Motor vehicle dealer licenses in Virginia are handled by the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board in the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Determine Which Type of License You Need:
The details of these types of licenses will be reviewed in detail in the mandatory training course.
- Independent Dealer-Operator
- Franchise Dealer-Operator
Obtain a Permanent Business Location
Your location must meet the following requirements:
- It must satisfy all local zoning and other regulations
- It must be a non-residential location with at least 250 square feet of space exclusively devoted to the dealership
- Your office space must be equipped with the necessary furniture and utilities including telephone, electricity, heating, an internet connection, and an e-mail address.
- You must have and maintain the records required by § 46.2-1529 of the Code of Virginia
- You must have adequate space to display at least 10 vehicles
- Business hours must be displayed as per § 46.2-1533 and § 46.2-1534 of the Code of Virginia
- The business must be open at least 20 hours a week, with 10 of these hours being between 9am and 5pm Monday-Friday
- A sign with the name of your dealership in letters at least six inches tall must be visible
- You must have a board-approved buyer’s order which shows the dealership name, address, and telephone number
Complete a Pre-Licensing Course and Test
New dealers must complete a pre-licensing course and pass the MVDB test. The Virginia Community College System and the Virginia Independent Automobile Dealers Association (VIADA) offer the required courses. The courses last two days and run every month at a variety of campuses around Virginia. The cost is $325 with pre-registration two weeks beforehand, or $375 otherwise.
Once you’ve completed the course, you must then pass the dealer-operator portion of the Dealer-Operator and Salesperson’s Test. This test is administered by any DMV Customer Service Center. It costs $50 and the study guide is available online.
Obtain Proof of Liability Insurance
You must obtain liability insurance for each dealer plate issued and provide proof of this insurance along with your application.
Obtain Your Auto Dealer Bond
The cost of an auto dealer bond is a small percentage of the total bond amount. The bond cost varies depending on your financial strength, e.g. personal credit. You can also take a look at our most frequently asked surety bond questions.
- Fill out our online application form to obtain a free bond quote for your auto dealer license. It takes 5 minutes and you will be able to lock your rate for the next 90 days (in case you want to purchase the bond).
You must secure a bond in the name of your dealership within 30 days of submitting your initial application. The bond must be maintained for your first 3 years of operation.
Bond Amount Required:
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Compile the Required Documents
The following forms must be submitted with your license application. All forms can be downloaded from the MVDB page.
- Certificate of Zoning Compliance: Must be completed and signed by a local zoning official
- Criminal History Check Data Form: The check will be performed by the MVDB
- Application for Certificate of Qualification/Salesperson's License
- Dealer Plate Application
Submit Your Dealer License Application
Submit your application and all the associated documents to any DMV customer service center
or the main DMV office:
Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 27412
Richmond, VA 23269
- Dealer Certificate: $200
- Motor Vehicle Transaction Recovery Fund (paid annually for the first years of operation): $250
- First 2 Dealer Plates: $60
- Additional Dealer Plates (each): $26
- Salesperson’s License (each): $25
- Criminal History Background Check (each): $10