Frequently Asked Questions

Are there times I won’t be allowed to renew registration?
Yes. VA car registration renewals may be held up or denied if the driver has delinquent local personal property taxes, parking citations, toll violation or other pending fees. In this case, the VA DMV will notify the driver by mail that they must pay these fees before the driver can renew the car registration decal.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Virginia

Can somebody else renew my registration for me?
Yes, as long as the person who is registering has the driver s required information and is registering either online or through mail. To purchase a car renewal registration in person at a DMV Select office or CSC office, drivers must appear themselves.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Virginia

Do boats need to be registered?
Motorized boats must be registered in Virginia, and each registration is valid for a period of three years. You can register your boat either in person or by mail. To register by mail, you will need to submit the appropriate application, along with proof of ownership to the address below:

VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Boat Section 4010, West Broad Street PO Box 11528 Richmond, VA 23230

For more information: How to Register a Boat or Water Craft in Virginia

Do I need to file a police report if my registration was lost or stolen?
It is not mandatory that drivers in Virginia file a police report in the event of a stolen car registration, but it is highly recommended. A valid police report citing a stolen car registration may help drivers avoid the duplicate car registration fee at the local DMV office. Filing a police report can also alleviate any future attempts at identity theft due to the stolen car registration.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Virginia

Do I need to return my license plate if I move out of the state?
If you are moving to new state, you are required to surrender your license plates at your earliest convenience. The state of Virginia makes it mandatory to complete this process prior to your move. You will need to turn in your license plates at a local DMV customer service center. If your vehicle registration is still valid for another six months or more, you may be eligible to receive a partial refund.

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Virginia

Do I need to turn in my damaged registration?
Yes, if the original Virginia car registration is damaged the driver should bring it to the DMV office when applying for a replacement. From there, the DMV office can take the damaged copy and replace it with a duplicate car registration. Make sure to have a valid driver s license and fee payment when applying in person.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Virginia

Does a motorized scooter need to be registered?
Yes, the state of Virginia requires motorized scooters to have DMV car registration. However, you will not be required to have it insured nor have it undergo safety inspection. Insurance for a motorized scooter is not mandatory, nonetheless, it is highly recommended that you look into such options for safety reasons.

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Virginia

Does my vehicle qualify for a smog inspection?
The state of Virginia requires most vehicles to undergo and pass a safety inspection test and an emissions control test. Proof of safety inspection and emissions testing may be required when registering your new vehicle. Vehicles registered in the following localities must pass emissions inspection:

  • Arlington County
  • Fairfax County
  • Prince William County
  • Stafford County
  • Loudoun County
  • City of Alexandria
  • City of Falls Church
  • City of Manassas
  • City of Manassas Park
  • City of Fairfax

You must have your vehicle inspected at a qualified and certified emissions station. Once it has passed the appropriate testing, you will not need to undergo further testing for two years.

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Virginia

How can I renew my vehicle registration?
In Virginia, drivers can renew expired car registration documents by internet, mail, or in person at DMV Select locations or at a Customer Service Center (CSC).

Internet

Online car registration renewal in Virginia can be completed by visiting the Virginia DMV online registration renewal page. Drivers will need the following to renew online:

  • Car registration renewal notice
  • Car registration card (if no car registration renewal notice)
  • Renewal fee payment by credit card, debit card or checking account

Drivers who register online also receive discounts based on the amount of years they are registering the vehicle for.

Mail

To renew car registrations in Virginia by mail, drivers must follow these steps:

  • Check the car registration renewal notice to make sure the mailing address is correct.
  • Complete the car registration renewal form.
  • Enclose registration renewal fee payment and renewal form in an envelope and mail to the Virginia DMV at:

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles

Attn: Renewal Center

P.O. Box 27412

Richmond, VA 23269-0001

Drivers who register by mail also avoid the $5 additional fee charged when registering in person at a CSC office (fees may vary).

DMV Select

Drivers looking to renew car registration in Virginia through the DMV Select offices can do so by visiting one of the 57 DMV Select offices in Virginia. Check the Virginia DMV Office search page for more information on DMV Select locations.

Drivers who register through a DMV Select office also avoid the $5 additional fee charged when registering in person at a CSC office (fees may vary).

CSC

Virginia drivers who cannot make it to a DMV Select location also have the option of renewing car registrations at one of the Virginia DMV full-service Customer Service Centers. Visit the VA DMV office location search page for more information on CSC locations in Virginia. Drivers renewing at CSC locations are subject to an additional $5 fee per transaction (fees may vary).

