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Virginia’s New License Plate Law Benefits Military, RV & Motorcycle Owners

A new law taking affect Jan. 1 will allow drivers to keep license plates on recreational vehicles, as well as those that are not driven all-year-long.

Before the law, drivers had to surrender license plates for vehicles not in use.

More in a press release from Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

Starting January 1, 2014, customers who operate Virginia-registered vehicles for only part of the year may temporarily deactivate their license plates and cancel the insurance without having to surrender the plates to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This new law will be beneficial for owners of seasonal vehicles such as motorcycles and RVs and active duty members of the military on deployment, if the vehicle is not being used.

Customers can easily deactivate and reactivate license plates online at or by calling DMV at (804) 497-7100.

To reactivate the plates, customers must:

• have no outstanding tax obligations on their motor vehicle

• provide insurance policy information or pay the unisured motor vehicle fee

• pay a $10 reactivation fee (if the registration has not expired)

“This new law will be of tremendous benefit to thousands of Virginians, including our military men and women deployed overseas,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb. “It will save customers a trip to DMV by allowing them to simply go online and deactivate their plates without having to surrender them to DMV. Customers can retain their plates and reactivate them when they are ready for the vehicle to be used.”

Customers should contact DMV when vehicle liability insurance is canceled during the registration period or may face stiff penalties if the vehicle is subsequently found uninsured.

For more information, visit


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  • James

    Ok . Now what about all the fines we had from not surrendering plates under the old law that was finally taken out. Ive been bent over dmv’s barrel so many times and actually had to prove insurance for years back on cars i never drove. They even tried to get me on the sr22 insurance…

    I have +5 driving record. No accidents. No tickets if any kind. Ever.

  • JDD

    VA used to not require you to turn in your plates OR contact the DMV if you stopped using a vehicle and opted to cancel insurance on it. This new revision to the law is better but still far from fair or just.

    If I pay for license plates they are mine. If I don’t use a vehicle on the road I am not required to insure it. There is no justifiable reason I should have to inform the DMV of any of any changes.

    There have been laws on the books in VA to punish those that drive without insurance for many years, that’s a good law. This newer law even with this latest revision is still a bad law. Like many of the newer laws in recent years it punishes people that have actually done nothing wrong.

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