Car Registration in Virginia: Vehicle Registration Guide

Those wanting to legally drive on the roads will need to process a Virginia car registration. This process doesn’t take long when prepared. The VA registration process is streamlined, letting you get in, get out, and on the roads in no time!

It’s your responsibility to get your vehicle registered for the road if bought through a private sale as many dealers submit documentation for you. Anyone driving in the state must register their vehicle else face the consequences (like a license suspension).

You may register and title your car in-person at a VA DMV.

The registration process includes a:

  • Title application or lease agreement
  • Identification and proof of residency
  • Insurance and vehicle inspection
  • Paying applicable fees and taxes

Those coming from out-of-state will need to get car insurance, complete emissions check, and transfer your vehicle’s title. All this must be completed within 30-days of residency.

Everyone else? Keep reading to learn what’s needed.

Virginia Car Registration: Step-by-Step

You will have to register your vehicle after its leased, purchased, inherited, or gifted. The registration is quick-and-easy when you have the necessary documents prepared. You will do the registration process in-person at your local DMV. There, you’ll provide documents and process fees.

What you’ll need to collect/bring:

  • VA driver’s license or state ID
  • Proof of vehicle ownership
  • The vehicle’s title
    • Notarized
    • Lien release (if applicable)
  • Completed forms
    • Registration or Title/Registration Application
    • Emissions Certificate
  • Payment method

Got all these ready? Take a trip to your DMV and complete the actions below.

Registering the Vehicle

Dealerships will automatically submit title documentation to Virginia’s DMV offices. You may choose to register and title the vehicle if the dealer lets you or if you’ve requested.

What’s next?

  1. Go to the DMV office
  2. Show your proof of ID
    1. License
    2. VA ID
  3. Provide the application:
    1. Option #1: Application for Registration (VSA 14)
    2. Option #2: Application for Certificate of Title and Registration (VSA 17A)
    3. Plus: Lien release if applicable
  4. Provide the Emissions Certificate
    1. Counties: Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford
    2. Cities: Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park
  5. Show proof of insurance
    1. Alternative: Pay $500 uninsured motorist fee (operable up to 1-year)
  6. Pay the registration fees
    1. Gross weight
    2. License plate type
    3. Length of registration

You may also need to pay applicable county taxes during this registration. Complete these steps and your vehicle is now registered in Virginia. Congrats!

You’ll receive a registration card upon completing the registration process. Your registration is good for 1 to 2 years (depending on your application). Call 804-497-7100 if you have questions regarding your VA car registration by talking with a representative.

Leased Vehicle Registration

A leased vehicle registration process is quick-and-easy — you will:

  1. Provide the leasing agreement
  2. Pay the registration fees

You may register a vehicle if your name is on the title using the same steps as detailed above. Else, you’ll need to get a power of attorney to finish the registration.

Virginia Vehicle Registration Fees and Taxes

Typical registration costs include:

  • Passenger – 4,000lbs or less: $40.75
  • Emissions Inspections: $2
  • Late Fee: $10
  • Original Title: $15

Refer to Virginia’s DMV fees chart to better understand your specifics.

Need a Registration Renewal?

The renewal process is similar to the initial registration with a few exceptions to which paperwork you’ll file, and fees paid. Use our VA Vehicle Registration Renewal Guide to learn what’s needed.