How to Become a New Independent Dealer-Operator

The first step in becoming an Independent Dealer-Operator is to register for the two-day Independent Dealer-Operator course given at Virginia Community Colleges throughout the year. The course is taught by the Virginia Independent Dealers Association (VIADA). There is a fee for this course, and it is recommended to register early to avoid closed/full classes and late registration fees. See Click here for the latest course schedules, locations, and fees.

The two-day course is a comprehensive course covering the primary responsibilities of an Independent Dealer-Operator, including recent changes in motor vehicle laws and regulations. The course will also administer a required examination on day two.  In order to successfully pass the course you must pass this in-class examination. If you have passed the in-class examination, you can proceed to complete the final requirement by taking and passing the Independent Dealer-Operator examination at any DMV customer service center. It is recommended that you take the Independent Dealer-Operator examination soon after completing the two-day course.

To Summarize:

  • Step 1: Register for the two-day Independent Dealer Operator Course at the Virginia Community College.
  • Step 2: Complete and pass the examination at the two-day course.
  • Step 3: Go to the DMV and take the Independent Dealer-Operator examination.


Taking the Independent Dealer-Operator Examination at the DMV after completing and passing the two-day study course


  • Complete the MVDB 57, Dealer-Operator/Salesperson Qualification Test Application and indicate on this form appropriate dealer-operator test as follows:
  1. If you are currently holding a valid Virginia Salesperson License check on the MVDB 57 - Dealer-Operator Independent Test (80 questions).
  2. If you do not have a valid Virginia Salesperson License check on the MVDB 57 - Combined Dealer-Operator Independent/Salesperson Test (100 questions).


What to Bring when taking the examination at DMV

  • Proper identification (valid driver’s license, passport)
  • Payment for testing fee ($50)


Test Preparation

To prepare for the examination, the MVDB recommends downloading the MVDB 35 Motor Vehicle Dealer Salesperson Study Guide to prepare for the Independent Dealer-Operator test.


Retaking the test

If you do not pass on the first try, you can retake the test the same day or another day. You must pay the $50 fee each time you retake the test.


After passing the Independent Dealer-Operator examination

Upon passing the examination, you are qualified as an Independent Dealer-Operator. Next, you must submit a completed and signed MVDB 61 along with the appropriate fees ($30 salesperson license and $10 Background Check) directly to MVDB for review and processing. The MVDB 61 must be signed by you and a representative of the Dealer.


Independent Dealer-Operator Recertification Requirement

Independent Dealer-Operators are requireed every 36 months to complete a recertification on-line course or test.