How to Apply for a Car Registration in Virginia

Applying for a new Virginia vehicle registration is one of the first steps you must take after purchasing, acquiring or inheriting a vehicle. Your application process will vary depending on how you acquired the vehicle.

If you purchased the vehicle from a dealership, for instance, the dealer can forward your registration and titling application directly to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In this case, you will likely receive the registration before you leave the lot.

If your dealer does not handle DMV registration applications, or if you purchased the vehicle from a private party, you must submit these application materials on your own. Thereafter, you must complete the steps to renew your registration every one to three years. To learn more about the steps you must take to register a newly acquired vehicle with the Virginia DMV, review the information below.

Virginia DMV Car Registration Requirements

To get new car registration and titling credentials for your recently acquired vehicle, you must first determine whether a dealership will be submitting the application materials on your behalf, or if you need to manually complete this process.

If you need to manually apply for new registration credentials, you must visit a local DMV office to submit your application materials in person. If a dealer will apply on your behalf, however, you will not need to visit a local DMV office to submit your application materials.

Before you can obtain vehicle registration records, you must purchase an insurance policy that meets your state’s minimum coverage requirements. After insuring the vehicle, you can purchase new license plates or transfer your old tags to the new automobile.

As part of the VA auto registration requirements, your vehicle must also pass a safety inspection once per year. After your vehicle passes the inspection, you must display a valid inspection sticker on its windshield as proof of compliance with this law.