Paperwork When Selling a Car in Virginia

Paperwork Required to Sell Your Car in Virginia

Trying to sell your car in Virginia? Are you a little overwhelmed by the prospect? Good news, we've outlined the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requirements for you to successfully transfer your car to its new owner.

Selling a Vehicle in Virginia

Before you need to worry about the protocol for the title transfer, of course, you must find a ready and willing buyer for your car. How do you reach used-car shoppers, and how do you entice them with a competitively priced vehicle that still provides some fair return for you? For some general car-selling tips, check out our Guide to Selling Your Car.

Once you've found a buyer, the process is pretty basic from here on out. You'll sign over the title certificate, remove your plates, and notify the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and your insurance company of the sale. Let's explore these steps a bit further.

Required Documents in Virginia

To sign over the car title, you'll fill out the pertinent portions of Section A on the front of the certificate. You will need to provide the following information:

  • Your signature.
  • The buyer's name and address.
  • An odometer disclosure.
  • The sale price of the vehicle.

The buyer will also need to sign the title to complete the transfer of ownership.

Don't forget to remove your license plates and let the Virginia DMV know of the sale. You can notify the agency online, by phone, or by dropping by a service office. Similarly, make sure to inform your insurance company that you've sold your car.

Duplicate VA Title Certificate

What if you're selling a car in Virginia but the title has been damaged, obscured, misplaced, or stolen? You'll want to get your hands on a duplicate title in order to pull off the sale. You can do so online, or by calling the VA DMV.

You can also apply for a duplicate title certificate in person at a DMV customer service center.

If there's an active lien on the vehicle, the lien holder will need to submit the application and receive the replacement title. If the lien's been satisfied, you'll need to include proof of that fulfillment.

There is a $15 fee for a duplicate title certificate.

For more information, visit our Replacing a Lost Title in Virginia page.

Vehicle History Reports in Virginia

Shoppers for used cars often seek out vehicle history reports to assess a particular vehicle. Obtainable with the vehicle identification number (VIN), these reports provide details on the car's history, including:

  • Accidents.
  • Complications on the title.
  • Flood damage.
  • Theft.

As the seller, it's important to understand how this resource can affect a sale. It may even be a good idea to order a report yourself and use it as a sales tool, if your vehicle is in pretty good shape. For more information, visit our Vehicle History Reports page.

Transferring License Plates After a Sale

You'll keep your license plates when you transfer ownership of the car to the buyer. You can either transfer the plates to another vehicle registered in your name, or dispose of them either on your own or at a Virginia DMV service center.

If your vehicle registration is still good for 6 months or more, you can request a refund from the DMV by filling out a Vehicle Registration Refund Application (Form FMS 210) and bringing or mailing it along with the license plates to any VA DMV customer service center.


FMS 210
Vehicle Registration Refund Application
Use this form to request a refund for Virginia DMV registration fees. Must meet eligibility requirements outlined on the form.
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