The bar exam is the culmination of your legal education, and you have doubtless spent hours studying the ins and outs of the substantive material to be tested. But many students don’t realize that applying to take the bar can be a stressor in itself. The application process may seem daunting, but with a knowledge of what documents and information you need, you can focus your energy on studying for the test instead of stressing over the application.


Dates and Deadlines

The July 2023 Virginia Bar exam will be held over two days on July 25 (essay) and July 26 (MBE). The exam will take place at

Berglund Center (Roanoke Civic Center)
710 Williamson Road, NE
Roanoke, Virginia 24016
(540) 853-2241

You must file your application by May 10, 2023. Be sure to mail your application using Priority Express, Registered, or Certified U.S. Mail, or Next Day Delivery by a commercial carrier, and keep the receipt. You can still be “timely” if you can prove you mailed it before the deadline, even if the application is not received before the deadline.

The following notice is directly from the VBBE site regarding the statutory filing deadline:

See § 54.1-3925 of the Code of Virginia. If your application is not actually received in the Secretary’s office by the filing deadline (May 10 for the July exam; December 15 for the February exam), it may be deemed to be timely filed only if it has been transmitted expense prepaid to the Office of the Secretary of the Board by Priority, Express, Registered or Certified mail via the United States Postal Service, or by a third party commercial carrier for Next-Day Delivery, and the official receipt therefor issued by the United States Postal Service or by such third party commercial carrier, which shall be exhibited on demand of the Secretary, shows such transmission or mailing to the Secretary’s office on or before the prescribed deadline.

Priority, Express, Registered or Certified mail via the United States Postal Service or Next-Day Delivery by a third party commercial carrier are the ONLY methods of transmission or mailing authorized by the statute. Thus, an application sent by any other form of mail, such as First Class mail, CANNOT be accepted if it is received after the filing deadline, even if it is postmarked before.

Application forms should be filed no more than 90 days prior to the filing deadline, but must be filed by the statutory filing deadline in accordance with § 54.1-3925 of the Code of Virginia.


Laptop Registration

You may use your laptop for the essay portion of the bar if you register it beforehand. Laptop registration begins June 14, 2023. You must timely file ALL bar application materials before you will be prompted by email to sign up for laptop registration. The software you will use is Extegrity Exam 4, and you will be charged $125 for using your laptop. Otherwise, you must handwrite your essay questions.


Character & Fitness Questionnaire

You must submit a Character & Fitness Questionnaire along with your bar exam application. You are required “to produce to the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners evidence sufficient to satisfy the Board that the applicant is a person of honest demeanor and good moral character and possesses the requisite fitness to perform the obligations and responsibilities of a practicing attorney at law.” Answer the questions truthfully and completely, as any omission, untruthful answer, or incomplete answer may result in your being denied admission. Character & Fitness is an ONGOING process until you are licensed. That means you will need to notify the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners (VBBE) in writing of any C&F concerns that occur between submitting the Questionnaire and being licensed by the bar.

You will find a full list of C&F requirements here.


What is Required for the Virginia Bar Exam application?

The Virginia Board of Bar Examiners administers the bar in the Commonwealth. To find a complete list of what is required for applying for the bar, visit their application page. According to the VBBE, here’s what you will need:

Required for Every Test Taker:

You must provide your FULL LEGAL NAME exactly as it appears on your birth certificate, name change order, adoption decree, or naturalization or immigration documentation. If you are married or divorced and have changed your name, you must provide either a marriage certificate or divorce degree as proof of your full legal name. Make sure you have those documents handy, and if you need copies, request them from the Virginia Office of Vital Records (or the counterpart agency in whatever state). The VBBE WILL NOT accept a Social Security card, passport, or driver’s license as proof of your full legal name.

  • Social Security Number or Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Control Number

The VBBE uses this number to match up your MPRE scores with your bar exam scores.

  • Photo ID

Any photo ID will work for this — driver’s license or ID cards, school IDs, etc.

  • Exam Identification Photos

You need two current, identical, 2in x 2in passport-style photos attached to your application. See the requirements for those photos here. Personal snapshots are not acceptable.

You will need a copy of your FULL credit report dated within 60 days of your application submission from one of the three credit agencies: Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. These agencies are required to provide you with a free credit report once every 12 months.

  • DMV Record(s)

You need certified or uncertified DMV records from any state in which you have held a driver’s license in the last FIVE YEARS. So, if you have had more than one, you will need to contact the DMV from each state you’ve lived in. See a list of all state DMV websites here.

