our cars have moved

I knew it wasn’t going to be easy when I got email from Rachel with a subject of, “I miss paying city income tax.” What would cause her to write such a thing? She was discovering everything that needed to be done to transfer and register our cars here in VA, and while they don’t have city income tax here, what they have instead is a much bigger pain.

Our goals seemed relatively simple:

1. get VA driver’s licenses for each of us

2. transfer the title on each car to VA

3. register each car

4. get license plates for each car

In order to do that, we had to do several other things first: get new insurance policies in VA, get an emissions inspection on each car, and get a safety inspection on each car. (And why does the county government have the right to force an inspection on my personal property?) All that having been done, we were done with all the prep work … sort-of.

In order to accomplish all the goals above, we had to compile a multitude of documents, including but not limited to: proof of insurance on each car, existing titles for each car, marriage license, birth certificates for both of us, proof of passed emissions inspection for each car, proof of passed safety inspection for each car, proof of purchase price for each car (no, they were not purchased in VA), proof of paid sales tax on each car (again: no, they were not purchased in VA), proof of residence in VA, our MI drivers licenses, and our social security cards.

Fortunately, my wife is the queen of preparations. Thanks to her diligent research (including online, multiple phone calls to VA DMVs and the MI Secretary of State, and snail mail correspondance with the MI Sect. of State), she compiled all our documents and had all our forms ready to go. To our amazement, the DMV didn’t require anything that we didn’t have in hand and we were able to accomplish all 4 goals in one trip.

On the plus side, the VA DMV offices accept credit/debit cards (a novel idea yet to be adopted by the MI Sect. of State branches), and we got our new drivers licenses on site rather than having to wait for them to come in the mail.

Having accomplished all that, we still needed to get county registration stickers, because that can’t be done at the DMV. Those arrived in the mail last week.

One remaining hurdle is getting license plates put on the front of our vehicles, since there is no spot to attach them in front. (Must be cars made in MI where that isn’t a requirement, or something.)

Lastly, we need to pay to our county what they call a “personal property tax.” It’s a tax you pay twice per year on each car you own, and it’s based on the value of your vehicle.

Once that’s done, I think we can officially declare that our cars have successfully made the move to VA. If anything can make you miss filling out a city income tax form once each year, this process might be it. Phew.

One thought on “our cars have moved

  1. I feel your pain. In fact, I had managed to suppress the agonizing memory of our Virginia vehicle registration, inspections, taxes, etc. But alas, your post has brought them to the surface. Thanks for that. 😉

    I think you’re right about the front license plates. Cars purchased in Michigan generally don’t have front plate mounting holes. I ended up having the folks who did my original state inspection(s) mount the front plate for me.

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