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Vehicle Inspection


DC residents are required to have their vehicles inspected prior to registration.  Passenger vehicles receive an emission inspection that is valid for two years; commercial vehicles receive an emission and safety inspection that is valid for one year; and for-hire (i.e., taxi/limos) receive an emission, safety and DCTC inspection that is valid for one year.

Although vehicle inspections are conducted on a first come, first served basis during normal hours of operation, appointments may also be scheduled in advance using our online Inspection Station Appointment Scheduling SystemAn online appointment will allow you to proceed past the inspection station gates and be queued into an inspection station lane.

Please note that once an inspection sticker is removed from the windshield, it will display "VOID". Since it is illegal to display a voided sticker, if your windshield is replaced, please proceed to the Inspection Station within 72 hours for an inspection sticker replacement. A fee is required for the sticker replacement. Please note that a new vehicle inspection sticker does not say "VOID."

Exemptions & Waivers

New vehicles which have a Manufacturers Certificate of Origin (i.e., title for a new vehicle) and which are not used for commercial or for hire use are exempt from an initial emission inspection. However, these new vehicles are still required to display the inspection sticker that is provided by the DMV when the vehicle is originally titled and registered. Also, passenger vehicles that are pre-1968 and zero emission do not have to go through inspection.The vehicle's inspection must be periodically renewed.

Additionally, if your vehicle cannot pass the emission test, you can receive a two year waiver from the emission inspection by presenting $848 in emission repairs from a certified mechanic.

DC Residents Out of Town Inspection

If you are out of town more than 75 miles outside of the District (i.e., at college, extended business trip, etc) and need to have your vehicle inspected, but you cannot make a trip back to the District to have the vehicle inspected at the DC DMV Inspection Station, take the following steps:

  • Take your vehicle to a certified Repair Service Center/Dealer
  • Request an Emissions Test or On Board Diagnostic Test for states not offering emission testing
  • The results should be in the form of a work order that is printed on the Repair Service Center's or Dealer's letterhead, and should include the following
    • Vehicle Year
    • Current Mileage
    • Vehicle Make
    • Vehicle Model
    • VIN Number
    • Tag Number
  • Once you have received the emission inspection, mail or fax the work order to:
    • Attention: Station Manager
      • DC Department of Motor Vehicles, 1001 Half Street, SW, DMV Inspection Station,  Washington, DC 20024
      • FAX: (202) 729-7186
  • When mailing or faxing, provide a return address where the inspection sticker should be mailed
  • We will review the out of town inspection results to ensure they are within the emission requirements for the District
  • If the out of state emission results are acceptable, we will update the vehicle's inspection history for two years
    • You will be charged the DC inspection fee the next time you renew your District vehicle registration
  • DC DMV will mail you an inspection sticker to the out of state address provided

Requirements for Motorcycles and Motorized Bicycles Imported from Outside the United States

All motorcycles and motorized bicycles must meet federal motor vehicle safety standards before they can be registered in the District. .

Although safety inspections are no longer required for motorcycles and motorized bicycles, a customer must still provide proof of compliance with the federal safety standards if the vehicle was imported from outside the United States. Proof may be provided in one of two ways. First, the customer may present to the DMV service center a manufacturer's certification of compliance. This is in addition to the registration application and other documents required to title and register the vehicle.

Alternatively, if the customer cannot locate the manufacturer's certification of compliance, then the customer must bring the imported motorcycle/motorized bicycle to the inspection station before the vehicle can be titled. An inspector will verify whether the vehicle meets the federal safety standards. Once an inspector determines the vehicle has complied with the federal safety standards, the customer may then visit a DMV service center to title and register the vehicle.

Reveiw the following sections for more information:


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