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Virginia ABC > Licenses > Get a License > Licensing FAQs

Licensing System FAQs

What is the 2021 ABC Reform Act?

The Virginia General Assembly approved a new licensing a fee structure for the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority that streamlines the number and type of licenses ABC administers and is less complicated for licensees. Effective January 1, 2022, ABC licenses will be consolidated from 152 existing alcohol licenses to 71 in a set of 12 categories. This change reduces complexity and duplicative processes for businesses that manufacture, sell and/or serve alcohol.

 

These changes in ABC’s license and fee structure will also be reflected in ABC’s new VAL system.

 

What is the VAL system?

VAL stands for Virginia ABC Licensing. It is a state-of-the-art, online licensing system that will replace ABC’s paper application process. VAL consist of two modules: a back office, which allows ABC employees to complete their licensing functions; and a public facing portal, which allows customers to conduct their ABC-related business whenever it is convenient to them.

 

The back office module allows ABC employees to: 

  • Review, process and approve ABC license/permit applications, supporting documentation and associated fees.
  • Review, process and approve (as required) ABC license/permit amendments such as renewals, privilege changes and mixed beverage reporting requirements.
  • Manage and track routine inspections.
  • Review and track educational requirements for ABC licensees/permittees.
  • Track investigation and adjudication activities and outcomes regarding ABC license/permit compliance issues.

The public facing portal accessible through ABC’s website at www.virginiaabc.com allows customers to:

  • Submit and track license and permit applications.
  • Submit and track license and permit amendments such as renewals, privilege changes and mixed beverage reporting requirements.
  • Upload supporting documentation for applications and amendments.
  • Pay application, license and renewal fees.
  • Pay penalties.

 

When will the new VAL online portal be available?

The VAL back office module will go live for all ABC employees on January 3, 2022.

 

A portion of the public facing portal will be available beginning on that date for customers seeking to obtain any type of event license to include banquet, banquet mixed beverage special event, banquet special event, manufacturer event, mixed beverage club event and mixed beverage special event.

 

How and when will the VAL system be made available to current licensees and other people seeking new licenses?

ABC will use a phased approach to open the VAL portal to current licensee and to customers seeking new licenses. In January 2022, ABC will issue personal identification number (PIN) letters to different groups of license holders. This letter will explain the process for creating an account with ABC and gaining access to VAL. It will also explain how existing licensees can link their historic business information (that was converted from ABC’s old technology into the new VAL system) to their newly created account in VAL.

 

Can you explain how my historic information will be linked to my new VAL account?

The PIN letter you receive from ABC will consist of two parts. The first part will give instructions on how to create your account and link that account to VAL. The second part of the letter will have two columns of numbers – one column will be your records number(s) and the second column will be your PIN number(s). The number of information rows in the letter will depend on the number of separate records that relate to your business entity.

 

You will be instructed on how to navigate in the VAL system to get to the “matching records” screen and then how to input your record and PIN numbers. Once that is done, you can check to see that all your records have been related to your new account. Refer to the how-to video in VAL for a demonstration of this process. 

 

What should I do if I have a process question or technical problem with the VAL system?

ABC has created a production support team (PST) to assist customers with any issues they may encounter with the new VAL system. This team can be contacted at 804-213-4513, 844-694-9965 (toll free) or ABC-PST@virginiaabc.com.

The PST is equipped to answer simple questions. If they are unable to resolve the issue, they will create a service ticket and forward it to personnel with procedural or technical expertise. Those individuals will be responsible for getting back with you to resolve the issue.

 

When my business gets access to VAL, what will I be able to do?

Customers will have 24-hour, online access to ABC. Any action that previously required you to go to an ABC office or mail a form to ABC can be accomplished using the VAL system, including making payments. These online actions include:     

  • License transactions – application, renewal, modification, surrenders, etc.
  • Financial transactions – all payment of fees, fines, taxes, etc.
  • Hearings and appeals – reporting and correspondence
  • Training records – record training such as RSVP and MART

Other business transactions available through VAL include printing license certificates and other documentation, add users, update contact information and provide training records.

 

I already have a license and don’t anticipate getting a new one, but I’m very interested in the renewals process. What should I do?

Sixty days before your license expires you will receive an email notification. A new row will also appear on your “my records” page. That row will be your renewal record and there will be a “pay fees due renewal” button in the left column. Click that button and you will be directed to the “check out and pay” page where you will enter your credit card information. The entire renewal process should take less than three minutes.

 

What forms of payment are accepted?

Customers can use a credit or debit card. There are no transaction fees. VAL will not accept money orders or an e-check from a checking account. Customer may still send those type of payment in by mail, if required.

 

How do I change information related to my license, like a new board member, a change in my seating capacity or a request for a new privilege?

Navigate to your license record on your “my record” page. The “amendment” button in the left column will allow you to make those changes. Follow the prompt to submit your new information.  You will no longer be required to call or visit an ABC office to update this information.

 

Do I need a particular web browser to access the VAL system?

No, but we recommend you access VAL using Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. Also, if you use an Apple laptop, a Safari browser is not recommended. Customers are advised to use a laptop or desktop computer to navigate VAL since navigation with a mobile device could be challenging.

 

Will there be additional training opportunities?

ABC is planning to conduct several online tutorials. These will be recorded and posted on ABC’s website. There will also be links to how-to video tutorials. Even with no training or experience, the VAL portal is easy for most people to navigate.

 

What if I don’t have internet access?

In the rare case where a licensee (or potential licensee) does not have access to the internet, a waiver can be granted. An additional service charge will be added to all paper transactions.  Currently, using the VAL system is not mandatory. The paper application process will still be available.

 

What if I have more questions about these changes?

Please contact your ABC agent first. If they are unable to answer your question immediately, they will seek out an answer and get back to you.

 

 
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Need Help?

Special agents are the primary resource for questions related to operating a business with an ABC license. Contact a special agent via your regional ABC office.

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Bringing Personal Alcohol into Virginia?

Moving into Virginia? Returning from vacation? Learn more about bringing personal alcohol into the commonwealth.

Out-of-State Delivery

Apply for out-of-state delivery and out-of-bond permits using the Virginia ABC License Application (PDF).