If you have purchased a new vehicle, titled it in your name and plan to transfer your existing license plate from your previous car, you will need to visit your local Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles service center. Because you are registering a new vehicle, you cannot take care of your transaction online. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles says it takes most customers an average of four minutes to deal with their license plate needs.
Have your new vehicle inspected by an authorized service station. An annual safety inspection is required of all vehicles in Virginia, and they must have a valid inspection sticker on their windshields. Additionally, you will need an emissions certificate if you live in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William or Stafford counties or in the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas or Manassas Park.
Fill out the Virginia DMV form VSA 14, an Application for Registration, which is available from the DMV website (see Resources). In the first section, you must check the box for "Transfer License Plate Number" and write down your tag number.
Go to the your local DMV service center with your application, your emissions certificate (if required) and proof that you have liability insurance on the vehicle.
Pay the registration fee.
Transfer your tags to the new vehicle.