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Virginia License Plate Search

Virginia residents should register their vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

You can choose from a variety of different specialty license plates to show your support for organizations and groups.

If you want to personalize your plates with a custom number, you can look up its availability online.

Sample Virginia License Plate

Sample Virginia License Plate

Types of License Plates in Virginia

All license plates are issued and regulated by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Virginia.

You must register your vehicle with the DMV if you:

  • Purchase a new vehicle
  • Become a new resident and own an out-of-state vehicle

The types of Virginia license plates available for registration include:

  • Temporary license plates
  • Standard license plates
  • Specialty license plates
  • Disability license plates
  • Personalized license plates

All license plates in Virginia are required to have decal stickers. These must be placed in the upper corners of the plate, with the month and year clearly visible.

Temporary License Plates in Virginia

Temporary license plates are required in order to legally drive an unregistered vehicle on the road. You can obtain temporary license plates from an authorised provider (i.e., car dealership or DMV office).

Temporary license plates remain valid for 30 days, which gives you time to process your vehicle’s registration.

If you purchase a vehicle from a dealership, often the dealer will provide you with temporary plates.

Standard License Plates in Virginia

The standard license plate issued by the DMV in Virginia has a white background with dark blue lettering.

When you register your vehicle, these are the plates you receive unless you order personalized, specialty, or disability license plates.

Specialty License Plates in Virginia

There are over 200 specialty license plates available from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Virginia. These plates offer unique designs and provide support for charities, organizations, college scholarships, local parks, and more.

The following are just a few examples:

  • College License Plates
    • American National University
    • Clemson University
    • Virginia Tech (Go Hokies)
    • East Carolina University
    • Ferrum College
  • Military License Plates
    • Air Force Cross
    • Army Reserve
    • Desert Shield War Veteran
    • Legion of Merit
    • Retired National Guard
  • Special Interest License Plates
    • Breast Cancer Foundation
    • Choose Life
    • Diabetes
    • Don’t Tread On My Truck
    • Ducks Unlimited
  • Other Specialty License Plates
    • Equipment
    • Farm Vehicle
    • Motorcycle Antique (Yellow)
    • Scenic Patriot
    • Scenic Autumn

Fees for specialty plates vary by type and do not include the regular registration fees that are still required.

Disability License Plates in Virginia

If you have a disability, you can apply for special license plates and placards that permit you to park in designated spaces throughout the state.

You will be required to submit medical proof to be eligible.

Personalized License Plates in Virginia

Most license plates in Virginia can be personalized to have a custom plate number. You must submit an application for personalization to the DMV, and your plate number should follow these guidelines:

  • Up to 7 characters long (some plates must be shorter)
  • Characters must only be letters or numbers
  • Must not have profanity or crude suggestions

You can look up available license plates using the search bar above.

Applying for License Plates in Virginia

You have 30 days to register your vehicle with the DMV after purchase or after becoming a new resident.

You can apply for license plates by visiting your county’s DMV office.

You may be required to provide the following when you register:

  • Proof of insurance
  • Valid ID
  • Titling documents
  • Emissions certification
  • Completed application forms
  • Payment for registration fees

Transferring License Plates in Virginia

When you buy a new vehicle, you are not permitted to give away your license plates. Your plates belong to you and can be transferred to your new vehicle.

There is an additional fee for transferring your plates when you register your new vehicle.

If you don’t transfer your plates, you may be required to surrender or destroy them.

Surrendering License Plates in Virginia

You will be required to surrender your license plates if you:

  • Sell your vehicle and do not transfer them or use them
  • Move to a new state
  • Have damaged plates and apply for new ones

You can surrender license plates to a DMV office near you.

Replacement License Plates in Virginia

If your license plates are lost, stolen, or damaged, you should have them replaced by the DMV immediately.

You can replace your plates either by in person or by mail.

If you are applying for replacements by mail, be sure to submit a check or money order for the DMV—not cash.

Stolen license plates should be reported to the police, but it may not be required. Reporting it prevents your stolen plates from being abused.

Renewing License Plates in Virginia

Before your vehicle’s registration expires, you must submit all required documents and payments to renew your license plates.

You will receive new decal stickers after renewing your vehicle. These can be placed over the old sticker on your rear plate.

Fees for License Plates in Virginia

You are required to pay standard registration fees in addition to local taxes, service fees, and any other applicable fees. The following are a few examples:

  • Registration fees:
    • Vary by weight, vehicle type, year, type of license plates being registered, and length of renewal
  • Transfer Fee: $2
  • Replacement Fee:
    • Plates: $10
    • Decals: $1

The fees for license plates in Virginia vary by plate and vehicle. You should contact the DMV to obtain more information for your situation.

Looking Up License Plates in Virginia

If you want to find available license plates in Virginia, you can use the search bar above.

It is also possible to find information about a vehicle, such as:

  • Vehicle history
  • Reported abuses (e.g., theft)

Relevant media (photos, videos, etc.)


Virginia license plate information is provided by