As resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia you must inspect, register and title your car with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (VA DMV) before you can drive a vehicle on the roadways of Virginia.
A vehicle in Virginia must pass an annual safety inspection and display a valid safety inspection sticker. You must also carry auto insurance and register and title your vehicle with the VA DMV. The inspection must be done by a state certified inspector at one of the estimated 4,000 state licensed auto service centers, used and new auto dealerships, and automotive repair shops. The state mandated price depends on your vehicle. A standard passenger vehicle costs $16; a motorcycle costs $12. Expect to spend about an hour for a complete inspection.
The Safety Division of the Virginia State Police is in charge of inspections, while the DMV maintains driving records. Since vehicles are required to display a valid safety inspection sticker on their windshield, you may receive a traffic ticket and a fine if you drive without one.
New residents have 30 days to complete their vehicle registration and title with the VA DMV. Following is a list of actions that must be completed prior to registering your vehicle as a new Virginia resident:
- Get auto insurance coverage from a licensed Virginia carrier, or pay the uninsured motorist fee.
- Pass a vehicle safety inspection and a smog and emissions check. If your vehicle has a valid emissions sticker from the list of eligible Virginia exemption jurisdictions, you already have a current emissions inspection.
- Transfer your title to Virginia when you register with the VA DMV.
To register your vehicle you must appear in person at your county Virginia DMV office and bring the following requirements:
- A completed Application for Registration (VA Form VSA 14)
- Proof of identity and current mailing address
- Your vehicle’s inspection certificate
- Proof of insurance OR a $500 payment for the uninsured motorist fee
- Payment for registration fees (cost is based on your vehicle)
- Documentation and payment for your vehicle title
Once your vehicle is registered you receive a Virginia registration card that stays in your vehicle, and two Virginia license plates, along with registration stickers for those plates. Renew your Virginia vehicle registration annually or every 2 years, depending on your preference.
Our vehicles require an annual Virginia state inspection in Fairfax, VA to keep us safe. So mark your windshield sticker expiration date on your calendar and schedule your inspection on a day and time that the inspection station is least busy. If you have questions about vehicle registration in Virginia, call the VA DMV help desk at (804) 497-7100 or contact your local Virginia DMV office.