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Emissions Inspections


Your vehicle must meet Virginia's emissions inspection requirements if it is garaged in one of the localities listed below:

  • Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, or Stafford
  • Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas or Manassas Park

Inspections are valid for two years and may be obtained by having your vehicle inspected either by:

  • Driving past a RAPIDPASS on-road emissions testing site. RAPIDPASS is an on-road emissions test completed in less than a second as a vehicle is driven past RAPIDPASS roadside equipment. To learn more, visit
  • Visiting a certified emissions inspection station.

Your DMV vehicle record will be updated automatically when you have your vehicle inspected using either method. Results of the inspection are usually transmitted to DMV within 24 hours.

No vehicle subject to an emissions inspection will be registered or reregistered by DMV until it has passed an emissions inspection or has been issued an emissions inspection waiver due to repair costs that exceed a repair cost threshold.

To find out fees and other information about the emission inspection program, please contact the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality at 703-583-3900 or toll-free in Virginia at 1-800-275-3844.


  • If your vehicle is being registered for the first time in Virginia and has a current valid emissions certificate (performed in the last 12 months), it may be titled and registered without a Virginia emissions inspection.
  • Motor vehicles exempted from emissions inspections include:
    • Motorcycles
    • Autocycle; a three-wheeled motor vehicle that has a steering wheel and seating that does not require the operator to straddle or sit astride and is manufactured to comply with federal safety requirements for motorcycles. Except as otherwise provided, an autocycle shall not be deemed to be a motorcycle.
    • Gasoline powered passenger or property carrying vehicles with a model year that is more than 25 years old before January 1 of the current calendar year. As an example, vehicles with a model year of 1984 are exempt from emissions on or after January 1, 2009; vehicles with a model year of 1985 will be exempt from emissions on or after January 1, 2010. Vehicles 25 years old or older qualify as antique motor vehicles but are not required to display antique license plates to qualify for the emissions exemption. Although exempt from the emissions inspection, the $2 emissions fee is required when renewing these registrations.
    • Gasoline powered passenger or property carrying vehicles with a manufacturer's designated gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds.
    • Diesel powered vehicles NOTE: Diesel powered vehicles are not exempt from the emissions testing program requirements when they have:
      • A model year newer than 1996, and
      • A Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) less than 8,501 lbs., (if GVWR is not available, empty and gross weights will be used) and
      • A registration that expires in July 2007 or later.
    • Vehicles exclusively powered by clean fuel, including compressed or liquified natural gas, electricity, or solar energy
    • New or demonstrator vehicles being titled for the first time are exempt from emissions inspections for 4 years.
    • Used vehicles of the current and three previous model years are exempt from emissions inspections for up to 4 years.
    • Qualified hybrid motor vehicles are subject to the $2 per year emissions fee when renewing the vehicle registration as required by the DEQ, Virginia Code § 46.2-1182.1.

Emissions Inspections and Vehicle Registrations

To avoid delays in obtaining your vehicle registration from DMV, have your emissions inspection completed before you apply to DMV for registration.

Check the expiration date of the existing emissions inspection certificate to ensure that there is sufficient time remaining to allow for an original, renewed, or transferred registration.

  • To register or renew for 1 year or to transfer license plates, there must be more than 3 months validity remaining before the expiration date of the emissions inspection certificate.
  • To register or renew for 2 years, there must be at least 15 months validity remaining before the expiration date of the emissions inspection certificate.
  • To register or renew for 3 years, there must be at least 27 months validity remaining before the expiration date of the emissions inspection certificate.

Don't forget, you can renew your vehicle registration via the Internet, by mail, or at any customer service center.

If needed, a one-month registration extension may be requested in person at a DMV customer service center or DMV Select location. This extension will allow you to drive legally for one additional month, in order to obtain the required emissions inspection. A $10 administrative fee will be charged and prorated registration fees will be collected for the one-month registration period. In order to be eligible, your vehicle registration must be valid and scheduled to expire in the month requested. It is important to note that only one extension will be granted per registration period.