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Virginia

How can I transfer my registration to another state?
If you would like to transfer your vehicle registration to a new state you are moving to, then you will be required to get in touch with the DMV at your new location. Since every state DMV has its own set of rules and regulations, find out about registration requirements at yours. Be ready to pay any necessary fees, as well as present any documentation that is asked of you.

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Virginia

How do I apply for a disabled person parking placard or plates?
The state of Virginia offers a number of disabled placards and plates such as temporary, permanent and institutional. If you would like to apply for a disabled parking placard or license plate, fill out a Disabled Parking Plates or Placard Application.

To get a VA handicap parking placard or license plate, present proof of your disability. This proof can be documentation obtained from your physician, their assistant, a podiatrist, a nurse or chiropractor. However, if you are requesting a license plate that has the International Symbol of Access and you already have a permanent placard, or you are have a disabled parking license plate and are requesting a permanent placard, then documentation from your physician will not be required.

You can submit your application in person at a DMV center or by mail to the address below:

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles PO Box 85815 Richmond, VA 23285-5815

For more information: Information for Disabled Drivers in Virginia

How do I file a police report if my car registration was stolen?
In the event of a stolen car registration, the driver of the vehicle should report immediately to a local police station and explain the situation to a police officer. After a police report is filed, bring the police report to the DMV office when applying for a replacement and present it to the DMV official to expedite the replacement process.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Virginia

How do I obtain a duplicate car registration?
To replace lost or stolen car registration card or license plate sticker in Virginia, drivers should apply either online or in person.

In Person

VA duplicate car registrations and license stickers can be purchased in person by submitting a Vehicle Registration Application to a local VA DMV office and paying the applicable fees. When applying in person, drivers will receive the duplicate car registration at the DMV office the same day. Applications for replacement license plate stickers must be submitted in person.

Online

Lost, damaged or stolen car registration cards or license plate stickers can be replaced online through the Virginia driver s MyDMV account on the VA DMV website. After logging into the website, drivers can choose to either print out a new car registration card or have a VA duplicate car registration card sent by mail. Duplicate car registrations arriving by mail can take up to 15 days to arrive. Applicable fees may apply.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Virginia

How do I obtain car registration?
In order to get car registration, the state of Virginia requires its residents to visit a customer service center or a DMV Select office to complete the process. In addition to registering your vehicle, your car will also need to pass an emissions inspection and an annual safety inspection. When registering your vehicle, you will need to bring the proper documentation, as well as payment for any applicable fees and fill out an Application for Registration.

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Virginia

If I do not renew on time, will there be an additional fee?
Yes. Virginia motor vehicle laws add a $10 late fee to renew expired decals (fees may vary).

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Virginia

Is there a different process I must follow if I lost personalized plates?
Drivers with personalized license plates that have been lost or stolen should follow the same process of applying for a duplicate car registration. On the Vehicle Registration Application, there is a checkbox for drivers who need a replacement license plate. From there, submit the application to the local DMV office and pay the applicable fee. Fees for replacing personalized plates vary.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Virginia

Should I carry the registration on me or in the car?
It is highly recommended that you carry your Virginia car registration inside your vehicle, preferably in the glove compartment. Should a police officer pull you over for any reason, you will have this document readily available. It may also be a good idea to keep a separate copy in a safe location at home.

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Virginia

What are the most common reasons why I would need to replace my registration?
There are a couple of reasons why a driver would have to request a duplicate car registration:

  • The original car registration, license plate or license plate sticker was lost
  • The original car registration, license plate or license plate sticker was stolen
  • The original car registration, license plate or license plate sticker has been damaged to the point of being illegible

In the event of any of the above situations, drivers should fill out a Vehicle Registration Application and submit it to the local DMV office.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Virginia

What are the required fees for my vehicle registration?
The vehicle registration fees depend on the size and weight of your car, among other factors. Common fees include:

  • Passenger vehicle 4,000 pounds or less: $40.75
  • Passenger vehicle 4,001 pounds to 6,500 pounds: $45.75
  • Motorcycle: $28.75

For a complete list of fees, take a look at the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles DMV Fees pamphlet.

Keep in mind that you will need to present payment for any necessary fees at the time of your vehicle registration. Failure to do so will hinder the process of getting registration for your new vehicle.

