About the GuideThis guide is by no means all-inclusive, but it is meant to help new residents cross some basic chores off their to-do lists.
DrivingTo drive legally in Virginia, you must get a Virginia driver’s license within 60 days of moving to the state (which, newcomers should note, is actually a commonwealth).
Two proofs of identity, one proof of Virginia residency, proof of legal presence and proof of your complete Social Security number (if you have been issued one) are required. A birth certificate, passport, resident alien card or other document is needed to prove you’re in the country legally.
For more information about acceptable documentation, see the Department of Motor Vehicles website.
One last word about getting a Virginia license: Be prepared to take a vision test.
Making Sure Your Vehicle is LegalYour car, like you, needs some Virginia credentials. You’ve got 30 days to get them. Here’s what you have to do:
- Title your vehicle in Virginia.
- Meet Virginia’s minimum car insurance requirements, which are $25,000 for injury or death of one person; $50,000 for injury or death of two or more people; and $20,000 for property damaged. If you can’t get insurance, you must pay a $500 uninsured motorist fee.
- Pass a vehicle-safety inspection and put a sticker on your windshield proving it. The inspection can be done for $15 ($5 for motorcycles) at many auto-repair shops. Look for car dealerships or service stations with a white poster out front with an official inspection station state seal on it.
- In Stafford County, your car also must pass an emissions test - unless you have a valid emissions certificate from one of several other states (listed on the DMV Web site). Emissions testing is not required of certain vehicles, such as motorcycles and registered antique vehicles. The test costs up to $28. For more information and the location of emissions inspection stations, contact the Department of Environmental Quality at 800/275-3844.
- Register your vehicle and get Virginia license plates at a DMV center. You can register your vehicle only after it passes a safety inspection and after you have insured and titled it.
One last thing drivers should know, especially speedy ones: Radar detectors are illegal in Virginia.
For detailed information on becoming a legal driver, check out the DMV newcomers guide online.
Local GovernmentThe Board of Supervisors are elected to four-year terms. Meetings are the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 3 pm and 7 pm at the George L. Gordon, Jr., Government Center, 1300 Courthouse Road.
SchoolsThe School Board members are elected to four-year terms. Meetings are the 2nd Tuesday at the Bandy Administrative Complex, 31 Stafford Ave. Visit the Stafford County Schools website for school locations and information.
TaxesNew residents have 30 days from the date they move into Stafford County to register with the office of the Commissioner of the Revenue for assessment of personal property tax. To register complete the online Vehicle Registration Form.
Tax due dates:
Personal property and real estate tax bills are due twice a year. First half taxes are due June 5th or the next business day if the fifth falls on the weekend or a holiday. Second half taxes are due December 5th or the next business day if the fifth falls on the weekend or a holiday. Billing and payments are handled by the Office of the Treasurer. For your convenience, you can Search, View & Pay Taxes online. You can also view taxes previously paid.
Purchase or sale of personal or business property:
Residents are required to report the purchase or sale/disposal of vehicles, motorcycles, boats, trailers, airplanes, mobile homes, business equipment and machinery and tools to the Commissioner of the Revenue at (540) 658-4132 within 30 days of the transaction. This insures proper assessment for each tax installment.
Address Changes/Moving from Stafford County:
Residents must report to the Commissioner of the Revenue all changes of address to insure the receipt of tax bills. Residents must also report to the Commissioner of the Revenue when moving from the county. If moving to another prorating locality, you will be billed up to the reported move date. If you move to a non-prorating county after January 1st you will be taxed for the full year in Stafford County.
VotingYou can register to vote at the DMV office when you get your driver’s license (as long as you’ll be 18 by the next general election), or you can visit your local registrar or call (540) 658-4000.
Voter registration forms also are available at public libraries, armed-forces recruitment centers and some state government offices.
For more information about registering to vote, call the State Board of Elections at (800) 552-9745.
Pet Licenses and AdoptionsDog licenses and proof of rabies vaccination are required for dogs 4 months and older in Stafford County. State law requires cats 4 months and older to be vaccinated as well, but Stafford does not require cats to be licensed. Stafford also has pet adoptions.
Dog licenses are available from the Treasurer. If your pet is normally found only in a zoo, check with your local Animal Control office to see if it’s legal to own.
Trash PickupResidents are responsible for getting rid of their own garbage, either by paying a private company or hauling it to a landfill or drop-off site.
For more information about trash pickup and recycling, visit the R-Board.
Employment OfficesThe phone book has a long list of private employment agencies, and the Virginia Employment Commission has two offices in the Fredericksburg area. One is in Fredericksburg at 3501 Lafayette Boulevard, (540) 898-3806. The other is at 529 Meadowbrook Shopping Center in Culpeper, (540) 829-7430.
You can also search VEC job listings online. You can also search Stafford County jobs online.
Cable TV and Internet ProvidersThe three major cable providers in the area are Comcast, Cox Communications and Verizon FIOS. Comcast has local offices at 10841 Houser Drive in Fredericksburg and at 1128 Garrisonville Road in Stafford. Call Comcast at 1-800-COMCAST (800) 266-2278, or go to Comcast's website. Cox has a local office at 1310 Belman Road in Fredericksburg (540) 373-6343, or go to Cox's website. Verizon can be reached at (800) 837-4966. To check Fios availability, visit Verizon. For DSL visit the resource website Virginia DSL Providers. Satellite cable is provided by HughesNet and DirecTV. Please visit their website for more information. KGI Communications provides fixed wireless internet to the Widewater/Marlborough Point/Aquia areas.
Phone and UtilitiesVerizon Communications is the leading phone-service provider in the area. Call 1-800-VERIZON or go online to Verizon's website or for business services, visit Verizon Business.
For water and sewer services contact the Department of Utilities at (540) 658-8616.
View an online listing of companies.
Post OfficesThe main Stafford office, 2650 Jefferson Davis Highway, (540) 659-7095, is open 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday.
The region also has many smaller post offices. You can find them in your phone book or by searching the U.S. Postal Service website.
NewspaperThe Free Lance–Star is the Fredericksburg area’s local daily newspaper.
You can subscribe by calling (540) 374-5002 or (800) 877-0500, ext. 5540, from 5:30 a.m.–5 p.m. weekdays, 6 a.m.–11 a.m. weekends and 6 a.m.–10 a.m. on holidays.
You can also subscribe online at the Free Lance-Star's website.
The newspaper’s main office is at 616 Amelia St. in Fredericksburg.