How to Replace a Car Registration in Virginia

Lost car registration in Virginia should be addressed in a timely manner if drivers wish to continue operating vehicles in the state. While DMV lost registration cards are common, and drivers misplace and replace them frequently, in Virginia, it is illegal to drive without this vital DMV document. Additionally, driving a car without filing for proper registration with the DMV or driving with an expired registration is an even worse offense. Failure to maintain valid registration or to replace car registration immediately will cost you a fine. Fortunately, Virginia drivers can obtain a copy of car registration easily from the VA DMV. If you need to replace vehicle registration documents or obtain a duplicate car registration card in Virginia, review the details outlined below.

How to Replace Car Registration Online in Virginia

Replacing car registration in Virginia is a quick process when you take advantage of online processing. In fact, the average registration replacement transaction takes less than four minutes. To initiate and complete lost car registration replacement, follow these steps:

  1. Sign into your MyDMV Account using your Social Security Number or Customer ID number
  2. Have your PIN handy to access account details
  3. Once you log into the system, proceed to the replacement section to print registration documents (lost car registration replacements can also be mailed if you prefer)

Printing registration card copies is free to account holders. If you plan on driving, print out the duplicate car registration, if possible. The law requires you, as a driver, to keep a copy of car registration with you while operating your vehicle. If a law enforcement officer pulls you over, obeying all laws will ensure the best outcome. Download our free and informative guide to read more about online car registration replacement.

How to Replace Car Registration in Virginia by Mail

An alternate method for replacement of car registration in Virginia is by mail. While you will receive the replacement registration card in the mail, you will still make the replacement request online. This option works better for those who prefer not to create MyDMV accounts, but can use a computer with internet access. You will need the vehicle’s title number and the VIN number (last four digits) to request copies by mail. Once the DMV receives your request, your DMV copy of registration card will arrive by mail within 15 days.

If you are eligible to renew your registration, you may opt to go ahead and do so in lieu of replacing car registration documents. Otherwise, you will be renewing your registration shortly thereafter, repeating the 15-day wait time. Always carry DMV receipts with you while driving to cover any expiration lapse.

When will I need an extra Virginia DMV registration copy?

Some drivers order a Virginia copy of car registration as a backup card in the event something happens to the original. A copy of registration and other important DMV-related paperwork is a good addition to personal files. For instance, you may wish to include duplicate car registration in a secure place, such as a bank deposit box, along with other vital identification documents and important papers, like birth certificates. These replacement car registration papers might be needed in the wake of an unforeseen event, such as a home fire, a car accident or car theft. Because registration cards are free to print online (ordering by mail incurs a small fee), you can print a backup copy of vehicle registration to use, as necessary.

If you do not currently have an account with the Virginia DMV to replace vehicle registration documents, consider getting one for your convenience. Creating an account with the VA DMV is fast and easy. It provides online access to your DMV account, and allows you to view or update driver-related and vehicle-related information, along with performing replacement vehicle registration requests and other handy services. Drivers with MyDMV accounts benefit from printing duplicate car registration, as well as up to 30 other driver and account services, including vehicle registration renewal and drivers license renewal.

Learn more about DMV online services in our complimentary guide.

When You Should Deactivate Car Registration in Virginia

If you have sold or donated your car, or if your car is inoperable, instead of having duplicate car registration, you need to deactivate your car registration. If you have six months or more until your registration expires, you are entitled to a prorated refund on the registration. Use the “Application for Vehicle Registration Refund Form” (Form FMS-210) and mail it to the DMV, along with your license plates, or deliver them in person. If you do not wish to have a refund, you still must notify the DMV and deactivate your registration. You can use your plates for another car but not your replacement vehicle registration, and notifying the DMV is still imperative. If you do not notify the DMV, you could face extensive consequences. You can go online or call by phone to contact the DMV about deactivating your registration. Note that you cannot use duplicate vehicle registration if you transfer license plates, as you must learn how to register a new vehicle with the state when you are ready to drive the car on state roads and highways.