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Virginia

What are the required fees to get replacement registration?
In Virginia, the duplicate car registration card fee is $2. The fee for a replacement license plate sticker is $1. Duplicate car registration card and sticker fees may vary.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Virginia

What are the required fees to renew my registration?
The standard VA car registration renewal fee for passenger vehicles is $40.75, though fees may vary. Depending on which city the vehicle is located though, drivers may also have to pay additional fees for emission inspections. Localities participating in the VA DMV s Local Vehicle Registration Program may also charge drivers of vehicles garaged in the city additional local registration fees. For more details on VA car registration renewal fees, check the VA DMV fee schedule.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Virginia

What documents do I need to present to get a replacement car registration?
To apply for a VA duplicate car registration, drivers should present the following documents:

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Virginia

What documents do I need to present to get new registration?
Before the Virginia DMV provides you with proof of vehicle registration, you must present a few documents to confirm that you are the owner of the vehicle:

  • Proof of Virginia vehicle insurance
  • Proof of car title
  • Proof of emissions inspection
  • Proof of safety inspection
  • A completed Application for Registration

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Virginia

What documents do I need to present to renew my car registration?
Completing a VA car registration renewal in person requires drivers to present a few documents. Make sure to have the following before visiting a DMV Select or DMV CSC office:

  • Car registration renewal notice (or current vehicle registration certificate).
  • Valid driver s license
  • Proof of car insurance (if necessary)
  • Proof that vehicle has passed emissions test (if necessary).
  • Renewal fee payment by cash, check or money order (payable to VA DMV), debit card or major credit card.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Virginia

What should I do if I have not received my registration tags or stickers?
Most registrants receive renewal documentation within five days of ordering. In the event that a VA car renewal registration tag or sticker has not arrived within 15 days of ordering, contact the Virginia DMV using one of the following methods:

  • Telephone: 804-497-7100 (TTY: 1-800-272-9268)

o Hours: Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET

o Saturday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET

  • Mail:

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles

P.O. Box 27412

Richmond, VA 23269

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Virginia

When does my car registration expire?
Virginia car registrations expire on the date provided on the registration certificate. This date depends on when the vehicle registration was acquired and how many years the registration is for. Virginia has three options for car registration: one year, two-year and three-year. However, there are restrictions on multi-year registrations:

  • Two-year registrations are not available to drivers who:

o Are registering a vehicle that weighs 55,000 pounds or more

o Are registering a vehicle that is part of the International Registration Plan

o Have paid an uninsured motor vehicle fee

o Live in an emissions area and have a year or less left on the emissions inspection

  • Three-year registrations are not available to drivers who:

o Are registering the vehicle for the first time

o Are renewing by mail

o Have the vehicle garaged in one of the following cities: Arlington, Fairfax City, Loudon, Prince William, Stafford, Alexandria, Fairfax County, Falls Church, Manassas or Manassas Park. This is because these localities require emissions inspections every other year.

o Are registering a vehicle that weigh 55,000 pounds or more

o Are registering a vehicle that is part of the International Registration Plan

o Have paid an uninsured motor vehicle fee

As a courtesy, the Virginia DMV sends out car registration renewal notices three months before the car registration expiration date.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Virginia

Where can I find a local tax county collector office?
To purchase a VA duplicate car registration, drivers should visit the local VA DMV office. To find the closest VA DMV office location, check the VA DMV office location search page. Make sure to call the office before arriving to confirm the necessary documents to receive the duplicate car registration. To reach the Virginia DMV by phone, call 804-497-7100 (TTY: 1-800-272-9268).

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Virginia

Will I need to fill out an application to replace my car registration?
Yes, all drivers purchasing a replacement car registration in Virginia must fill out a Vehicle Registration Application to receive a duplicate car registration. When filling out the application, make sure to check the applicable box at the top labeled either “Reissue (Decals Only)” or “Reissue (Plates & Decals).” Other information that must be provided on the application includes:

  • Vehicle title number
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Current Plate Number
  • Expiration Date
  • Vehicle Year
  • Vehicle Make
  • Vehicle Model

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Virginia

Will I receive a renewal registration notice in the mail?
Yes, if you choose to. After the initial registration of a vehicle in Virginia, the VA DMV will send out alerts whenever a driver s car registration renewal date is approaching. Virginia drivers can opt to receive these alerts by mail with a paper registration renewal notice. Drivers can also opt out of the mail notices and instead receive alerts by email, phone or text message. In most cases Virginia drivers will receive these non-postal notifications, unless one of the following is true:

  • The vehicle s decal expires within three months, in which case the VA DMV has already mailed out the paper renewal notice
  • The vehicle s decal cannot be renewed because the DMV requires the driver to resolve issues holding up the renewal, in which case the VA DMV will mail out information concerning actions the driver must take
  • The vehicle is not being utilized for personal use
  • The vehicle is leased

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Virginia

Will my registration expire on my birthday or birth month?
Drivers should check their car registration documentation to find out the expiration date. In addition, the VA DMV sends out as a courtesy car registration renewal notices up to three months before the registration expires.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Virginia