How To Become A Dealer In The Commonwealth Of Virginia
Dealer Licensing Process and New Dealer Packet

Thank you for your interest in becoming a motor vehicle dealer in the state of Virginia.  Below are the basic steps involved in obtaining a motor vehicle dealer license.  If you need further assistance, please email, or call 804-367-1100 and select option 1.

Step 1

Be sure you have a qualified dealer-operator.

  • Franchise
      • Take and pass the Franchise Dealer-Operator exam at the DMV
      • Click HERE for the MVDB 57 form for the Test Application
  • Independent
      • Take and pass the 2-day Independent Dealer-Operator class through the VIADA 

Click HERE for the class registration.

      • Take and pass the Independent Dealer-Operator exam at the DMV.
      • Click HERE for the MVDB 57 form for the Test Application
      • Click on the following links for the DMV exam study guides MVDB 34, and MVDB 35.

Step 2

If you are a LLC or Corporation, register your LLC or corporation with the State Corporation Commission.
Click HERE for the SCC website.

Step 3

The Board recommends that before you sign a lease, be sure your location satisfies all zoning regulations for your chosen locality.
Your local zoning official must sign and date the MVDB 19 zoning form and be submitted as part of your application.  The zoning authorization must be dated within 30 days of your application submission to the MVDB.
Make sure your location satisfies all requirements of § 46.2-1510

  • Have sales, service, and office space devoted exclusively to the dealership of at least 250 square feet in a permanent, enclosed building not used as a residence.
  • House all records the dealer is required to maintain by § 46.2-1529, Code of Virginia.
  • Equip your office space with a desk, chairs, filing space, a working telephone listed in the name of the dealership, and working utilities including electricity and provisions for space heating, an internet connection and an email address.
  • Display business hours and a sign as required by § 46.2-1533 and § 46.2-1534, Code of Virginia, respectively. A dealer must be open a minimum of 20 hours per week. 10 of these hours must be between 9am. - 5pm. Monday through Friday.
  • Have contiguous parking space designated for the exclusive use of the dealership adequate to permit the display of at least 10 vehicles.

Step 4

Secure a $50,000 surety Bond AND liability insurance that insures each dealer plate issued to your dealership.

Step 5

Read the Dealer Applicant Letter HERE and complete all forms in their entirety and submit all necessary original documents to the MVDB.
Originals are required for Application Documents:


Bond Application (dated within 30 days of submission)


Application for Dealer Plates (you are eligible to receive up to 4 times the number salespersons employed)  Copy of your liability insurance showing the number of plates insured


License Application for Initial License and each license type.


Certification of Zoning Compliance (dated within 30 days of submission)


Each Salesperson Application and Criminal History Check Data Form


Copy of compliant Buyer’s Order, see the Buyers Order Checklist and Processing fee printed on Buyer’s Order (if applicable)


SCC Documentation.  Make sure the company and dealership name on the surety bond matches the MVDB 10 application name and the State Corporation Commission filing name EXACTLY.


Court filing documents of any “trading as” or fictitious name

Franchise dealers must attach a copy of the franchise agreement or original franchise letter, which includes the manufacturer or distributor’s service agreement.  The manufacturer or distributor must also be licensed by the DMV.

All forms are available for printing from our website

Required Fees:

Dealer Certificate


Each additional License Type Endorsement


Motor Vehicle Transaction Recovery Fund Paid annually for the first 3-years of operation


First 2 Dealer Plates


Additional Dealer Plates (each)


Salesperson’s License (each)


Criminal History Background Check (each person if needed)


Step 6

After submitting the application to the MVDB, and the license is processed, the MVDB will mail all license items to the Field Representative, and the Field Representative will set an appointment with you.  When and if the location complies with all Virginia Code requirements, the Field Representative will deliver all license items, and your dealership will be open for business.

Other important requirements and reminders:

Applicant Requirements:           

  • The applicant must secure and maintain a $50,000 surety bond in the name of the dealership that has been issued within 30 days of your initial application submission to our office.  This bond must be maintained for the first 3 full years of operations.  (Form MVDB-2)
  • A qualified dealer-operator and salesperson is required for each dealership.  This individual must be identified as the dealer-operator on the application MVDB 10.  The Independent dealer-operator applicant must successfully complete and pass the two day study course, and then pass the dealer-operator’s test at any Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Customer Service Center (CSC).  Franchise dealer-operators need only take the Franchise Dealer-Operator Exam at the DMV.  Use the MVDB-57 Application for Salesperson /Dealer-Operator Test, and check the appropriate exam.
  • Remember, all dealer-operator’s must have a sales license.

Location Requirements:

  • A dealership sign with no less than 6-inch lettering must be visible on the dealership location.
  • Processing fee sign (if applicable) 8 ½ X 11, posted in the dealership location.  Click HERE for a simple template.
  • A posted listing of all salesperson names in the dealership location.
  • Business hours sign posted conspicuously on or near the entrance.
  • The dealership location must be either owned or leased by the applicant. 
  • The location cannot be a residence.
  • The location must have space to accommodate the display of 10 vehicles.
  • A certificate of zoning (Form MVDB-19) must be obtained from the locality in which the dealership resides. This certificate must be issued within 30 days of your initial application submission to our office.
  • The location must have 250 square feet of permanently enclosed office space for exclusive use by the dealership.  The office space must include a desk, chairs, filing cabinet(s), a working telephone in the name of the dealership, working utilities (to include electricity), provisions for space heating, an Internet connection, and an email address.

Operation Requirements:

  • Prior to opening, the dealership must have a Board-approved buyer’s order printed that shows the dealership name, address, and telephone number.  See the Buyers order checklist.
  • A dealership must be opened at least 20 hours a week.  Ten (10) of those hours must be between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm, Monday through Friday.
  • Dealership must be open during posted business hours and those hours must be submitted to the Board.
  • Dealer records must be available for inspection during posted business hours.
  • Know and understand Virginia Advertising laws.  Advertising laws may be found under Virginia Code § 46.2-1581, and advertising guidance documents that may be found on our website HERE.

Dealership Employee Requirements:

Each dealership salesperson must be licensed by the Board, employed by the dealership, and may not be classified as a “1099 independent contractor.”

NOTE:  The Dealer-Operator and Salesperson’s Test is administered at your local DMV customer service center for a $50.00 fee paid to DMV at the time of testing.

Step 7

The Motor Vehicle Dealer Board Recommends:

  • In order to issue 30-day temporary tags (PoD), you must have an agreement with one of the following vendors.  Click HERE to link to DMV and the PoD vendors directly.
  • Visit our website at for additional, pertinant and code section information.
  • While at our website, click HERE to sign up for electronic (email) issues of our newsletter DealerTalk and other emailed information notifications.
  • Become an On-Line Dealer and perform many of your DMV-related dealer transactions from your office. Visit for more information.