This article will provide guidance on What Due Process Servers in Virginia Do? Virginia has its own set of procedures for how a defendant or plaintiff must be served with legal papers in order for the state’s courts to have jurisdiction over them in a specific case. The Virginia General District Court uses the terms ‘warrant’ and ‘notice of motion for judgment’ for the summons, depending on the case’s nature. A summons is the standard legal process in the Virginia Circuit Court. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

There are a few different ways to serve legal papers in Virginia, and they’re all ranked by law. Each potential technique of providing service must be exhausted before moving on to the next. To exercise jurisdiction over a party (such as a defendant), a court, or an administrative body, it is customary to serve them with the requisite notice of the pending legal action (also known as ‘service of process’). A process server is a person who physically delivers a bundle of legal papers (called ‘process’) to the person being served to provide notice. We at Undisputed Legal recognize the responsibility that serving your papers entails. We handle our clients’ documents with utmost delicacy and efficiency and are entirely accountable to you for your papers.  Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case.


Personal service of process may be made by any private person who is an adult, who is neither a party to the action nor interested in the subject matter, and who swears out an affidavit testifying to the time and manner of service if neither a waiver of service nor a request for a waiver of service is made. Typically, the sheriff is the one to serve legal documents, and they may do so on anybody within their jurisdiction. However, it is not always preferable to engage the services of the sheriff insofar as a law enforcement officer is often inundated with other documents, and your papers might not always come at the top of the priority list. Furthermore, keeping track of your documents is much more difficult in a sheriff’s office. However, we at Undisputed Legal ensure that you are kept in the loop every step of the way.  Click here for information on How Service of Process Ensures A Solid Foundation.

Personal service is the primary method that must be explored initially (or ‘actual’ service). A person who is merely in Virginia to participate in a civil matter is not immune from service. If someone is solely in Virginia to testify in a criminal case or before a grand jury, they will have this immunity, but a judge may remove it if necessary. Click here for information on How Process Servers Protect Your Rights: Myths Debunked

If the party is a natural person, that person must be served in person if possible; if not, many substitutes may be used. A party’s regular residence is an acceptable location for substituted service.  When no one is home to receive the paperwork, it might be left at the front door (or whichever door appears to be the main entrance). Liability under the Long Arm Statute

The plaintiff may also serve the defendant under Virginia’s long-arm legislation. The plaintiff must state in an affidavit that the defendant is not a resident of Virginia or cannot be discovered in Virginia with reasonable diligence and provide the defendant’s last known address for this method of service to be effective.  If a person or business is not properly served with court documents, they may ask the court to ‘quash’ the service of process and proceed with the case as if service had never occurred. However, in Virginia, if the person to whom the process was addressed receives it within the time limit set by law, the process will be considered adequate.

If you need legal papers served in Virginia, go no farther than Undisputed Legal. We are proud to serve clients across the country from our headquarters in Virginia, where our services are always discreet and reliable. To ensure that your legal papers are served in compliance with Virginia law, you can rely on our team of seasoned process servers in Virginia. Here at Undisputed Legal, serving our clients is always our priority. Every one of our customers may rest easy knowing that their court papers will be delivered promptly and expertly handled by a licensed process server. In addition, we provide a wide range of additional legal services in Virginia, including process service, skip tracing, court filings, and more.

PROCEDURE FOR process servers in Virginia 

Every action must begin with the plaintiff providing the clerk or other issuing officer with each defendant’s complete name and last known address or providing such salient information designed to identify such defendant with reasonable certainty. The issuer of the process must make a note of the address and any other identifying information provided in the official record or documents. 

If not otherwise specified, the clerk issuing such a process must deliver or send with it as many copies of the process as there are people mentioned to be served.  In state court, the plaintiff may seek a waiver of service in the same way they would in federal court by sending two copies of a request to waive service of process to the defendant, together with a form issued by the court and a prepaid envelope for return delivery. 

 Virginia defendants have thirty days to respond to the waiver request and another sixty days to submit a reply pleading. A defendant who lives outside of the state has sixty days to acknowledge service and another ninety days to respond to the lawsuit. If the defendant does not agree to waive service, the plaintiff may have to resort to more traditional methods of waiving service, and the defendant may be ordered to pay the expenses of serving.

All types of legal paperwork (summonses, complaints, divorce papers, family court documents, subpoenas, citations, small claims court cases, orders to show cause, petitions, discovery documents, landlord/tenant notifications, motions, and evictions) are served by our Virginia process service. We are a comprehensive process-serving agency in Virginia, serving clients including federal, state, and local governments, private law firms, individual lawyers, and members of the general public.

We work only with professional process servers in Virginia to ensure our customers get the highest quality process service possible. We provide service according to different times. Routine Service is offered when the server makes their first attempt at service within five to seven business days, and Rush Service can be opted for, wherein the first attempt at service will be made within forty-eight hours. We also offer service by mail, where the documents will be sent within twenty-four hours of receipt. 

While the start times may vary, be assured that no matter which level of service you choose (Routine or Rush), a process server in Virginia will make at least three (3) efforts to deliver your documents in the morning or afternoon and evening. 


