citizen or legally authorized to work in the United States.

The commission will not issue a permit or license to a person that will cause the person to be in violation of the person's immigration status and/or result in them being illegally in the United States.

No permit shall be issued to a corporation, partnership, firm, association, or other legal entity, other than an individual, unless the entity is formed by filing a certificate of formation or registered to transact business in this state. This requirement does not apply to:

  1. An entity holding a brewer's permit, and other licenses and permits as are necessary to the operation of the brewer's permit;
  2. A holder of an agent's, industrial or carrier's permit; or
  3. A foreign corporation that was engaged in the legal alcoholic beverages business in this State under charter or permit prior to August 24, 1935.

If an applicant has not lived in Texas for the previous 12 months, they are required to provide to TABC a certified copy of their criminal background check from the state police from any state where they lived in the previous five years.

Southern Wine and Spirits Lawsuit

On June 27, 2006, Southern Wine and Spirits applied for a Texas wholesaler’s permit, a Texas general distributor’s license, and a Texas importer’s license. On August 31, 2006, they were sent a letter by TABC denying their applications because they are not Texas residents. September 11, 2006, they filed suit.

May 29, 2007, the US District Court ruled that Texas residency and Texas citizenship requirements are a violation of the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution and enjoined us from using it as a licensing requirement. We may still insist on US citizenship, including lawful residency, and that the corporations are authorized to do business in Texas. This means you hold a Certificate of Authority from the Texas Secretary of State.

Since May 29, 2007, TABC has been accepting permit applications from applicants who do not meet the Texas residency requirement.