The Commonwealth of Virginia lies midway along the United States’ Atlantic coast. From the Atlantic to the mountains and valleys of its western reaches, Virginia has five distinct geographic regions: the low Tidewater coastal plain, the rolling hills of the Piedmont in the center of the state, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Ridge and Valley Region, and the Cumberland Plateau. Temperatures in the Tidewater are warmer and milder, while the mountains can be cold and snowy in winter. Statewide average monthly temperatures range from the mid-20s to the high 80s.
Thanks to its favorable climate and good harbors, Virginia was the first permanent English colony in North America, earning its nickname: Old Dominion. Disease, starvation, and war with Native Americans killed nearly half of the early colonists, but demand for Virginia tobacco brought more settlers and eventual prosperity. Labor was first provided by indentured servants, but shifted to African slavery by the late 1600s. On May 15, 1776, Virginia became one of the first of the 13 colonies to declare independence from England. Virginia also saw the end of the American Revolution, when the English were defeated by combined American and French forces at Yorktown. Because of its large slave population, Virginia joined the Confederacy during the Civil War; that war also ended in Virginia, at Appomattox Court House. During the war, Virginia’s northwestern counties had formed the new state of West Virginia and joined the Union.
Today, Virginia is bordered by West Virginia on the northwest, Kentucky on the west, Tennessee on the southwest, North Carolina on the south, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and Maryland and Washington D.C. on the northeast. Richmond is its capital, and Virginia Beach is its largest city. Its economy, once reliant on tobacco, is now highly diversified and includes federal government employment, shipbuilding, seafood harvesting, agriculture, livestock, and technology. It is ranked #9 in both business environment and opportunity, and has 16 of the nation’s top 100 wealthiest counties by median income.
With a population of nearly 8.5 million and an area of nearly 42,000 square miles, Virginia is the 12th most populated, 35th largest, and 14th most densely populated state. It has 95 counties and 38 independent cities. Unlike any other state, Virginia gives its independent cities the same political status as counties. An independent city may be the county seat of a separate county. Other municipalities in Virginia are incorporated towns; these are always part of a county. Two counties – Charles City County and James City County – may have “city” in their names, but they are actually counties. Three independent cities – Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake – have larger populations than any county, and only Arlington County is among the top 10 subdivisions by population. Chesapeake Bay, which accounts for most of Virginia’s Atlantic coast, separates the eastern counties of Accomack and Northampton from the rest of the state.
Virginia’s long history and unique set of county and city governments create and rich, complex source of state, city, county, and local public records. They may be found by visiting our directory below of all types, including birth certificates, county and city courthouse locations, and vital records.
|8,411,808 (2016 est.)
|42,774 sq. mi
|Primary languages spoken
|Mark Warner, Tim Kaine
|U.S. House Delegation
|7 Republicans, 4 Democrats
|Eastern: UTC -5/-4
Browse by Public Record Category
There are two types of public records: 1) personal public records that document major life milestones such as birth certificates, death certificates, divorce records, and marriage records, etc.; and 2) government records that are made public such as property tax records, recorded land records, voter records, crime data, jail inmate records, and court records. The Freedom of Information Act is a national law that releases government agency public records and makes it possible to view most public records. Since there are a multitude of records available, it can be difficult to know how or where to access them.
Virginia enacted its first public records act in 1968, and it has been amended several times since. The current law, the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, has exemptions are grouped into broad categories. Exemptions are not mandatory; agencies are permitted to release records that are covered by the law. Agencies must respond within 5 days. Virginia has another law called the Virginia Public Records Act, which governs the management and preservation of records; the state library publishes a guide to the act.
When you are ready to start your search, you’ll find our Public Records Directory website easy to use since all of the records can be searched by federal, state, county, city, town, or type of record. The links provided will connect you to the best website for the record search, provide details about the record, or provide contact information for those records without search capabilities.
Find Virginia Statewide Public Records
Fast access to Virginia public record sources at the state level.
Additional Virginia public records links can be found on our Virginia county and city level pages using the navigation links above.
