License Plates & Placards in Virginia

SUMMARY: Virginia License Plates

To apply for your Virginia license plate, you need to register your vehicle at a DMV office. You'll also need to renew your registration in order to renew your plate. When you buy a vehicle, you may be able to transfer your tags. Be sure to order replacement tags right away if yours are stolen, lost, or damaged.

Read below for information about Virginia license plates and tags.

Looking for personalized tags or special plates? Visit our Specialty Plate Types and Specialty Plates Application pages for complete details.

Do you qualify for disabled parking? Our Disability Placards and Plates page has information about applying for disability license plates.

Types of Virginia License Plates

If you live in VA, your vehicle must have license plates issued by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Most vehicles are required to display license plates on BOTH the front and back, while other vehicles such as motorcycles, trailer and tractor truck, only need a rear plate.

You'll also be issued decals for the rear plate that show when your tag expires.

You CANNOT have a frame, cover, or anything else that alters or covers part of your plate number, decals, or state name.

License Plate Designs

The standard Virginia license plate is white with blue lettering and features the state name at the top. The VA DMV also offers personalized plates and specialty plates. For detailed information, visit our Types of VA Specialty Plates and Applying for Specialty Plates in Virginia pages.

Disability parking plates are also available from the VA DMV. For application requirements and other helpful details, see Disability Placards & Plates.

Temporary Tags

You can get a temporary tag when you buy a vehicle from a dealership. The tag allows you to use your vehicle while you wait for your permanent VA license plate to arrive.

Temporary tags are valid for 30 days. The dealer can issue another one if they do not provide your ownership documents within 30 days.

Apply for License Plates

You must apply for Virginia license plate by registering your vehicle with the VA DMV in person.

To avoid late fees or possible citations, you must register your vehicle within 30 days of moving to VA.

During this time, you may need to get your vehicle insured, inspected, and titled.

Visit our Vehicle Registration page for more information, including documentation requirements, fees, and other helpful tips.

Renew Virginia Vehicle Tags

You will renew your VA license plate by renewing your vehicle registration either:

  • Online.
  • By phone.
  • By mail.
  • In person.

NOTE: The VA DMV will send you a reminder notice before your tags expire.

After renewing, you will get a new validation sticker for your rear license plate. Remove your current sticker BEFORE applying the new one.

Our Registration Renewal page will provide you with more details, including renewal fees and other requirements.

Replace License Plates & Stickers

If your license plate or expiration sticker is lost, stolen, or damaged, you can get a replacement in person or by mail from the VA DMV.

You will need:

  • The Vehicle Registration Application (Form VSA 14).
  • Payment for the applicable fees:
    • License plate replacement (with or without decals): $10.
    • Decal or set of decals only: $1.

Submit your form:

  • In person at a VA DMV office.
  • By mail to the address on the form.

NOTE: You DO NOT have to report your lost or stolen plate to the police, but notifying the police may be helpful in preventing fraud if someone else uses your tags.

Transfer & Surrender VA Tags

If you buy a vehicle and already have Virginia license plates, you can transfer your plates when you register the new vehicle. Both vehicles must be in your name.

You must surrender your tags if you:

  • Move to another state.
  • Trade, sell, or donate your vehicle and don't transfer the tags to another vehicle.
  • Plan to cancel your insurance and stop operating your vehicle.
    • Surrender the tags BEFORE canceling your insurance.

You can also apply for a refund if you have at least 6 months left on your registration. You will need to complete an Application for a Vehicle Registration Refund (Form FMS 210).

Surrender your tags and submit your refund application (if applicable):

  • In person at a DMV service center.
  • By mail to:
  • Registration Renewal Work Center
    Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
    P.O. Box 27412
    Richmond, VA 23269

Fees for License Plates

The fees below DO NOT include title fees, taxes, or fees for other services. Some Virginia counties or cities may also charge additional fees.

  • Registration/Standard license plates are based on a few different things that affect the fee:
    • The type of vehicle.
    • The weight of the vehicle.
    • The type of license plate (speciality/personalized).
    • The length of renewal (multi-year renewals may have discounts).
    If you renew at a DMV Customer Service Center there will be a $5 additional renewal fee.
  • License Plate Replacements:
    • License plate: $10.
    • Decal: $1.
  • License plate Transfer: $2


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.
VSA 14
Vehicle Registration Application
Application for original, renewed, OR replacement Virginia registration, license plates, OR decals.
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