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Note: The processes listed below apply to the majority of people. If you are active-duty military, honorably discharged military, law enforcement, or retired law enforcement, the processes below may be slightly different (easier) when applying for a concealed carry permit.
Types of Concealed Carry Permits
1) Residents & Non-Residents
- Must be a minimum of 21 years old to apply
- Must be a U.S citizen
- Valid for 5 years
- Costs $50 (+$Safety course)
Note: Any resident or non-resident that is 18 years old and can legally possess a handgun may open carry. No permit is required in this case.
Is it Required to Carry Concealed?
No – you may open carry or carry concealed with a concealed carry permit.
May Issue or Shall Issue?
Virginia is a shall issue state, meaning the law states that they shall issue a permit if you meet all requirements.
Process to Apply
To get a VA concealed firearm permit as a resident, you are required to apply to the circuit court in your town/city of residence.
- Print and complete a concealed firearm permit application (form SP-248) online here. You can also get an application from your local police department, or any circuit court. Make sure to have your completed application notarized.
- Obtain proof of competence with a handgun. This requirement is generally fulfilled by completing a handgun training course that involves live fire. The following are accepted ways to meet this requirement:
- Complete any hunter education or safety course approved by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or a similar agency of another state.
- Complete any National Rifle Association safety or training course.
- Complete any firearms safety or training course offered by a law enforcement agency, college, or organization that utilizes National Rifle Association or Criminal Justice Services certified instructors.
- Complete any law enforcement firearms safety or training course offered for security guards, investigators, special deputies, or any other law enforcement or security enforcement subdivision.
- Proof of current military service or honorable discharge (DD214 form) from the military.
- Evidence of participation in a firearms competition will meet this requirement.
- Bring the following items to the circuit court’s office to complete the application process:
- 2 copies of your certificate of competence with a handgun.
- A copy of your state issued I.D. or driver’s license.
- A self-addressed stamped envelope.
- Application fee: A check or money order for $50 made payable to the circuit court in your town of residence. They will also accept cash or debit/credit cards in person.
- After submitting these items, you’ll likely need to get a complete set of fingerprints taken at the circuit court. Virginia isn’t specific on this requirement, but we expect it’s required.
After these steps are completed, the circuit court is legally required to inform you in 45 days or less whether the permit has been approved or denied. A denial, whether it be for a new issue or a renewal, may be appealed.
To get a VA concealed firearm permit as a non-resident, you must request an application package from the Virginia State Police. The application package will provide requirement and qualification information, a Virginia State Police fingerprint card, a checklist, and a return envelope. See the checklist of items to be submitted with your application package here. Go here for more information on applying as a non-resident.
Request an application package in one of the following ways:
- By email from email@example.com.
- In writing by submitting a written request to the following address:
Firearms Transaction Center
Nonresident Concealed Handgun Permits
Criminal Justice Information Services Division
Department of State Police
P.O. Box 85141
Richmond, VA 23285-5141
Reasons an Applicant Won’t Be Approved
If the applicant meets any of the following conditions, his/her application is almost guaranteed to be denied:
- You are illegally in the United States.
- You’ve been convicted of a felony.
- You’ve been convicted of a violent crime, including domestic violence.
- You’ve been convicted of a crime punishable by a prison term greater than 1 year.
- You’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor offense, including DUI, in the last 5 years.
- You’ve been convicted of an offense involving narcotics or a controlled substance in the last 3 years.
- You are subject to a restraining order or other similar court order.
- You are a drug addict, habitual drunkard, an unlawful user of any controlled substance, or are determined to be of unsound mind.
- You have a mental illness.
- You’ve received voluntary or involuntary treatment in a psychiatric hospital, mental institution, or similar treatment facility for any reason.
- You are a fugitive from justice.
- You’ve been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
- You are subject to a firearms seizure order.
Location Restrictions for Carrying
It is unlawful to carry a handgun, even if you have a concealed carry permit, in the following locations:
- Federal buildings.
- Federal prisons.
- Jails, prisons, detention facilities, or other correctional facilities.
- Indian reservations.
- At any portion of the Hog Island Wildlife Management Area.
- On Buggs Island and parts of the Gaston Reservoir (Roanoke River).
- At any Tennessee Valley Authority controlled campground, recreational area, or other day use area.
- Post offices.
- At many family day homes – any prohibited location will have “no gun” signs to this effect.
- Military bases.
- School grounds, including some colleges and universities.
- At any school function.
- Houses of worship.
- Passed the security checkpoint at airports.
- Anywhere you decide to consume alcohol. You cannot carry a firearm if you consume any alcohol.
- Anywhere it is posted that firearms are prohibited.
Transporting a Handgun Through & Throughout VA
With a Concealed Carry Permit
If you have a VA or VA recognized concealed carry permit, you may transport a handgun in a vehicle while it is loaded and on your person.
Without a Concealed Carry Permit
If you do not possess a VA or VA recognized concealed carry permit, you must abide by the following guidelines when transporting a handgun through (from another state into VA) and throughout (within VA) the state:
- You must legally possess the firearm.
- The handgun must be secured in a container or compartment.
- Note: A compartment includes your vehicle’s glove compartment, center console, or any other area that possesses the ability to be closed.
Additional Notes About VA Handgun Law
Does VA Law Incorporate Stand Your Ground?
The Stand Your Ground law permits you to use force, and not retreat, when faced with a threat. Stand Your Ground protects your use of force, even deadly force, when used to protect yourself or others if you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death. To be protected under Stand Your Ground, you must be in a place where you have the lawful right to be.
Does VA Law Incorporate the Castle Doctrine?
The Castle Doctrine is similar to Stand Your Ground. The Castle Doctrine permits you to use force (even deadly force), and not retreat, when you’re in your own home. This again assumes you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death on yourself or others in your home.
This ‘castle’ is sometimes broadened to cover you when you’re in your yard, car, etc. Each state’s Castle Doctrine law is written differently – consult your state’s law to confirm if your state extends the meaning of a ‘castle’ to cover more than just your home.
Reciprocity – What State Permits Does VA Recognize?
ALL – VA recognizes all other states’ concealed carry permits, so long as the permit was issued to someone 21 years of age or older.
Reciprocity – Where is the VA Permit Recognized?
The VA concealed carry permit is recognized in the following states:
- April 9, 2017 – Map updated. The VA concealed carry permit is now recognized in GA.
- August 14, 2018 – Map updated. PA no longer honors VA permit.
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