How to Register a Motorcycle in Virginia

You must complete motorcycle registration in Virginia before you can legally operate a motorcycle within the state. Due to the fact that registering motorcycle bikes is so important, it is crucial that you understand the steps to register motorcycle vehicles, when you must do so and the required documentation to provide. Additionally, the steps needed for a motorcycle registration differ, depending on if you are making a purchase from a dealership, a private seller or if you are a new Virginia resident. For more information on how to register motorcycle bikes in Virginia, review the sections provided below.

When to Complete Virginia Motorcycle Registration

Motorcycle registration needs to be done in Virginia before you can operate a motorcycle legally within the state. The exception to registering motorcycles is that those who have recently moved to Virginia as new Virginia residents have 30 days to obtain new Virginia motorcycle registration and titling documentation. Should you need to move an unregistered motorcycle, you may apply for a one-time trip permit at your local Virginia DMV. Before you register motorcycle vehicles, you will need to have already obtained a Virginia title for your motorcycle, as well as a Virginia auto insurance policy that meets the state minimum requirements. Learn more about VA auto insurance in our free, informative guide.

It is important to note that any moped that exceeds 35 mph is considered a motorcycle by the state of Virginia, and will enforce motorcycle registration requirements, however, even if your vehicle does not exceed that 35mph limit, you will still need to register and title it.

While registering motorcycle bikes carries a similar process to registering cars in Virginia, there is one key difference between the two, as motorcycle registration will not require an emissions check, because motorcycles are exempt from smog checks.

Lastly, you cannot register motorcycle online for your initial registration, as this must be done either at an approved Virginia Customer Service Center, a DMV Select office or an available mobile office.

Registering Motorcycle Bikes From Private Sellers in Virginia

You will need to complete your motorcycle registration after you have successfully completed a title transfer and have obtained the motorcycle’s title in your name. Luckily, you can register motorcycle bikes at the same location, saving you time and an additional trip. Make sure that you have the appropriate motorcycle registration fees, and that you have already obtained proof of your auto insurance policy, as outlined above. When you register a motorcycle for the first time at an approved location, you will be provided with your new license plate and your proof of motorcycle registration during your visit, both of which should be placed on your motorcycle immediately.

How to Register a Motorcycle Purchased From a Dealership in Virginia

Most reputable Virginia dealerships will handle your motorcycle registration for you, as well as provide you with a temporary license plate and registration you can use until you receive your registration in the mail. Additionally, most dealerships handle all of your title paperwork, saving you further time and hassle.

However, it is important to know that if the dealership is unwilling to register motorcycle bikes for you, it becomes your responsibility to do so. While these are rare cases, it does happen, and if it does, you will need to follow the instructions that have been outlined in the above section.

Completing Motorcycle Registration as a New Virginia Resident

New Virginia residents are required to obtain both their motorcycle registration and their motorcycle titles within 30 days from the date of a move to the state. Failing to register motorcycle bikes in Virginia could potentially result in fines and penalties if you are ever stopped by law enforcement. While you may already have an auto insurance policy for your motorcycle that is based out of another state, you will be required to have a Virginia auto insurance policy with your insurance agency. This is easily changed by contacting your insurance policyholder.

During your visit to one of the approved Virginia Customer Service Centers or DMV locations to obtain motorcycle registration, ensure that you bring all of your title-related requirements, along with your proof of insurance- and registration-related fees in order to save yourself from an additional trip.

Multi-Year Motorcycle Registration Discounts & Eligibility in Virginia

In Virginia, you can obtain discounts on your motorcycle registration if you choose to pay for more than one registration year at a time, also known as multi-year registration. Multi-year motorcycle registration is only available if you meet eligibility requirements, and it is important to know that registration is non-refundable, even if you cancel the registration before it has expired. When you register motorcycle vehicles, consider options regarding registering motorcycle bikes for multiple years at a time in order to save money. Multi-year motorcycle registration is not available if you have paid the uninsured motor vehicle fee. Additionally, a three-year, multi-year registration will not be available the first time you register your motor vehicle.

Learn more about vehicle registration in Virginia by downloading our complimentary guide.