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Vehicle Emissions Inspection in Virginia

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In Virginia, a vehicle emissions test is required for many original registrations, as well as for annual registration renewals. Renewal notices are sent annually to vehicle owners, and indicate whether and by what date an emissions test must be completed.


A car, truck, motor home or RV (recreational vehicle) requires an emissions test when:

  1. It is a 1983 model or less (25 years older than the current calendar year).
  2. Diesel vehicle which carries passenger/property and is 1997 or newer.
  3. It is registered in the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford and in cities such as Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park.
  4. It runs on diesel fuel, and has a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating up to 8500 pounds.


Emission tests are valid for 90 days. A valid test is required to reinstate a suspended registration and to complete an original vehicle registration or registration renewal. Used car dealers are required to issue a valid emissions test for any vehicle they sell. Getting an emissions test is the buyer's responsibility when the vehicle is purchased from a private owner.


A vehicle is exempt from emissions testing when:

  1. It is a 1983 model or older.
  2. It is a new vehicle, or on its first registration provided the manufacturer's certificate of origin is attached.
  3. It is a hybrid vehicle.
  4. It is powered by clean fuel.
  5. It is a diesel vehicle.
  6. It is 25 years or older powered by gasoline.


Any Authorized Emissions Inspection Station licensed by the State can test your vehicle. Look for the official sign issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles to authorized testing stations. The test standards and maximum fees will be displayed at the stations.


For a two-year inspection it can cost up to $28. Vehicles that fail the first inspection are eligible for one free retest at the same station within the next 14 days of the first inspection.


If your vehicle fails the emissions test, you must have the vehicle repaired, after which it must pass the after repairs emissions test.
If your vehicle is unable to meet the emissions standard following the necessary repair work and the amount exceeds $695 you may be able to obtain a waiver. For qualifying for a waiver the repair work should have been carried out at a DEQ certified repair center and must have been carried out by a DEQ certified technician.
Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles Emission Test Facility to request a waiver.


  • In certain cases, the Department of Motor Vehicles offers a one-time extension for vehicles that are included in the Northern Virginia program area for a nominal fee. Call the DMV at (866) 368-5463 or 1-800-435-5137 or visit a branch office for more information.
  • See also Vehicle History Reports.
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Submitted by WalCyberMart on 8th Jan 2015

How do I renew my car

How do I renew my car registration without the VA emission test ? My car is in PA with one of my child who is going to school up there. I don't want her to drive the car down to VA just to get the emission test done. Please advise. Thank you.

Submitted by irisheyes on 2nd Apr 2016

register the car in PA and

register the car in PA and follow their rules. or follow VA rules.

Submitted by powerobject on 28th Sep 2014

If my registration expired

If my registration expired while I'm traveling and it needs an emissions test too, can I have it emissions-tested outside VA and renew registration online?

Submitted by MDickson (not verified) on 16th May 2013

We had our vehicles in

We had our vehicles in February tested to renew our vehicle registration for the next 2 years. However the stickers date on the windshield for the yearly emission test is not on the same date which is April and May, because we had been out of the country. The garage that performed the tests this year when I asked them why they did not give me the new stickers to put on the windshield, said that I will have a new emission test done for that? Are they correct?

Submitted by Anonymous on 25th Mar 2011

I have an Toyota 2009 Hybrid.

I have an Toyota 2009 Hybrid. Title number 93907486

My registration is up for renewable and on the renewal form, it says I needed an emissions inspection. So I took the hybrid to an inspection station, #2079. The station took my car hyrid into his garage and then gave me a printout saying my emissions inspection had passed. However, when I look at the boxes on the printed form, they display N/A in the in what was emitted. When I get home to pay the registration fee, on-line, I am seeing on your website that hybrids do not need emission inspections. This does not all add up.

Why does the VA renewal notice say I need an emissions inspections but your VA website say I do not?

If I took the car in for inspection, why did the inspector not tell me the inspection is not required?

Submitted by Anonymous on 9th Mar 2011

Hi DMV officer, I got my

Hi DMV officer,

I got my vehicle registration renew notice. I should do car inspection and emissions test. However, my got accident on Feb.28.11. The car not drivable.

I don't know how do I do inspection and emissions test in this case?

How do I postpone my due date?

Thank you!

Submitted by irisheyes on 2nd Apr 2016

Get the emission test done

Get the emission test done when your car is again drivable. The police won't ticket you if you're not driving the car.