A Virginia bill of sale is a legal document used to transfer ownership of an item from one person to another, according to the specific laws of the state of Virginia. With a bill of sale form, you protect both the person receiving the item (the “buyer”) and the person transferring the item (the “seller”) by proving that the transaction was done legally and agreed upon by both people. The transferred item can be any kind of personal property that’s either purchased or traded for another valuable item – including:
- a car or other vehicle
- a boat
- a motorcycle
- a gun or other firearm
- an animal such as a horse or other livestock/pet
Unlike a receipt you receive from a business, a bill of sale is typically used between two private individuals selling or purchasing some type of personal property.
Table of Contents
- Virginia Vehicle Bill of Sale
- Virginia Boat Bill of Sale
- Virginia Gun Bill of Sale
1. Virginia Vehicle Bill of Sale
In Virginia, a bill of sale is not necessarily required. However, the state DMV does provide the Vehicle Price Certification, or Form SUT 1, to provide the requisite proof of purchase price necessary to register and title a vehicle that is over 5 years old.
Bills of sale in Virginia, which can be drafted by hand if necessary, do not need to be notarized. However, each document should feature the following information in order to serve its purpose:
- The names, contact information, and signatures of the buyer and seller
- A full description of the vehicle
- The vehicle identification number or VIN
- The sales price
- The purchase date
Virginia has some DMV forms available in Spanish, and allows translators to interpret documents. However, the official bill of sale form, the Vehicle Price Certification, or Form SUT 1, does not come in any other language. That said, since it is not a legal requirement, a bill of sale may be drafted in any language as long as each party understands his or her copy of the document.
Number of Copies
Since the state does not require a copy of the bill of sale, a copy for the buyer and a copy for the seller should be sufficient.
After Purchasing a Vehicle
Besides drafting a vehicle bill of sale, there are many other steps to take to register a vehicle in Virginia. Here is a rundown:
- The dealership will generally handle all registration paperwork. If this does not happen, the paperwork will be provided so you can complete the process.
- Your dealer should provide you with a valid safety sticker in order for you to register and title the vehicle.
- You must fill out the “Assignment of Title by Owner” section of the title, along with the odometer reading. If there is a lien on the vehicle, a Transfer of Certificate of Title with Lien, or Form SUT 4, is required before the buyer can assume the lien.
- You must provide the buyer with proof of the sale price, whether it is listed on title, or you provide a generic bill of sale, or you use the Vehicle Price Certification (Form SUT 1) on vehicles over 5 years old.
- You must have adequate liability insurance, or pay the $500 uninsured motorist fee, which allows you to register your vehicle and drive it for up to one year. The fee does not act as insurance, however, and you will be liable for any damages incurred in any accident.
- You are required to get a safety inspection prior to registration and depending upon the county or city you live in, you may need to undergo an emissions inspection. Emission inspections are required in the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford, and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park.
- You may apply for a trip permit, valid for 3 days, to move your unregistered vehicle in order to get it inspected or registered. The cost is $5.
- In Virginia, registration and titling take place at the same time, in person, at the DMV. You must bring a completed Application for Registration, or Form VSA 14, a completed Application for Certificate of Title and Registration, or Form VSA 17A, proof of identity and address, the inspection certificate, emissions documentation (if applicable), and proof of insurance or payment for the $500 uninsured motorist fee. You must also pay registration fees.
- Registration fees are based on the gross weight of the vehicle and the length of time that you wish to register, whether it is for 1 or 2 years. You will also have to pay use tax and a 4.15% sales tax based on the sales price or the value of the vehicle as determined by the DMV.
- If you are new to the state, you have 30 days to register your vehicle. If the vehicle was never registered in the state, you must complete Form VSA 17A, and get an emissions sticker if your county or city requires it. However, you may use your out-of-state emissions sticker until it expires. You must also title your vehicle in Virginia. If you are active military stationed in Virginia, you must follow the same steps.
- Once registration is complete, you will receive a registration card and license plates along with your registration stickers with the expiration date printed on them. They should be affixed to the license plate and clearly visible at all times.
2. Virginia Boat Bill of Sale
There is no official boat bill of sale form for vessels in Virginia, though boat dealers must provide a sales invoice in order to transfer title and registration.
Make sure your boat bill of sale includes the following key information:
- The names, contact information, and signatures of the buyer and seller
- Make, model, and year the vessel was built
- The type of vessel and its propulsion type
- The hull material
- The hull identification number or HIN
- The vessel’s length
- The motor make, serial number, and horsepower, if it is in excess of 25 horses
There is a penalty of perjury printed on the Vehicle Price Certification, or Form SUT 1, and almost all DMV forms in Virginia. Though it does not outline specifics, in accordance with Virginia Code section 18.2-434, perjury in the state is punishable by “by imprisonment from one to 10 years, confinement in jail for up to 12 months, and/or a fine of up to $2,500.”
After Purchasing a Vessel:
- The dealer is required to complete the dealer reassignment portion of the title or provide a completed manufacturer’s certificate of origin.
- You will be asked to fill out the Application for Watercraft Certificate of Title and Certificate of Number (Registration) and sign it. You will also need to acquire a copy of the sales invoice showing the purchase price, a description of the vessel, and the sales taxes paid.
- You must provide the buyer with a completed certificate of title or a certificate of number (registration).
- Any motorboat, considered any vessel propelled by machinery, must be registered with a certificate of number and a certificate of title through the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF); however, only motors with an excess of 25 horsepower are listed on the title. The only exceptions to registration and titling requirements are boats used on private waters and those that are used primarily in other states. Sailboats over 18 feet in length only require titling and no registration.
- You must register your vessel prior to operating it on any public waters in Virginia, unless the registration is still considered valid. You have 90 days to register your vessel in Virginia after moving from another state, or until your current out-of-state registration expires.
- You can register and title your vessel in person at the DGIF office, by mail, or online at www.GoOutdoorsVirginia.com. You must bring the “Application for Watercraft Certificate of Title and Certificate of Number (Registration) and either the original certificate of title, completed by the seller, or a bill of sale. Registrations are valid for three years and your decals will be issued with each new or renewed registration.
- If your vessel is registered in another state, you must follow the steps above with your out-of-state registration. If your vessel is registered in Virginia, but not titled, you must submit a Notification of Change in Status of a Numbered Vessel, along with a copy of your bill of sale signed and dated by the sellers. If your vessel has never been registered or titled in Virginia or any other state, you will need to submit a Statement for Registering and Titling a Motorboat not Previously Registered and/or Titled and printed photographs of the vessel taken from all sides. In all situations, the Application for Watercraft Certificate of Title and Certificate of Number (Registration) is requisite.
3. Virginia Gun Bill of Sale
In Virginia, permits are not required and only fully-automatic firearms require registration. As such, a gun bill of sale for firearms is not required by the state, and there are no official forms.
Gun bills of sale usually include the following:
- The buyers’ and sellers’ names, contact information, and signatures
- The make, model, caliber, and serial number
- The purchase price
- The sales date