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Guide to the Virginia DMV

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The Virginia DMV can be difficult to understand, but this helpful online guide can give you the answers you need. Learn about Virginia vehicle registration, driver’s licenses and other important DMV transactions.

If you’re new to Virginia, or have recently purchased a car, you may need to understand the vehicle registration process.

New Auto Registration in Virginia

If you’ve just moved to Virginia, you are required to register your car within thirty days of establishing residency. Before you can register, you must get Virginia auto insurance and complete a safety inspection, if required.

In order to complete a new registration, you will need the following documents:

  • A completed Application for Registration (Form VSA 14)
  • Proof of your identity and address
  • Your inspection certificate, if required
  • Proof of Virginia insurance
  • Payment for your registration fees

Virginia Vehicle Inspection

Your vehicle doesn’t have to undergo an emissions inspection for vehicle registration if it was inspected in another qualified state within the past twelve months. All vehicles in Virginia except exempted vehicles must undergo annual safety inspections. Check with your county whether your vehicle qualifies for bi-annual emissions inspections.

Virginia Registration Renewal

You will need to renew your registration with the Virginia DMV before it expires. You will usually be notified that your term is coming to an end by mail with a renewal notice. You can renew your registration online or in person. If you require an emissions test, you will need to provide proof that it is done  before you renew your registration.

Getting Your Virginia Auto Title

When you purchase a car, you will receive a title, signed by the seller. To transfer your title to the state of Virginia, you should go to the DMV with:

Getting Your Virginia Driver’s License

When you move to Virginia, you will need to surrender your out-of-state license and obtain a Virginia State license within sixty days of establishing residency. Before you receive your license, you will have to submit a Driver’s License and Identification Card Application (Form DL 1P). You will also need to provide proof of your identity, plus the $32 licensure fee. Your written knowledge and driving tests will be waived if your out-of-state license is still valid.

Virginia Auto Insurance Requirements

Virginia requires drivers to have a way to pay for injuries or property damage resulting from a car accident. You can satisfy that financial responsibility by purchasing car insurance or paying the DMV to drive uninsured. If you choose to buy car insurance to satisfy this requirement, you will be obligated to meet the following liability insurance minimums:

  • $25,000 for injuries per person per accident
  • $50,000 for total injuries per accident
  • $20,000 for property damage per accident

You will also be required to match those minimums with uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage.