Virginia Register of Regulations FAQs

What is the Virginia Register of Regulations?

The Virginia Register of Regulations is Virginia's official state publication of regulations. The Virginia Register provides a snapshot of all regulatory activity happening in Virginia. The Virginia Register also includes general notices of state agency activity such as an administrative letter of the State Corporation Commission, a director's order of the State Lottery Department, or a consent order with the State Water Control Board.

What is the legal mandate for the Register?

The Virginia Register of Regulations is published pursuant to § 2.2-4031 and Chapter 41 of Title 2.2 (§ 2.2-4100 et seq.) of the Code of Virginia.

What are the sections of the Register?

Petitions for Rulemaking, Notices of Intended Regulatory Action (NOIRA), Regulations (Proposed, Final, Fast-Track, and Emergency), Guidance Documents, Governor's Executive Orders, and General Notices.

Where can I find a copy of the Virginia Register of Regulations?

The official Virginia Register is the pdf version found online at

How often is the register published?

Every two weeks (every other Monday). Future publication dates are listed online at under "Agency Quicklinks." View by selecting "Publication Deadlines."

How is the Virginia Register cited?

The Virginia Register is cited by volume, issue, page number, and date. For example, 28:2 VA.R. 47-141 September 26, 2011, refers to Volume 28, Issue 2, pages 47 through 141 of the Virginia Register published on September 26, 2011. A new volume starts after the publication of 26 issues for the prior volume. The first volume and issue of the Register was published on October 15, 1984.

I have a question/comment about a regulatory action in the Virginia Register, who should I contact?

Contact the agency directly with questions and comments. Each regulation in the Virginia Register lists the name, address, telephone number, fax number, and email address of an agency contact person. You can also find contact information on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall or post a comment during the public comment period at

What is a regulatory action?

A regulation is created, amended, or repealed through a regulatory action. A typical regulatory action goes through a three-step process, which is specified in the state law commonly referred to as the Administrative Process Act or APA. The length of time it takes to complete this process varies, but 18 months is average.

What is the Virginia Administrative Process Act?

The Virginia Administrative Process Act (APA) is the set of Virginia laws that provide the basic framework for regulatory actions in Virginia and is found at Chapter 40 of Title 2.2 of the Code of Virginia. The APA is designed to give state decision makers, businesses, and the public the opportunity to participate in creating regulations by providing recommendations and feedback. Article 2 of the APA (beginning with § 2.2-4006), in particular, sets out the steps of the regulatory process. This article includes requirements for (i) public notice and comment; (ii) public participation guidelines on how the public can be involved in the rulemaking process; and (iii) the Governor to publish procedures for executive review of regulations.

What is meant by "effective date"?

This is the date that a regulation goes into effect and must be followed.

What is a regulation?

A regulation is a law promulgated by a state agency. The General Assembly must pass a law authorizing or mandating a state agency to write regulations. Unlike statutes in the Code of Virginia, which change only when the General Assembly is in session, regulations change throughout the year.

What is the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall?

The Virginia Regulatory Town Hall (Town Hall) is a website managed by the Department of Planning and Budget. Through this website, most executive branch agencies submit regulations for review and approval of the Governor. Once through the review process, the regulation is sent to the Virginia Register for publication.

The Town Hall is another resource for tracking the progress of a regulation. You can sign up to be notified by email of regulatory activity and comment on regulations using the public comment forum.

However, not all regulations are found on the Town Hall. For example, the regulatory activity of the State Corporation Commission or the Marine Resources Commission is not on the Town Hall.

What is an emergency regulation?

Emergency regulations may be promulgated in emergency situations after consultation with the Attorney General and approval of the Governor. Emergency regulations are temporary in nature and may be effective for only 18 months unless extended by the Governor for an additional six months. Typically, public comment is not solicited on emergency regulations. Emergency regulations are published in the Virginia Register; however, since these regulations have limited duration, they are not included in the Virginia Administrative Code.

Where can I find emergency regulations?

To see emergency regulations currently in effect, go to the Virginia Register Emergency Regulations web page. Emergency regulations can be found on the website within two business days of the effective date.

Why aren't emergency regulations in the administrative code?

Emergency regulations are temporary, so they are not included in the Virginia Administrative Code.

What is a guidance document?

A guidance document is written by a state agency to interpret or clarify a regulation or statute. Unlike a properly promulgated regulation, a guidance document does not have the force and effect of law. To see if an agency has any guidance documents, go to the Virginia Register Guidance Document web page for more information. Guidance documents are also posted on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall.