Virginia License Plates

A Virginia DMV license plate serves multiple purposes, from generating revenue for the state to identifying cars and drivers. Car registration plates also designate legally registered vehicles that the DMV has cleared for operation on VA roads. Because Virginia requires one VA DMV license plate on the front and another on the rear of a vehicle, it is easier for law enforcement to distinguish vehicles committing moving violations and other offenses. Virginia offers over 250 customized license plate designs for drivers to select from. Furthermore, the DMV offers a variety of options for purchasing VA license plates. For instance, the user-responsive online purchase portal allows drivers to order DMV license plates from the comfort of their own homes, while the DMV Select program makes in-person ordering convenient. To learn more about the types of license plates available and the ways drivers can order new registration plates or replace them, continue reading below.

Designing New Registration Plates Online in Virginia

The Virginia DMV license plate design and ordering system allows you to renew license plate custom designs or create new ones online. Virginia offers a variety of options when it comes to specialty plates. VA DMV license plate design categories include college, military, special interest and other. Finding the right license plate is effortless with the easy-to-browse system.

You can search for a VA license plate by name, view plates by category or locate plates alphabetically. Special interest car registration plates include such themes as the Appalachian Trail, Bowler, Bicycling Enthusiast, Breast Cancer Foundation-VA, the Order of the Eastern Star, Peace and dozens of others. Military license plate designs feature decorated options like the Bronze Star Valor, Vietnam Veteran and the Purple Heart, as well as infantry-specific plates such as the 173rd Airborne plate and the U.S. 3rd Infantry Regiment plate. In addition, general armed forces plates are available like the Coast Guard plate and the Air Force Reserve design. In the other category, you will find such license plates that display “Taxi for Hire” or “Tow Truck” purpose-specific plates. Business logo plates are another type of Virginia DMV license plate available, but the DMV reserves these plates for companies with a fleet of 100 motor vehicles or more.

Personalized license plates are available, as well, and can display any combination of numbers and letters with special character dashes, ampersands and spaces, as long as the combination fits within the parameters of the individual plate design and has not been used before on a personalized plate. Additionally, you can design your plate with no obligation to buy. Learn more about specialty license plates by downloading our free, informative guide.

What information is required to get license plate and decals in Virginia?

Before you get license plates in Virginia, you will need to ensure you have met all the requirements. This includes properly titling your vehicle and registering it in your name. To order new license plates to or replace license plate hardware, you will need the title number and the vehicle identification number (VIN). Your vehicle registration card displays both title and VIN. If you are replacing or renewing license plate and decals, you will also need the number of your current plate. Additionally, if your car is older than four years and you live in Northern Virginia, your vehicle might have to pass the emissions test to get license plate approval. If an emissions test on your car is necessary, the system will automatically be notified of a pass or fail test result. Download our complimentary guide to read more about license plate requirements in VA.

How to Get License Plate Requests Fulfilled in Virginia

In Virginia, replacing license plate and decals can easily be done online. You can get license plate replacements for lost, damaged or stolen license plates and decals. When you find the right design, place your car registration plate order using a credit card or via an electronic withdrawal from your bank account through the online system to finalize the transaction. Fees vary based on the style of license plates you order. Make sure to print out the receipt, especially if your current registration is expired or close to it. Your receipt will serve as a 15-day continuation of current license plate registration, should law enforcement ask to see proof that your license plate decals are current.

You may also get license plates in Virginia via a DMV Select participating partner. Order personalized and specialized new registration plates including motorcycle, truck, taxi, permanent trailer and local government-use license plates via DMV Select. You may use the VA DMV License Plate Application (form VSA 10) to order standard, personalized, souvenir or specialty license plates. Fill out this form as an alternative to purchasing plates online and mail to the VA DMV.

When Your New Registration Plates in Virginia Arrive in the Mail

When you order a new license plate or renew license plate hardware in Virginia, the DMV will mail new plates and/or decals to you. You will also get license plate decals, a registration card and two DMV-issued plates, unless your vehicle is a motorcycle, trailer, semitrailer or tractor truck (these vehicles only get one registration license plate). You will get two expiration decals and a registration card with your VA DMV license plates. Keep the registration card on you, or in your car, whenever you are driving it. Place one plate on the front of the car and the other plate on the back. Attach the decals directly to the metal plate for an up-to-date license plate and car registration.

Learn more about license plates and decals by downloading our complimentary guide.