- Virginia Land Records and Deeds Directory
- Virginia Foreclosures and Tax Lien Sales Directory
- Virginia Assessor and Property Tax Records Directory
- Virginia GIS and Mapping Directory
- Virginia Genealogy Records Directory
- Virginia Birth Records Directory
- Virginia Death Records Directory
- Virginia Marriage Records Directory
- Virginia Divorce Records Directory
Community Health & Safety
- Virginia Sustainability and Environmental Health Directory
- Virginia Traffic Cameras and Reports Directory
- Virginia Crimes and Crime Data Directory
Jobs & Employment
Criminal and Court Records
- Virginia Warrants Directory
- Virginia Jail and Inmate Records Directory
- Virginia Sex Offender Registration Directory
Licensing and Permits
- Virginia Business Licenses Directory
- Virginia Contractor Licenses Directory
- Virginia Professional Licenses Directory
- Virginia Bar Associations Directory
- Virginia Permits and Inspections Directory
Codes, Regulations, & Other
Other Virginia Public Records
Some unique types of public records found in Virginia include CPA licenses, state library archives, and unclaimed property. Virginia also has some unusual laws. The state motto may be “Virginia is for Lovers” but it’s really only for married lovers. Beware, single lovers - sexual intercourse by an unmarried person is illegal in Virginia. More examples of public access records available in Virginia may be found below.
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia
-  https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/virginia
-  Code of Virginia, Title 2.2, Chapter 37 – Virginia Freedom of Information Act
-  Code of Virginia, Title 42.1, Chapter 7 – Virginia Public Records Act
-  Guide to the Virginia Public Records Act
-  Code of Virginia, Section 18.2-344 - Fornication
|State of Virginia Home Page
Search State of Virginia agencies by agency name, first letter or keyword.
|Alcoholic Beverage Control Licensee Search
Search Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control retail license records by license number, effective date, establishment type, establishment name or city.
|Bids and Requests for Proposals
View Virginia bids and Requests for Proposals by title including published date, closing date and recent awards.
|Campaign Finance Reports
View reports for all candidates for the Virginia General Assembly and for statewide office by year, candidate name, office and party.
|Census Information Summary
Virginia statistics for population, ethnicity, housing, geography and businesses. From the U.S. Census Bureau.
|Clandestine Drug Laboratory Register
View addresses of some locations in Virginia where law enforcement agencies reported they found chemicals or other items that indicated the presence of either clandestine drug laboratories or dumpsites.
|Contractor License Search
Search Virginia contractor license records and complaint history by name or license number.
|Court Records and other Resources
Links to state and local court records, general Virginia court information, directory of courts, and online resources for courts in Virginia.
|CPA License Search
Search Virginia Board of Accountancy's CPA license records by license type, status, name, license number or zipcode.
|DEA Most Wanted
View listings and photos of the most wanted fugitives of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington DC Division. This area handles West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC.
Search the Virginia State Bar Association records of disciplined attorneys by name.
|Employment Background Check Laws
View Virginia state law regarding the Federal FCRA and employer use of employment background checks.
View Virginia environmental programs such as air quality, water quality, laws, permits, and more.
|Health Professions License Search
Search Virginia Department of Health Professions License Registry by license number or name.
|Library of Virginia Archives
Search Library of Virginia online catalog, archives and manuscripts, business records, military records, election records, land records, genealogical resources, maps, and more.
Search the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website by name, city, date range or physical description.
Search Virginia obituary records by name of deceased, publication date or obituary text.
View Mathews County ordinances by chapter.
|Public Education Resources
View Virginia Department of Education information about programs including links to school divisions.
|Restaurant Inspection Search
Search Virginia restaurant inspection scores by county or city.
|Virginia Professional and Occupational Licensing Directory
Complete directory of all professional and occupational licensing agencies in the state of Virginia.
|Voter Registration Search
Search Virginia voter registration records by name, date of birth and county.
View Virginia Department of Corrections wanted fugitives by name including photos, offense and details.
View Virginia State Police wanted persons by name including photos and reason for warrant.