Virginia car registration services are conducted by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). New car registration applicants will receive two license plates, decals that display the tag's expiration date and a registration card that must be kept inside the vehicle at all times. State residents wondering, "How do I register my car in Virginia?" can find all the answers they need by studying the following sections:
- Virginia vehicle registration information required.
- Where to register a car in Virginia for the first time.
- How to register a new car in Virginia.
- How to register a used car in Virginia.
- Temporary Virginia vehicle registration.
Virginia Vehicle Registration Information Required
For Virginia car registry, your vehicle must pass a safety inspection and display a valid inspection sticker issued by the Virginia Department of Environment Quality. If you need auto registration and live in the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William or Stafford, your car must also pass an emissions inspection. Residents seeking motor vehicle registration in the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas or Manassas Park are also required to have an emissions inspection in addition to the annual safety inspection.
Before getting car registration services at the DMV, make sure your vehicle meets the minimum auto insurance coverage for all vehicles registered in Virginia. Minimum Virginia car registration requirements are $25,000 for bodily injury or death or one person, $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more people and $20,000 for property damage. If you need to get car registration completed, but for some reason, you cannot obtain insurance, you must pay an uninsured motor vehicle fee. Although this fee does not provide insurance coverage, it permits you to register your vehicle and operate it for one year in Virginia. After one year of car registry, your vehicle will need to be re-registered with the state. A VA car registration renewal does not need to be carried out in-person can be performed online through a trusted third party provider.
Where to Register a Car in Virginia for the First Time
New car registration customers should go to a Virginia DMV Customer Service Center or a DMV Select office. Auto registration services are available at all DMV Select Offices, which are located in Virginia Beach, Lynchburg, Roanoke and Sterling. Virginia also offers DMV 2 Go, a handicapped-accessible mobile unit that is a full-service DMV office on wheels.
How to Register a New Car in Virginia
New residents wondering how to get car registration completed should note that any vehicle registered in Virginia must first hold a Virginia title. Before car registration, make sure your car has obtained a Virginia title within 30 days of moving into the state. Virginia auto registration can only happen after you have purchased car insurance that meets the state minimums as outlined above. Then, you must take your car for a safety inspection and find out if you must also have an emissions inspection before obtaining your registration. Note that Virginia also has window-tinting requirements outlined by the Virginia State Police. DMV car registration may be refused to drivers who own a car that exceeds the legal window tinting limits.
Bring new car registration documentation to the DMV. VA Car registration applicants must have a photo ID card, proof of your address, title documentation, your proof of insurance and proof of inspection when appearing at your DMV Customer Service Center or DMV Select office. You will not need to provide proof of an emissions test as the inspection station immediately updates your DMV record with the results. Car registry applicants must complete an "Application for Registration" (Form VSA 14) and pay the requested fee. New car registration fees are determined by the type of vehicle and its empty, or gross, weight and the type of license plate you purchase. Ask about the multi-year auto registration fee discount because it may be applicable and save you money over time. Though, if you prefer to renew your auto registration annually, the process can be simple as Virginia residents can apply for car registration renewal online using our trusted third-party source.
How to Register a Used Car in Virginia
The registration of vehicle process for new car purchases are usually handled by the dealership that is selling the car, but if you are buying a used car, you will need to register your car with the DMV yourself. All cars up for VA auto registration, new and used, must pass an annual safety inspection and in some locales, an emissions inspection. Take care of these and make sure you carry the minimum auto insurance levels required by the state of Virginia. Used car motor vehicle registration applicants will need to complete Form VSA 14, "Application for Registration" and pay the related fee at the nearest DMV office.
Temporary Virginia Vehicle Registration
If you need to get car registration temporarily to move an unregistered vehicle, and you cannot register it before driving it, you may apply for a temporary Trip Permit. This temporary type of car registration is only valid for three days and is only available for cars that are legally titled in Virginia. These temporary auto registration permits can be purchased online on the Virginia DMV's website if you have a credit card, debit card displaying the VISA or MasterCard logo or can enter bank and check account information to allow the DMV to make an electronic withdrawal of funds. Before obtaining temporary auto registration services, the vehicle must have insurance; if not, applicants must pay the Uninsured Motor Vehicle fee in addition to the Trip Permit fee.
DMV car registration information is available online, or call (804) 497-7100 to find out when a DMV 2 Go unit is scheduled to visit a location near you.