Registration Renewal in Virginia
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) makes renewing your vehicle's registration a simple process. Renewal fees are an essential resource for the state and necessary for the upkeep and building of roads and highways.
New to Virginia?
Did you just buy a vehicle or move to the state? Then you'll need to register your car with the DMV and obtain Virginia license plates.
Virginia Renewal Cycles
Currently, the VA DMV allows residents to renew their vehicles:
- 1 year
- 2 years, as long as:
―Your vehicle does not weigh more than 55,000 lbs.
―Your vehicle is not registered under the International Registration Plan (IRP).
―You have not paid the uninsured motorist fee.
―You have more than one year left on your current emissions inspection (if your vehicle is registered in an emissions testing zone).
- 3 years, as long as:
―You're not renewing by mail.
―Your vehicle is not garaged in a county that requires regular emissions testing (see “Smog and Emissions Testing" below).
―Your vehicle is not over 55,000 lbs.
―Your vehicle is not registered under the IRP.
―You haven't paid the uninsured motorist fee.
Your renewal fees will vary based on your renewal cycle. You may also be eligible for discounts on your renewal fee with a multiple-year registration (see below).
VA Registration Renewal Notice
You will receive a renewal notice several weeks before your registration will expire. Your DMV renewal notice will list::
- Your registration renewal date.
- Your registration renewal fee.
- Your emissions testing status (see below).
You will not be allowed to register if you:
- Are delinquent on your personal property taxes.
- Have outstanding parking citations.
- Have outstanding toll violations or other fees.
Your renewal notice will indicate if any of the above apply to you.
Didn't Receive a VA Registration Renewal Notice?
Normally, renewal notices are sent by mail, so if you moved recently, update your address with the VA DMV. Even if you never received your notice, you're still obligated to renew your plates before they expire.
The DMV also now offers electronic registration renewal notices. To start receiving electronic notices, sign up either at your local DMV Customer Service Center or online. To sign up online:
- Go to the DMV's sign up page.
- Provide your Customer Number or Social Security number.
- Provide your date of birth.
You may opt out of receiving electronic notifications at any time by logging into your DMV online account. You may also contact the DMV help desk at (804) 497-7100 if you never received your notice and think that you should have.
Renewing Your Virginia Registration
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To renew online, you must:
- Have completed your emissions test, if necessary.
- Go to MyDMV.
- Enter your:
- DMV customer service number or Social Security number.
- Date of birth.
- Title number of your vehicle, which is located on your renewal notice or current registration certificate.
- Last four digits of your vehicle identification number (VIN), as listed on your notice or current registration certificate.
- Pay your renewal fee (see above) with Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express or checking account number (E-Check).
- Print your renewal receipt, which will extend your registration for another 15 days until you receive your renewal materials in the mail.
Renew by Mail
To complete your renewal by mail:
- Review the renewal notice you received in the mail to make sure that everything is correct.
- Complete your emissions test, if applicable.
- If your address has changed, note your new address on your notice. If other information is listed incorrectly on your notice (e.g. name or vehicle information) call the DMV at (804) 497-7100.
- Make out a check or money order for your renewal fee (see below) to the Virginia DMV.
Mail documents and payment to:
Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 27412
Richmond, VA 23269
Contact your DMV Customer Service Center to check the status of your order if you don't receive your renewal materials after 15 days.
Renew in Person
You may renew your registration by going in person to either a DMV Select office or to your local DMV Customer Service Center. If you go to a DMV Customer Service Center, you must pay an additional $5 fee per transaction (meaning if you renew more than one registration, you will pay the fee for each).
When you appear at either location, you must submit:
- Proof of passing an emissions test, if necessary.
- Your renewal notice or current registration certificate.
- Your driver's license.
- Proof of insurance, if necessary.
- Payment for your renewal fee.
You will receive your renewed plate decals and certificate before you leave.
VA Registration Renewal Fees
Virginia registration renewal fees vary based on a number of factors, such as:
- The type of vehicle you own (e.g. car, truck, motorcycle, etc.).
- The weight of your vehicle.
- How long you renew for (see below for discounts on multi-year renewals).
- If you have personalized/specialty plates.
- Whether you renew at a DMV Customer Service Center (there is a $5 additional renewal fee).
Check your renewal notice for the exact amount that you will owe for your renewal. You can also contact your DMV Customer Service Center or call (804) 497-7100.
Discount Renewal Fees
When you choose to renew for multiple years, you can avoid the DMV in-person fee of $5 and get a discount on your registration fees. Remember, not all vehicles are eligible for multi-year renewals, so be sure to review the “Renewal Cycles" section above before calculating your discount.
- 1 year renewal―$1 discount
- 2 years renewal―$2 discount
- 3 years renewal―$4 discount
- 1 year renewal―no discount, but you avoid the $5 in-person fee
- 2 year renewal―$2 discount
- 3 year renewal―$2 discount
- 1 year renewal: no discount, but you avoid the $5 in-person fee
- 2 year renewal: $2 discount
NOTE: You cannot renew by mail for a three-year renewal period.
Late Fees and Penalties
You will be charged a $10 late fee if you renew your registration after your expiration date, and you may face even stiffer penalties if you get caught driving with expired registration. The DMV does not provide any grace period, so once your plates expire, you can't drive or park on state roads.
Registration Renewal for Residents Out of State
The Virginia DMV provides an extension of 90 days on registration renewals for the following types of residents:
- U.S. military active duty members deployed outside of Virginia and plan on returning to the state.
- Members of the U.S. diplomatic service serving outside of the U.S.
- Civilian U.S. government employees on official business outside the U.S.
- The spouse or dependent(s) of any of the above people.
If you meet one of the above classifications, then you will have 90 days to complete your renewal once you return to the state by following the standard procedures for renewing listed above.
Virginia Smog and Emissions Testing
The renewal notice you receive from the DMV will indicate if you must meet this requirement before you can renew your registration. Typically, vehicles registered in the following areas must have their emissions inspected every 2 years:
- Arlington County
- Fairfax County
- Loudoun County
- Prince William County
- Stafford County
- Falls Church
- Manassas Park
For additional information regarding Virginia's Emissions Testing program, including locations, fees, vehicle exemptions, and for fixing a vehicle that fails, visit our Smog and Emissions Check Section.
VA Liability Insurance Requirements
Failing to carry proper liability insurance on your vehicle can result in the loss of your driving and registration privileges. The VA DMV monitors coverage through an insurance verification program, and if you don't have proof of insurance on file with the DMV, you will not be allowed to renew your vehicle.
Check out our Insurance Section for additional information regarding Virginia insurance requirements, as well as information regarding the state's Uninsured Motorists program, which allows residents to pay a fee and assume full financial responsibility should be you involved in an accident.
If you participate in the uninsured motorist program, you must pay the $500 uninsured fee every time you renew.
Register a Non-Operational Vehicle
For a vehicle with expired registration that has been non-operational and/or in storage for an extended period of time, contact your local DMV Customer Service Center to learn the steps you must take for renewing its registration.
Depending on how long the registration has been expired, you may only be able to renew in person. Typically, any vehicle that is operated and/or parked on public roads must be registered with the DMV.
Replacement Certificates, Stickers, and License Plates
While you may have paid all your renewal fees and kept your registration current, you can still get ticketed if you are unable to present the appropriate documentation that your vehicle is legally registered.