Updated on July 20, 2021
West Virginia is one of the 31 states to require its residents to have license plates in both the front and rear of vehicles unless it’s a motorcycle or trailer. When renewing your registration in the Mountain State, keep in mind you have to pay an additional $15 for a personalized plates and $30 for a West Virginia Wildlife plate!
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If it’s the first time you register a vehicle in West Virginia, you have 30 days to get your tags and must complete an inspection within 10 days of titling the vehicle. If you’re caught without your West Virginia registration, you can be charged with a misdemeanor offense and face $500 in fines. If you’re caught a second time, it’s an additional $500 of fines and up to six months in jail. Avoid the hassle and keep up with your West Virginia registration! Keep reading for more registration information below.
West Virginia Vehicle Registration Renewal Guide
How to Renew Your Car Registration in West Virginia
Approximately 30 days before your registration is set to expire, you will receive a renewal notice from the West Virginia DMV. The notice will contain important information about the renewal including the date and the fee that you will need to pay.
The state of West Virginia requires residents to have their vehicles inspected for safety every year.
You do not have to provide any paperwork that your vehicle has been inspected, but you will need to have a valid inspection sticker on your vehicle at all times.
Emissions tests are not required in the state.
You can renew your vehicle registration either in person or through the mail. In order to renew your registration through the mail you will need to fill out your renewal notice form and include a personal property tax receipt, insurance information, and the expiring registration card if you do not have your renewal notice. You will also need to include a money order or check to cover the payment for your renewal fees.
To renew in person you will need to go to your local DMV and bring the following:
- Registration renewal notice
Replacing a Lost Vehicle Registration in West Virginia
Have you recently lost your West Virginia car registration tags?
If your plates are missing or they’ve been stolen, the West Virginia DMV will allow you to replace them. As you may know, it is against West Virginia traffic law to operate a vehicle without update license plates or stickers.
Therefore, you should visit your local DMV for replacement vehicle registration as soon as possible. Below are the vehicle guidelines in West Virginia on how to replace your vehicle registration. If you have any further questions, feel free to call the main office at (304) 558-3900.
Registration Replacement vs. Registration Renewal
The process for replacing your West Virginia license tags or stickers is different from renewing these items. Knowing the difference can save you time and money during the process. Simply put, you will renew your tags on or before the expiration date noted on your documentation.
Specific circumstances, however, such as theft or loss may cause you to have to replace your license and sticker before the expiration date. In the state of West Virginia, you may be able to replace and renew your tags at the same time if you fall within the expiration timeline.
What if Your License Plate or License Plate Sticker Are Stolen?
The state of West Virginia requires you to contact the state police department if you think that our license plate or sticker has been stolen.
Whether you call the police department or show up in person to a police station, you will need to provide the number on your license plate and other details of the event that you are aware of.
By reporting the theft, you play a role in preventing further criminal activity including fraud. Therefore, you should not delay reporting the incident. In the state of West Virginia, you may not use the same number on the license plate once you report it as stolen. The DMV office will issue a brand new plate and number for your vehicle.
Instructions for a Replacement Car Tag
If you are replacing your West Virginia plates or stickers, you must appear in person at a local DMV office.
The state of West Virginia does not allow license plate or license plate stickers to be replaced online. You can only use the online method if you are duplicating your current tags.
When you arrive at the DMV center, you will need to go through the following steps:
Fill out a Request for a replacement plate or decal
Provide documentation for your vehicle’s current insurance information
Provide proof of your identification. Options include a drivers license or a personalized identification card.
Pay the replacement vehicle registration fee. If the replacement is a plate, you will pay $10. If the replacement is a drivers license sticker, you will pay $10.50.
Replacing a Damaged License Plate
If your license plate is damaged, you can always get a duplicate license plate. West Virginia DMV allows you to get a duplicate plate or sticker online or in person. If you are renewing your tags, a duplicate plate will be given to you free of charge. If you, however, need a full replacement tag, you will need to pay the applicable fees and go through the standard replacement process.
Getting Rid of Your Old License Plate
Once you receive a new license plate, there is no reason to keep your old one. Therefore, you should bring your old or damaged license plate to the DMV office and surrender it. Once you surrender the license, it will go on file as a voided plate, thereby, relieving you of any legal obligations.
It is important to replace your lost or stolen license plate or sticker as soon as possible to avoid any legal infringement. You should install your new replacement license plate or sticker on your vehicle as soon as you receive it.
Remember, that it is illegal to drive in the state of West Virginia without updated tags and stickers. Make sure your documentation is also updated. If you have any further questions, you can call the West Virginia DMV at (304) 558-3900 or go online to find out more.