Registering a vintage car in Virginia and applying for custom car registration documents are procedures that must be completed by owners of these special types of motor vehicles. Applicants can obtain a registration for custom cars or an antique vehicle registration and plates through the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) only if they meet the corresponding vehicle requirements.

Definition of a Custom or Antique Vehicle in Virginia

Prior to applying for Virginia antique car registration documents and plates or custom auto registration, car owners must ensure that their vehicle meets the corresponding vehicle type definition under current state law. For instance, registering a custom car in VA is a procedure that can be completed by owners of reconstructed and specially constructed vehicles.

Only cars that were modified from their original construction by using new or used components are classified as rebuilt vehicles. To be termed as homemade cars and qualify for custom car registrations, on the other hand, vehicles must not have been designed to resemble other existing types, makes and models of vehicles.

Replica vehicles constructed to resemble a distinctive vehicle produced by licensed manufactures can also be registered as custom-built cars.

Under the current VA antique license plates rules, vehicles with an antique car age of 26 years or more can be registered as historic vehicles. Note that car owners who obtain a historic vehicle registration and antique tags can only use their vehicles for participation in educational events such as tours, exhibits and car parades.

Also, vehicles registered as antique cars can only be driven to and from testing and repair stations and during the course of the events outlined above. The state DMV registers historic vehicles with vintage license plates that were manufactured in the same year as the vehicle.

Unlike standard antique vehicle tags, these plates must be delivered to the department by the applicant and they authorize car owners to use their vehicles for everyday general transportation.

If you register your vehicle with permanent vintage auto tags, you will be subject to the same restrictions as those imposed by standard antique plates and you will not be required to renew them on a regular basis.

Steps in the Virginia Registration Process

While the Virginia custom car registration procedure includes a different set of steps than those that apply to the process of registering a vintage vehicle, applicants will still be required to submit several documents, forms and fee payments.

For example, to successfully register custom car projects, vehicle owners will generally be required to complete the following steps:

  • Apply for a new Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) by submitting the Application for Assigned VIN (Form VSA 22) and proof of ownership for the parts used in the vehicle construction, such as car titles and bills of sale.
  • Submit the vehicle to an inspection conducted by the DMV Law Enforcement Services.
  • Take several pictures of the custom-built vehicle from different angles.
  • Submit the VIN certification along with a complete Application for Title and Registration (Form VSA 17A), proof of state address, the ownership evidence and a statement outlining the vehicle construction process.
  • Pay the applicable titling and registration fees.

Note: The complete application packet for a registration for custom vehicles can be submitted to the DMV Vehicle Branding Work Center in Richmond by mail or in person.

Registering a historic vehicle with vintage or antique license plates in VA, on the other hand, can be finalized by submitting the Antique Vehicle Applicant Certification (Form VSA 10B), the Vehicle Registration Application (Form VSA 14) and the fee payment.

Applicants for historic vehicle registrations will be required to certify that they own another regular vehicle for general transportation.

Fees to Register a Custom or Antique Vehicle in Virginia

The state DMV will issue antique or custom vehicle registrations in Virginia only after confirming the successful payment of all applicable fees. The total payable amount will differ based on whether you are ordering antique plates or registering a custom vehicle.

For example, the process of applying for custom auto registrations will include a $125 VIN inspection fee, a $5 VIN plate fee and a titling fee of $10. The registration fee will vary based on the vehicle type and weight. Virginia antique car tags, on the other hand, are available at a one-time registration fee of $50.

However, if you order standard vintage vehicle tags, you will be required to pay the registration renewal fee on a regular basis.

Note: Contact a nearby DMV location to learn more about the specific registration fees and the applicable vehicle taxes in Virginia.

Last updated on Monday, March 9 2020.