A  process server must return the papers to the clerk’s office within seventy-two hours following service unless the return date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday. If a return is delayed because of a weekend or holiday, it will be due the next business day. The date and method of service and the named party must be included in the procedure. 

An affidavit must accompany any publishing of an order from the publisher or his agent stating the dates of publication. There will be no absolute verification of service of process upon a return. Both the sheriff’s return and the return of a qualified person are admissible as proof of the facts indicated. The affidavit may make proof of service of the person other than an officer who delivers a copy of the summons to the person summoned. Still, if served by a state, county, or municipal officer, his return shall be sufficient without an oath.  The clerk must prepare as many as may be needed and deliver them with the summons and copies of the complaint.

It is the duty of all persons eligible to serve process to do service within five days after receipt and make a return as to those served within seventy-two hours after the earliest service upon any party shown on each Proof of Service. Still, failure to make timely service and return does not prejudice the rights of any party. 

We provide GPS affidavits of service and email updates sent to you personally in ‘real time’ so that you are always aware of where your documents are. We also provide an email affidavit before serving your documents by mail. Additionally, new clients may get a free basic skip trace.

We exclusively employ seasoned process servers in Virginia who have met the most recent licensing, education, and bonding criteria established by the jurisdiction in which they serve the process. Undisputed Legal, Inc. tracks and serves court documents on elusive defendants and witnesses. 


Process service outside of Virginia on a nonresident must be treated the same as service on a resident of Virginia in cases where the court has jurisdiction over the nonresident. Depositions may be taken at any time after twenty-one days’ notice of the taking of the depositions has been personally served; however, service when no jurisdiction can be exercised, and no other than an order of publication duly executed, or the publication of a copy of process under this chapter, as the case may be. In the event that the party to whose process was served does not respond to the originating document within twenty-one days of service, the party will be considered to be in default. A party is not required to wait for a deposition notice to be served before proceeding with discovery if they do not submit a reply pleading within the time limit set by law. There is no service on Sundays allowed in Virginia. 

Within the authority of the sheriff or a private process server in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the service of process is typically handled. Warrants must be served no later than sixty days and no sooner than five days before the return day, whereas Unlawful Detainers must be served no later than ten days before the return day. If the defendant lives outside Virginia, service may be accomplished by sending a certified letter via the Commonwealth Secretary. When requesting assistance via the Secretary of the Commonwealth, it is recommended that at least six weeks be provided for the return date.

A private process server may serve most civil proceedings by the General District Court.  Each section of a private process server’s return should build upon the previous one, much like the sheriff’s return on the state forms’ backsides. Private process servers in Virginia may get the state’s ‘Service Other Than by Virginia Sheriff’ (form DC-411) and submit it with their return. 


Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed to ps@undisputedlegal.com, or uploaded to our website. We do require prepayment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.

Drop-offs must call and make an appointment first to be added to building security to permit access to our office. Documents for service must be in a sealed envelope with payment in the form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC.; Our receptionist will receive all documents.


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New Jersey: (201) 630-0114 – 101 Hudson Street, 21 Floor, Jersey City, New Jersey 07302
Washington DC: (202) 655-4450 – 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Suite 300, Washington DC 20004

Simply pick up the phone and call Toll Free (800) 774-6922 or click the service you want to purchase. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to assist you. We can handle all your process service needs; no job is too small or too large!  For a complete list of our Virginia Process Service Coverage Areas, Click Here!

Contact us for more information about our process-serving agency. We are ready to provide service of process to all our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C.

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”– Foster, William A


1. When service is made by posting, the plaintiff must send the defendant a copy of the process and attest that it was sent at least ten days before a default judgment is entered. The court will consider the party’s last known address to be their ‘usual place of habitation,’ therefore serving a tenant who has skipped out on paying the lease by posting and mailing notice to the apartment they have abandoned may be considered effective service.

2. The plaintiff is required to provide this to the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia as part of the service of process. Once the Secretary has the correct address, he or she will send a copy of the process through registered or certified mail and then submit a certificate to the court to confirm it was sent. Once it happens, the service is considered finished.

3. If the party to be served cannot be located at their usual place of abode, substituted service may be effected by delivering a copy of the process and explaining its nature to any adult resident of the same household other than a transient lodger or guest, who is present at the address in question;

4. Service by the sheriff, the form of the sheriff’s return as provided by the Rules of the Supreme Court; whether service is made in or out of the Commonwealth, his affidavit of such qualifications; date and manner of service; the name of party served; and an annotation that service was by a private server, along with the name, address, and telephone number of the private server who did the service.

5. Additional copies of the Proof of Service may be obtained from the clerk, and returns made similarly.

6. The attached summons with a copy of the complaint constitutes and must be served as one paper.

7. Any person authorized to serve process in the jurisdiction where the party to be served is located; or  any person 18 years of age or older who is not a party or otherwise interested in the subject matter of the controversy and, notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, such person need not be authorized by the circuit court to serve pro hac vice

8. According to the law, the individual tasked with the serving process has 72 hours to report to the Clerk’s Office.


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