Rights Restoration in Virginia

Virginia rights restoration system remains harsh, even though local organizers had a major victory in May 2013, which allows the Governor to automatically restore the rights of people with “non-violent” convictions.

The system remains punitive, denying returning citizens their dignity, and humanity.

Help Virginians restore their rights, demand blanket automatic restoration, and fight for a permanent solution—a constitutional amendment.


Since the publication of this guide, positive changes to the civil rights restoration process in Virginia have been put in place by Governor McAuliffe’s Administration. We strongly encourage you to review these new changes as you follow this free self-help resource, which contains information and forms that you might need to have your rights restored. Specifically, there have been two main policy changes made:

1.      All drug-related felonies have been moved into the “non-violent conviction” category (as referenced on page 6 of the guide).

2.      The waiting period for applications for individuals with “violent convictions” has been cut from five (5) years to three (3) years (as referenced on page 8 and throughout the “Five Year Application Section beginning on page 15). 

You can find updated information about these new changes at on the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website at https://commonwealth.virginia.gov/judicial-system/restoration-of-rights/

We commend you for your courage and diligence in pursuing the restoration of your civil rights and/or assisting others in regaining their rights.  We hope you find the information in this guide, along with the information on the VA Restoration of Rights website www.takebackmyvote.org, to be helpful in support of your efforts!