  • MPRE Score Report (if not previously submitted)

The MPRE (Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam) is a separate test. You must take and pass this test before or within two years of passing the bar exam. Visit the MPRE site to register and for more info.

The NCBE (National Conference of Bar Examiners) assigns individual 8-digit numbers preceded by “N” for each test taker (ex: N12345678). Go to the NCBE website to register and obtain your number.

  • Fees

There is a $575 application fee for the exam application, AND a $575 fee for the character & fitness application. Submit ONLY money orders, cashier’s checks, or certified checks made payable to “Virginia Board of Bar Examiners.” NO personal checks. You’ll have to go to the bank and stand in line to get these, so plan accordingly. You can submit one or more checks for the different fees.

Get your fingerprints taken by an authorized official (police agency, local court, fingerprinting agency). Will Thompson in the Dean’s Suite has fingerprint cards you can take to the UR Police Department. They offer free fingerprinting for all students. You can also request a card directly from the VBBE.

You’ll need to include a “Certificate of Legal Studies” if you have not yet graduated, or a “Certificate of Graduation” if you have, no later than two weeks prior to sitting for the bar. These are official documents from the school — unofficial transcripts don’t count. Contact the registrar to obtain these documents.

You need a copy of your birth certificate or naturalization papers (U.S. citizen). For non-U.S. citizens, you will also need a notarized “affidavit of non-immigration/immigration status”.

This one can be tricky, since it is likely you 1. can’t remember all the addresses you lived at, 2. can’t remember all the jobs you had, or 3. can’t track down people who can verify your employment if the employer is no longer in business. Here are a few tips to help you get those addresses:

Get your credit report – this should have a list of all your addresses for the last 10 years.

Get your tax documents – these should provide you with all the jobs you worked where you filed taxes.

Use LinkedIn – you can track down former bosses/coworkers to find folks who can verify your employment at a closed business.

Remember to use the current mailing addresses of your former employers, not the addresses of when you worked there!


The following documents may be required depending upon your circumstances:

If you need ADA accommodations for test taking, you must submit a petition and documentation — including documentation from your healthcare provider when necessary. See the VBBE’s guidelines on accommodations here.

If you are taking the bar in more than one state at one time, and would like to transfer your MBE scores from Virginia, you’ll need to fill out this form.

  • Marriage Certificate, Divorce Decree or Name Change Order for verification of current legal name

If applicable to prove name change.

  • DD214 – Military Report of Separation documents

If you were in the military, you will need to get your DD214 (available from Veterans Affairs).

If you need any of these documents, get in touch with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for more help.

Even if the felony charge was reduced or amended. You’ll need a copy of the original arrest warrant, indictment, and final sentencing orders.

  • Court Orders in regard to creditors, tax liens, and judgments

If applicable.

  • Bankruptcy Petitions

If applicable.

  • Defaulted student loan documentation

If applicable.

If any of the following inquiries applies to you, you will need a Licensed Healthcare Professional to complete this form. This does not apply to “situational counseling” (i.e. stress counseling, domestic counseling, grief counseling, and counseling for eating or sleeping disorders).

  • Within the past five (5) years, have you sought or been directed to seek treatment for your conduct or behavior that could call into question your ability to practice law in a competent, ethical, and professional manner?
  • Do you currently have any condition or impairment, including, but not limited to, (1) any related to substance or alcohol abuse, or (2) a mental, emotional, or nervous disorder or condition, which in any way affects your ability to perform any of the obligations and responsibilities of a practicing lawyer in a competent, ethical and professional manner? “Currently” means recently enough so that the condition could reasonably have an impact on your ability to function as a practicing lawyer.



Many of these documents will need to be notarized before mailing. The Dean’s Office will be hosting notary office hours to assist with bar applications. From now until Wednesday, May 10, notary services will be available from 12-1 p.m. (Monday through Friday). If you require notary services at an alternative time, please contact Katy Olney.


Submitting the Application

Use the VBBE’s online system to fill out the required application forms. You will be prompted to “Submit” your application once complete. NOTE: you MUST print out your final application and mail it in, along with all the necessary documentation and Character & Fitness Questionnaire.

Mail all applications to:

Office of the Secretary
Virginia Board of Bar Examiners
2201 W. Broad Street
Suite 101
Richmond, VA 23220


Good luck with your applications! 

Bar Exam Application Explained – July 2023

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