Restoration of Civil Rights
Virginia moved to an automatic restoration of rights for non-violent felons effective July 15, 2013.
Restoration of rights restores the rights which are lost upon a felony conviction. The Secretary of the Commonwealth processes requests to the Governor for the restoration of civil rights. These include the rights:
- to vote
- to run for and hold public office
- to serve on juries
- to serve as a Notary Public
Restoration of civil rights does not include the right to possess or transport any firearm, or to carry a concealed weapon.
Criteria for Non-Violent Felon Restoration of Rights
You may be eligible for automatic restoration of civil rights if you
- Have been convicted of a non-violent felony in a Virginia court, or convicted in a U.S. District Court, military court or a court of another state or territory
- Have completed serving the prison sentence and been released from probation or parole; and
- Have paid all court costs, fines to the Commonwealth and restitution to the victims, satisfied all court-ordered conditions, and have no pending felony charges.
If you have had a past non-violent felony conviction(s) and have not had your rights restored to date you may request that your rights be restored in one of the following three ways:
- Complete the Online Request Form for Restoration of Rights
- Complete and mail in the Civil Rights Restoration Form
- Call the Commonwealth Hotline during normal business hours at 1-855-575-9177. Restoration of Rights staff will take the information needed over the phone to begin processing your request.
Restoration of Rights for Those with Violent/More Serious Felonies
To be eligible for restoration of rights by the Governor, an applicant who has been convicted of a violent felony must:
- Be a resident of Virginia, and/or have been convicted of a felony in a Virginia court, a U.S. District court or a military court
- Be free from any sentence served or supervised probation and parole for a minimum of five years for a violent felony or drug distribution, drug manufacturing offense, any crimes against a minor, or an election law offense.
- Have paid all court costs, fines, penalties and restitution and have no felony or misdemeanor charges pending.
- Not have had a DWI in the five years immediately preceding the application.
- Not have any misdemeanor convictions and/or pending criminal charges for five years for a violent felony or drug distribution, drug manufacturing offense, any crimes against a minor, or an election law offense.
The Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth website provides forms and instructions on how to petition the Governor for restoration of civil rights.