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Virginia Buying a Vehicle

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Obtaining a Title and Registration for a Vehicle Bought from a Car Dealership

When you buy a new or used vehicle from a car dealership in Virginia, the dealership likely will handle the title and initial registration transfer for you. The Virginia title transfer happens remotely so that you can take immediate possession of the vehicle. You will need to insure the vehicle, which usually involve a quick phone call to your current insurer to transfer your current coverage or add the new vehicle to the auto insurance coverage.

Once the insurance coverage is in place, the dealership will provide the necessary forms for you to sign and remotely obtain the registration. The dealership might have a Virginia license plate that it can transfer to you. Otherwise, the dealership will provide a temporary registration that you can display in the lower right corner of the windscreen until you receive the permanent plate from the DMV or obtain one at a service facility.

Obtaining a Title and Registration for a Vehicle Bought from a Private Party

When you buy a vehicle from a private party, The Virginia DMV provides three ways to obtain title and register a used vehicle that a resident buys and wants to operate on public roads. You can title and register a vehicle at a local DMV service center, online or by mail. You will need a copy of the seller’s title with his or her signature in the appropriate location and an odometer reading if the vehicle has less than 100,000 miles on it.

You will need to pay a Virginia Sales Use Tax that is based on 4.15 percent of the selling price or $75, whichever is less. The seller should list the selling price on the title or provide a bill of sale for taxation purposes.

Filling Out the Title

The title already will have the vehicle identification number as well as the make and model year. The seller will need to provide the odometer reading for vehicles with less than 100,000 miles on the odometer.

If the vehicle has more than 100,000 miles, then the seller should indicate so. Accurate odometer readings at the time of title transfers help to prevent fraud and sign the title to legally transfer ownership.

Registering the Purchased Vehicle

You will have to provide proof of insurance and pay the respective fee to register your vehicle and obtain a license plate. Virginia DMV vehicle registration fees vary based on the type and weight of the vehicle.

A passenger car that weighs 4,000 pounds or less costs $30.75 to register. A passenger vehicle or a pickup truck that weighs between 4,001 and 6,500 pounds costs $35.75 to register, and a pickup that weighs between 6,501 and 10,000 pounds costs $44.75 to register. An electric vehicle costs $88.20, and a classic car or antique vehicle costs $50 to register.

Submitting Payment

You can pay for titling and registration services with a debit card, credit card, personal check, money order or a cashier’s check. The Virginia DMV does not accept cash payments. You can submit payments online, via mail or at a DMV service center.

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Last Verified:
Jun 14, 2022