Updated on July 21, 2021
With over 3.1 million registered vehicles in the Old Dominion state, Virginia ranks in the top 10 for states with the most registered vehicles. If you’re planning a move to Virginia, be prepared to register your car with the DMV within the 30-day window, or you’ll face tickets, fines, and higher registration fees!
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Virginia also requires every registered vehicle to have license plates in both the front and back of the car. When getting tags for the first time, you can expect license plate fee between $10 to $50, depending on the weight of your vehicle. When renewing your registration with a personalized plate, expect to pay an additional $10 fee. Keep reading for more information on renewing registrations in Virginia.
Virginia Vehicle Registration Renewal Guide
How to Renew a Car Registration in Virginia
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) handles all vehicle-related issues, including getting a replacement vehicle registration, license plate sticker or decal, or replacement car tag. If your registration certificate has been lost or damaged so that it is not legible, you must immediately replace it.
If not, you risk paying a fine for driving without a registration.
The same holds true if your license plates or license plate sticker have been lost, damaged or stolen. Visit the DMV in person or online for a replacement car tag or decal.
If your certificate of registration, license plates or plate decal have been stolen, report the theft to your local law enforcement department. Reporting the theft can help prevent future identity fraud.
Whatever has happened, this guide tells you how to replace your vehicle registration, car tag, or license plate sticker.
How to Replace Your Vehicle Registration In Virginia
The state of Virginia allows residents the choice of renewing their vehicles each year, 2 years, or 3 years. To renew every 2 years your vehicle must:
- Not weigh more than 55,000 pounds.
- Is not registered through the IRP.
- Have at least 1 year left on your emissions inspection.
- You cannot have paid an uninsured motorist fee.
To renew your vehicle for 3 years you will need to meet the following requirements:
- Cannot renew by mail.
- Cannot be registered in a county that has regular emissions requirements.
- Vehicle cannot weigh more than 55,000 pounds.
- Cannot be registered through IRP.
- Cannot pay the uninsured motorist fee.
When you receive your renewal notice it will indicate whether or not you need to have a smog and emissions test before you will be able to renew your registration.
Most vehicles are required to have an emissions test every two years. The following counties require this biannual testing:
- Prince William
And the following cities require testing:
- Manassas Park
- Falls Church
To renew your registration in person you will need to bring the following:
- Proof of a passed emissions test.
- Renewal notice or your current registration.
- Driver’s license.
- Proof of car insurance.
- Renewal fee
You can use the DMV online portal, known as MyDMV, to replace your registration card. First, create or sign in to your MyDMV account, or continue without an account by using the title number and the last four digits of the vehicle’s identification number (VIN).
Next, make sure that your address is correct. If it is incorrect, use the portal to change your address before printing your replacement car registration. Your registration is not valid with an incorrect address. Follow the prompts and you will then be able to print your replacement registration card.
There is no charge for processing your replacement vehicle registration using your MyDMV account.
You can also obtain a replacement vehicle registration by visiting your local DMV customer service center or a mobile office. Fill out the appropriate forms, pay the fee and you will receive your replacement registration.
Replacing Your Car Tag In Virginia
If your license plate has been lost or damaged so that it is no longer readable, you must get a replacement license plate immediately. If your plates were stolen, the theft should be reported to the police in order to prevent any further identity fraud. You must apply for replacement plates from the VA DMV immediately.
You can also visit any DMV customer service center or mobile office to get a replacement car tag or license plate sticker (decal). Fill out a Vehicle Registration form (Form VSA-14), including personal, vehicle and insurance information. Once you pay the fee, you will receive your replacement registration.
Please note, all previous license plates should be surrendered to the VA DMV.
How to Replace Your License Plate Sticker
If your license plate sticker or decal is lost or no longer readable, have it replaced as soon as possible to avoid being pulled over by the police.
Stop in any Virginia DMV customer service office or mobile office and fill out the Vehicle Registration form (Form VSA-14). Check the box that says, “Decals” to receive replacement decals only. Using your current registration information, you will be issued a new decal.
Registration Replacement Fees In Virginia
The fee for a replacement registration card is $2 if you apply in person or through the mail. However, replacement registration cards are free if you use your MyDMV account online.
The fee for replacement license plates is $10.
The fee for replacement license plate stickers is $1.
In Virginia, as in all states, you must have a valid and legible registration card, license plates, and a license plate sticker to drive on the roads. If yours are damaged, lost, or stolen you must replace them as soon as possible.
It is illegal to drive without proper documentation of registration and can result in a steep fine.