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How much does it cost to tag and title a car in Virginia?

The cost to register and title a vehicle in Virginia depends on several factors, including whether the vehicle is new or used, the vehicle’s age and weight, and the locality where it will be registered. Generally, Virginians can expect to pay between $20 and $75 for a standard vehicle registration and title. However, costs may be higher for larger vehicles like trucks and RVs. Additionally, there are often extra fees required on top of the base registration fee, such as sales tax on a vehicle purchase and emission inspection fees in certain localities. This article provides an in-depth look at the various costs associated with titling and registering a personal vehicle in Virginia.

Virginia DMV Registration and Titling Fees

When purchasing a new or used vehicle in Virginia, you must title and register it with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 30 days. This involves paying several state-mandated fees, including:

  • Title fee – $15 for an original title or $20 for a duplicate title
  • Registration fee – $40.75 for a standard passenger vehicle, pro-rated based on vehicle weight for trucks
  • License plate fee – $10 for a permanent plate, $25 for personalized plates
  • Safety inspection fee – $2
  • Emissions inspection fee – $28 in emissions test localities

So at minimum, you can expect to pay around $70-$75 to fully title and register a standard passenger car with the Virginia DMV. Additional fees will apply for heavier vehicles like trucks and RVs.

New vs. Used Vehicle Fees

Virginia charges slightly different registration fees depending on whether the vehicle is new or used:

  • New vehicle registration: $40.75
  • Used vehicle registration: $20.75

However, the title fees remain the same at $15 for an original title and $20 for a duplicate. So titling and registering a used car will cost around $55.75 with a permanent license plate, while a new car is around $75.75.

Vehicle Weight Registration Fees

For heavier vehicles like trucks, RVs and trailers, Virginia prorates the registration fee based on the vehicle’s gross weight:

Vehicle Weight Registration Fee
4,000 lbs or less $40.75
4,001 to 6,500 lbs $45.75
6,501 to 10,000 lbs $53.75
10,001 to 20,000 lbs $66.00
20,001 to 30,000 lbs $106.00
30,001 to 40,000 lbs $136.00
40,001 to 55,000 lbs $161.00
Over 55,000 lbs $201.00

So registering a large truck or RV can cost over $200 in Virginia, in addition to title fees. There are also higher registration fees that apply specifically to motor homes.

Additional Registration Fees

On top of the base registration and title fees, you may have to pay other additional costs like:

  • Sales tax: If purchasing from a dealer, you must pay the normal sales tax rate on the vehicle price, usually around 5-6% statewide.
  • Local licensing fee: Most cities and counties in Virginia charge an extra $20-$30 local licensing fee on top of state registration costs.
  • Emissions testing: In emissions test regions like Northern Virginia, an emissions test must be passed before registering a vehicle, costing around $28.
  • Business vehicle fees: Registration fees are higher if the vehicle will be used for business purposes.

These extra costs can easily tack on another $100 or more to your total registration payment. Be sure to factor them in when budgeting for a new vehicle.

Registration Fee Estimates by Location

Since localities in Virginia can charge their own additional fees on top of state vehicle registration costs, your total cost will vary depending on where you live. Here are approximate registration and titling fees for standard vehicles in some major regions:

Northern Virginia

  • State fees: $70-$75
  • Local fee: $33 in Arlington, $25 in Alexandria
  • Emissions test: $28
  • Total: Around $130-$160

Hampton Roads

  • State fees: $70-$75
  • Local fee: $20 in Norfolk/Virginia Beach
  • Total: Around $90-$95


  • State fees: $70-$75
  • Local fee: $32 in Richmond
  • Total: Around $100-$110


  • State fees: $70-$75
  • Local fee: $20 in Roanoke
  • Total: Around $90-$95

So expect to pay $100 or more in Northern Virginia localities, while other regions of the state will generally cost $90-$110 for basic registration and titling.

Registration Renewal Fees

Once your vehicle is already titled and registered in Virginia, you must renew the registration each year. The good news is renewal is cheaper than initial registration. Standard renewal fees are:

  • Registration renewal: $40.75
  • Emissions test: $28 (if required in your locality)
  • Local licensing renewal: Varies by city/county, around $20-$30

So for a typical renewal you’ll pay $60-$70 per year, plus any local licensing renewal fees. And you can renew registration online, by mail, or at DMV customer service centers or select retail stores.

How to Save on DMV Fees

While most Virginia DMV titling and registration fees are mandatory, there are a few ways you may be able to save money, including:

  • Pay registration for multiple years at once to save on yearly local licensing fees.
  • Opt for a permanent Virginia license plate instead of personalized plate to save $15.
  • Consider plate transfers – transferring an existing plate can avoid some new registration costs.
  • If buying a car privately, have the seller accompany you to the DMV for a lower title fee of $15 instead of $20.
  • Active military members stationed in Virginia can get registration discounts with military orders.
  • Some localities offer registration fee waivers for hybrid/electric vehicles or older cars.

Shopping around for the lowest local licensing fees can also save you $10-$20 per year. So be sure to compare costs if registering a vehicle in different Virginia cities or counties.


The total cost to fully title and register a vehicle through the Virginia DMV ranges from $70 up to $200 or more, depending on your locality, vehicle type, and additional required fees. Northern Virginia tends to be the most expensive due to higher local licensing fees and mandatory emissions testing. But no matter where you live in Virginia, you should budget at least $90-$100 to fully title and tag a standard personal vehicle, plus more for trucks, RVs or if purchasing from a dealer. With smart preparation and shopping around, Virginia drivers may be able to save modestly on DMV registration costs.