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Nearly 7 million people in 95 counties call Virginia their home. From the state's many historic cities to its Atlantic beaches and abundant river valleys, it is easy to see why.
The "Old Dominion" officially became a state on June 25, 1788. Incidentally, it was the 10th state, as well as the 10th of the 13 original colonies. Virginia is actually a commonwealth rather than a state.
The flowering dogwood is both the state tree and the state flower, while the cardinal is the official state bird. Major industries include transportation equipment, textiles, food processing, and printing.
If you are new to Virginia, one of the first places you'll want to go when you get settled is your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for your driver's license and vehicle registration. Generally, military personnel and full-time students may drive here with valid out-of-state licenses.
If you are not military or a full-time student, and you have a valid license from somewhere else, you must obtain a Virginia driver's license within 60 days of moving here.
If you are a temporary resident, you don't have to get a Virginia license unless you stay here for longer than six months or become gainfully employed. However, if you hold a commercial driver's license (CDL), you must get your Virginia CDL within 30 days of moving here.
If you are age 19 or older and you have a valid driver's license from another U.S. state or territory, a Canadian province, France, or Germany, you must apply for your Virginia license by doing the following:
- Pay any applicable fees.
- Bring required documentation (see below).
- Pass a vision screening.
- Surrender your old license.
- You may not be required to take the knowledge exam or the road skills test, show proof that you completed driver's education, or hold a learner's permit.
If you are 19 or older and you have a valid license from a country other than the U.S., Canada, France, or Germany, you must pass the knowledge exam, road skills test, and vision screenings.
Regardless of your situation, bring the following documents with you when applying for a Virginia license:
- Two proofs of identity (one primary document and one secondary, or two primary documents).
- One proof of U.S. legal presence.
- One proof of Virginia residency.
- One proof of Social Security number (if you've been issued a number).
See the DMV list of acceptable documents for each category.
Has your license been suspended or revoked by another state? You cannot receive a Virginia driver's license until your driving record from that state is cleared. You must also meet the other requirements for a Virginia license.
If you have a vehicle, you must get a safety inspection and, in certain counties, an emissions inspection. The vehicle has to pass the inspection before you will be able to register it.
For vehicle safety inspection locations, check our section on the topic.
You must obtain auto insurance on your vehicle. Virginia is very strict about vehicle insurance, and it is monitored very carefully. The minimums for coverage are:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person.
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more people.
- $20,000 for property damage.
Instead of insurance, you may opt to pay an uninsured motor vehicle fee every year.
Prior to registering your vehicle, you must title it in Virginia. After that, and within 30 days of moving to Virginia, you must register your vehicle and purchase license plates. You will receive two license plates for your vehicle, plus decals that show when your registration expires. These get affixed to the plates.
Finally, certain localities also require vehicle registration and decals (commonly called "city stickers"). You should contact officials at your locality to find out if you need to register your vehicle there, as well as with the state.
Many localities assess a personal property tax for vehicles. If your locality requires it, it will be based on the value of your vehicle.
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We put a lot of effort into making our content helpful & accurate. Please let us know if you see something that isn't clear or correct; we are here to ease any frustrations you may have while navigating DMV topics. We are not a government agency, please reach out to your local DMV, insurance agent, or respective professional for further assistance on specific situations.