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Renew Virginia Car Registration

Renewing car registration in Virginia is completed through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV vehicle registration renewal process must be completed regularly in order to avoid consequences. Not only is driving with expired car registration against the law, you can also receive penalties from the DMV, such as fines for failing to renew documents on time. A vehicle registration renewal in Virginia can be submitted using a few convenient methods, including online, by mail and in person. Learn how to renew car registration in Virginia and maintain legal documentation for driving privileges in the state.

Periods of Car Registration Renewal in Virginia

Virginia allows vehicle registration renewal to occur annually or on a multi-year cycle. Choosing a multi- year car registration renewal period is beneficial if you are eligible to use this option. If you are eligible to renew car registration on a multi-year cycle, then you will receive a small discount on your renewal fee each time you complete the process. Virginia allows two- and three-year vehicle registration renewal periods for your convenience. You may register your car for two years if your vehicle weighs less than 55,000 pounds and your have car insurance. You may renew your car registration in Virginia every three years as long as you meet all of the requirements for two-year registration periods and you do not live in an area that requires emissions testing.

Renewing car registration annually in Virginia is required if your vehicle has a gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more or if you chose to pay an uninsured motorist fee to the DMV rather than purchasing car insurance. Yearly car registration renewals are still an option even if you are not required to renew annually, but prefer to renew annually. Note that when you renew car registration in Virginia annually, you will not receive a DMV discount.

Regardless of the vehicle registration renewal period you choose in Virginia, you will receive a notification from the DMV before your registration expires. Virginia car registration renewal notifications may be sent through the mail, by email or by text. You may choose the notification method you prefer when registering your car. DMV vehicle registration renewal notifications arrive in advance of your expiration date, giving you time to complete the process before your documents expire.

Penalties for Not Renewing Car Registration in Virginia

If you do not renew Virginia vehicle registration on time, then you will face a DMV fine as well as other penalties. If you have an expired car registration, then you will be charged an additional fee when you complete the process. You will be fined even if you renew one day after your registration expires. In addition to DMV fees, you risk receiving a ticket for driving with an expired registration decal. Traffic tickets for expired vehicle registration can result in fines and other penalties, especially if you were committing other violations when you were pulled over.

Virginia Car Registration Renewal Options

In Virginia, you may renew car registration online, by mail or in person at DMV offices. If you are eligible to renew your car registration online or through the mail, then you will receive a discount on your renewal fee. The Virginia vehicle registration renewal discount for renewing online or through the mail will be applied in addition to any discounts you may receive for using multi-year renewals. Note that renewing car registration in person is always an option. However, if you are eligible to renew Virginia car registration online or through the mail but choose not to use one of these options, then you may be charged a fee for renewing your registration in person. Be aware that it is possible to renew your car registration in person at a DMV Select office or a DMV Customer Service Center. The in-person renewal fee only applies if you visit a DMV Customer Service Center.


Completing the vehicle registration renewal online in Virginia requires that you use the DMV website. When renewing car registration, you will need to enter your Social Security Number or your DMV customer number to log in. Make sure the address on your renewal notification is correct. If there is a mistake or you have moved, then you need to update your address with the DMV online or using an alternative method before you submit your renewal online. If the DMV does not have your current address when you renew your car registration, then your renewal decals may not arrive on time or at all. Next, you will enter all of the required information about your vehicle and make a payment. You can renew expired car registration online, but remember that you will need to pay an additional DMV fee when renewing. If your car registration is due to expire in less than 15 days, then make sure you print a receipt from your online renewal transaction. Your receipt should be carried in your vehicle until your renewed decals arrive in the mail. After online transactions, decals usually arrive in the mail within 15 days.

By Mail

To renew Virginia car registration by mail, complete a Vehicle Registration Application. The application for renewing car registration can be picked up at a DMV office or printed from the DMV website. Because this application is used for other registration services, be sure to check the box for a registration renewal. Enter all of the relevant information about your vehicle and be sure to sign the application. Finally, mail your Virginia car registration renewal application and the appropriate fee to the address listed on the application. Your vehicle registration renewal decals will arrive in the mail, usually within 15 days.

In Person

A Virginia vehicle registration renewal can be completed in person at Customer Service Centers or DMV Select offices. Remember, renewing car registration in person may require that you pay an additional fee if you are eligible to renew using a different method. However, you will not be charged a fee if you use a DMV select office or if you visit a regular DMV office and have other business to complete that can only be performed in person. When renewing Virginia car registration at a DMV office, present a Vehicle Registration Application and pay the appropriate fee.