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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Vehicle Property Tax Exemption and City/County Decals (Virginia)

Property Tax Exemption on Vehicles in Virginia

All motor vehicles acquired by foreign missions and their accredited members must be registered with the Department of State’s Office of Foreign Missions. Neither official nor personal vehicles may be registered with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles at any time while in the United States. However, vehicles normally garaged or parked in certain cities or counties must be added to the City or County’s records. This is generally accomplished by registering the vehicle with the City or County Office of the Commissioner of Revenue. Not only does this allow the City or County to enforce its parking rules and ensure that parking is authorized, but it also allows the City or County to assess a personal property tax for the vehicle.

All members of foreign missions who are required to register their vehicles with the Department are eligible for an exemption from this personal property tax on their personally-owned vehicles on the basis of reciprocity. Leased vehicles are not eligible for personal property tax exemption.

To obtain an exemption from personal property tax in the following jurisdictions, members should present a copy of their Department vehicle registration along with their Department-issued identification card to the relevant City or County Office of the Commissioner of Revenue: City of Alexandria, Arlington County, City of Fairfax, Fairfax County, City of Falls Church, Loudoun County, and Prince William County.

City/County Decals

Furthermore, the following cities or counties currently require all persons who normally park or garage their motor vehicles in those jurisdictions to display a valid City/County decal, regardless of whether the vehicle has a diplomatic license plate or the person is exempt from personal property tax: City of Alexandria, Arlington County, City of Fairfax, City of Falls Church, Town of Herndon, and Loudoun County. These jurisdictions normally charge a fee for obtaining the decal (in addition to any personal property tax), which some jurisdictions have agreed to exempt or reduce for accredited foreign mission members. Below are procedures for obtaining a City/County decal in these jurisdictions:

Exemption from Fees (No Decals)

Neither Fairfax County nor Prince William County issue decals, but both do charge a fee for registering a vehicle with the County. Both Counties will exempt accredited members of the foreign mission community from this fee when the member obtains exemption from personal property tax.


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