How to Renew Your Car Registration in Virginia
Virginia car registration renewal is a process that you must complete before your vehicle’s license plates expire. Driving with expired tags is unlawful and often results in traffic citations and penalty fees if you are stopped by a police officer. As a reminder to apply for your DMV registration renewal, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will send you a reminder notice by mail, email or text messaging before your license plates are due to expire. Your reminder card will also tell you whether you need to settle any unpaid parking tickets or toll violations prior to applying for the renewal.
Depending on your situation, you may need to renew your vehicle’s registration credentials once per year, or may be able to save money by renewing your license plates every two to three years. However, these multi-year tag renewal discounts are not available to all motorists. To learn more about these requirements and the steps you must take to renew your registration credentials, review the information below.
Virginia Tag Renewal Application Requirements
To apply for a license plate renewal in VA, your vehicle must meet several important requirements. For instance, your vehicle may need to pass an annual safety inspection if you live in a county where it is required. Secondly, you must settle any delinquent traffic tickets or personal property taxes before you may renew your license plates. You must also maintain an active insurance policy on your motor vehicle. Otherwise, you will need to pay an uninsured motor vehicle fee when you do renew your registration credentials.
Once you settle any unpaid fees and meet any other registration requirements, you may renew your vehicle’s license plates in person, by mail or online. If you wish to check vehicle registration status online after renewing, replacing or purchasing new license plates, you may login to the state’s DMV portal by providing your license plate or title number and the last four digits of your vehicle’s identification number (VIN). Download our free car registration guide to find out everything you need to know to renew your car registration.
How to Apply for DMV Car Registration Renewal in Virginia
Typically, you can renew registration online, in person or by mail, depending on your preferred application method. Online and mail-in renewals are the quickest and most cost-effective methods, but you can choose to pay the additional fee if you prefer to apply in person. Learn more about each of these application methods in the sections below.
How to Renew Online
To perform your Virginia car reg check and renewal online on the Virginia DMV’s website, you must be able to provide several pieces of information from your vehicle’s current registration card or the renewal notice you received from the department. Additionally, your address on file must be current to ensure that you receive the registration. If you have recently changed your address, you will need to change your address online before renewing your registration credentials.
If you prefer to perform your VA car registration check and renewal in person, you must visit a local customer service center or a DMV Select office to submit your application materials and pay the registration fee. When you renew your registration materials in person at a customer service center, however, you must pay an additional convenience fee.
To avoid paying this additional auto registration renewal fee, you may visit a DMV Select office or use one of the other renewal methods available.
If you choose to apply for your Virginia DMV auto registration renewal by mail, you must return your reminder card along with your payment for the applicable fee to the address provided on the form. After applying by mail, you will receive your new credentials within 15 days. If your license plates are due to expire within the next few days, however, it may be best to renew your registration documents using a quicker application method. Download our free guide for detailed instructions on each application method.