Applying 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.
If you do not comply with this law, you may receive a traffic ticket, which could negatively impact your driving record. Download our guide to learn more about the requirements you must meet before you can obtain your car registration in Virginia.
Where can I apply for a Virginia car registration near me?
Once you are ready to pay your vehicle registration fees and submit your application, you must visit a customer service center, DMV select office or mobile office to apply in person.
To locate a DMV office in your area, you can perform a search directly on the department’s website.
During your office visit, you must pay car registration fees and taxes, submit a completed application and present proof of a valid automobile insurance policy. If you cannot present proof of insurance for your newly acquired automobile, you must pay an uninsured motor vehicle fee in addition to your standard application fees.
Many motorists opt to register and title their vehicle at the same time. In this case, drivers must present additional documents to prove ownership. This includes a reassigned certificate of title or manufacturer’s certificate of origin.
Getting a Temporary Virginia Car Registration Permit
Before obtaining permanent DMV auto registration documents, you may purchase a standard or prospective purchaser’s trip permit, as these permits allow you to legally operate the automobile before registering it in the state.
To purchase a temporary permit for your recently purchased vehicle, you must visit a DMV customer service center or submit your application online.
To purchase a permit online, however, you must be able to pay the application fee with a bank account or an accepted form of credit. Download our free guide for more information about the entire car registration process.