Every motor vehicle, trailer, semi-trailer, pole trailer, and recreational vehicle when driven, or moved upon a highway, must be titled and registered. The following information applies to all of the above types of vehicles (i.e. trailers, motorboats, motorcycles etc.)
When a vehicle is registered in West Virginia, the registrant will receive a license plate and registration card, which should be kept in the vehicle with the current insurance certificate at all times.
The DMV publishes a Motor Vehicle Registration Fees brochure that lists the current fee schedule for all vehicle classes.
A variety of special license plates are offered in West Virginia. Click here to see the Class A license plate collection. A vehicle must already be titled and registered with a regular license plate before applying for any of the special license plates.
Renewal notices for your vehicle registration are mailed approximately 30 days before the registration expires.
You may renew by:
- You may renew your vehicle registration with DMV Online Services. You must provide all required information on your insurance, personal property taxes, and you must have a valid credit card for payment.
- Using the Registration Renewal Notice (DMV-44) and mail it with the correct fee, insurance information, and personal property tax receipt;
- Visiting any DMV Regional Office with your insurance information, personal property tax receipt, and payment; or
- Depending on where you live, you may be able to visit your County Sheriff's office to renew your vehicle registration, click here for a complete list of participating Sheriff's offices. If your county's Sheriff does process registration renewals, you will need to supply them with your vehicle registration renewal notice, insurance information, personal property tax receipt, and payment. You can only renew passenger vehicles (Class A) and motorcycle registrations (Class G) at a Sherriff’s office.
Personal property tax is assessed by the County Assessor and collected by the County Sheriff. Proof of payment of the tax or an affidavit from the Assessor is required before license plate renewal. Contact the nearest county courthouse if questions arise concerning this tax, or click here for links to all counties that currently have online tax information.
Though Renewal notices are mailed to you 30 days prior to expiration, they are printed several months before they are mailed.
It is the vehicle owner's responsibility to know when their plates expire, the notice is just sent as a reminder. Always make sure the division has your current address. If it is not updated, it is likely you will not receive your renewal notice. If a registrant fails to receive a renewal notice, renewal may be completed by submitting a copy of the vehicle's old registration card, a current insurance certificate or owner's statement of insurance, a personal property tax receipt, and the correct fee by mail or to any DMV Regional Offices.
If you purchase a vehicle and wish to transfer the registration from another vehicle that will expire within the next 60 days, it is recommended that the you should ask the dealer to collect enough money to cover the cost of the registration transfer and registration renewal. You must provide your proof of insurance and a personal property tax receipt in order to transfer and renew your registration at the same time.
If you do not renew at the time you transfer the registration, the renewal notice for the old vehicle is mailed to you. When this happens you will need to renew by either mailing to the main office in Charleston or by visiting your nearest Regional Office along with a copy of the registration card that has the new vehicle information, the insurance information, personal property tax receipt, and the correct fee.
West Virginia law requires ALL registered vehicles to be insured. Click here for more information on insurance.
WV State Vehicle Inspections
West Virginia requires a routine safety inspection every 12 months. Vehicles may be inspected at any official inspection station licensed by the West Virginia State Police. When a vehicle passes the inspection, a sticker valid for 12 months will be placed on the inside of the windshield. It is illegal to drive a vehicle without a valid inspection sticker.
New residents have 10 days from the date they title a vehicle to have a West Virginia inspection. This also includes the purchase of vehicles out of state. West Virginia has reciprocity with Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Therefore, out of state inspection sticker from these states is valid in West Virginia until expiration.
Any vehicle purchased or otherwise acquired within West Virginia not having a valid inspection sticker must be inspected within 10 days.
Have a valid registration card and a current certificate of insurance in the vehicle at the time of inspection.
Visit the WV State Police Motor Vehicle Safety Program for more information about vehicle inspections, for more specifics on the inspection process, please click here.
Lost or Stolen Plates, Registration Card, and Decals
Immediately notify the West Virginia State Police if a license plate is lost or stolen. The fee for a duplicate license plate is $5.50. An insurance certificate or owner's statement of insurance is required before we can issue a duplicate plate. The fee for a duplicate decal or a duplicate registration card is $5.00.
You can apply through DMV Online Services for your duplicate (replacement) plate, registration card, or decal, or use the Duplicate Registration/Decal/Plate/Change of Address (DMV-32-TR) form to get any of these three items replaced. Once a plate is reported as lost or stolen, the same plate number cannot be used again.
If your license plate was personalized you may obtain license plate with the same personalization with the form Application for Issuance of a REPLICA License Plate (DMV-43-TR) however, If DMV provides you with a new plate that matches a previous plate reported as lost or stolen, it may continue to show up as “STOLEN” if law enforcement runs a plate-check on it. If your application is approved, the DMV will provide you with a letter you can provide law enforcement explaining that the plate on the vehicle is valid. It is recommended that you keep this letter with the registration card, in the vehicle, at all times.
Apportioned plates and credentials are not eligible to utilize the online web service to apply for a lost or duplicate plate, registration card, or decal. If you have apportioned plates or credentials, contact the Motor Carriers Unit for more information at (304) 926-0799.
Worn, Faded, or Illegible License Plates
If a license plate becomes worn, faded, or otherwise illegible, request a new plate at the time of renewal for no additional charge. If you request a new plate at any other time, there is a $5.50 fee.
PO BOX 17710
Charleston, WV 25317