Virginia Board of Bar Examiners

2201 W. Broad Street • Suite 101 • Richmond, VA 23220-2022
Telephone: 804-367-0412 • Fax: 804-367-0416

Character & Fitness Questions


Show All | Hide All | Click individual question to toggle answer.

How soon may I submit my completed Character and Fitness Questionnaire?

Your Character & Fitness Questionnaire MUST be simultaneously submitted with your Application. Your Application and Character & Fitness Questionnaire should be filed NO MORE than 90 days prior to the filing deadline, but the absolute deadline for submission is May 10 for the July exam and December 15 for the February exam in accordance with § 54.1-3925 of the Code of Virginia.

If I have an unresolved character and fitness issue, may I take the exam before it is resolved?

Most applicants who submit a timely filed application are permitted to sit for the bar exam. Frequently character and fitness investigations are still in progress as the exam date approaches. If you have any outstanding issues, you will be notified by your Character & Fitness investigator before or after the bar exam. Failure to comply with any request by your investigator may result in a delay of processing your application or may necessitate a hearing before the Character & Fitness Committee. Should a matter appear extremely serious, it may be brought to the Board or the Character & Fitness Committee for action before the exam and a determination will be made if you are eligible to sit for the bar exam. All character and fitness issues must be resolved to the satisfaction of the Committee or the Board before an applicant who passes the exam can be licensed. See Section III: Character & Fitness Requirements of the Rules of the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners (Rules).

Why is my credit of concern to the Board?

A lawyer is regularly called upon to handle a client's funds or to advise a client with respect to money management issues. A history of credit problems (delinquent credit card or other charge accounts, missed loan or rent payments, etc.) indicates an applicant's apparent lack of financial responsibility. The Board requires that credit problems be cleared before you can be licensed.

Can I take the exam if I have filed for bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is in itself not a disqualifying factor, but the Character and Fitness Committee and the Board will look at the apparent reasons for the bankruptcy to determine whether there may be disqualifying financial responsibility factors.

Can a convicted felon take the Virginia bar exam?

Conviction of a felony is not an absolute bar to taking the Virginia bar exam, but it is a factor which will be considered in determining whether a person can prove by clear and convincing evidence that he/she possesses the requisite good character and fitness to qualify for admission to the Virginia bar. The Board's Character and Fitness Committee considers the nature of the crime, how long ago it was committed, the punishment, and positive contributions to society since the conviction. A pardon or a restoration of the person's civil rights is certainly a positive factor. For a listing of all the factors which are considered, see the Board's Rules.

Do both copies of the Character & Fitness Questionnaire have to be signed?

Yes. Both copies of your Character & Fitness Questionnaire need to be ORIGINALLY signed by the applicant and by the notary public.

What do I need to provide for a traffic violation?

Provide the original charge and date, final disposition and date, court, county and state in which it was received.

How do I list my loans if they have been consolidated?

Loans from one lender (or servicer) can be consolidated into one line item. Disbursement dates may be listed as a period of time and the dollar amount may be listed as the total principal amount.

When providing student loan detail for the Character & Fitness Questionnaire, can I print and submit my student loan detail from my lender in lieu of filling out the chart on the questionnaire?

No. Each question on all applications must be completed by the applicant. It is not your Character & Fitness investigator's responsibility to extract the information from any statements or reports.

How long is my Character & Fitness Questionnaire valid?

A Character & Fitness Questionnaire is valid for a four-year period from the date it was RECEIVED in our office.

If I reapply, do I have to complete a new Character & Fitness Questionnaire?

A new Character & Fitness Questionnaire is REQUIRED if your PRIOR Character & Fitness Questionnaire was RECEIVED more than four (4) years ago. If you submitted your Character & Fitness Questionnaire less than four (4) years ago, a Character & Fitness Update form is required with your application.

What kind of documentation do I need to submit if I need to update or make a change to my Character & Fitness Questionnaire?

Any correction, change or update to your Character & Fitness Questionnaire must be made in writing and may be faxed or mailed to our office. Please reference your name and the exam you have applied for on any documentation you submit.

You DO NOT need to complete a Character & Fitness Update Form to notify us of a correction, change or update to your Character & Fitness Questionnaire on file for the current bar examination. Character & Fitness Update Forms are ONLY required when you are simultaneously submitting a new application, re-application, or carry forward application to sit for the Virginia bar examination and a fully completed Character & Fitness Questionnaire was previously submitted less than four (4) years prior.

When do I use the Character & Fitness Update Form?

A Character & Fitness Update Form is a supplement/update to a previously filed Character & Fitness Questionnaire. If your previously filed Character & Fitness Questionnaire was received less than four (4) years prior, a Character & Fitness Update Form, with all attachments, is required to be submitted simultaneously with each new application, re-application, or carry forward application you file to sit for the Virginia bar examination. There is no fee associated with the Character & Fitness Update form.

How recent do my credit report and driving records need to be?

A current credit report and driving record are required with all Character & Fitness Questionnaires and Character & Fitness Update Forms. All credit reports and driving records must be dated within 60 days of the date they are submitted to this office.

From which states do I need to provide a driving record?

A driving record is required from all states where you are currently licensed and ANY other state where you have been licensed in the last five (5) years. Your driving records DO NOT need to be certified and can be ordered through a third-party servicer such as

Can any part of my Character & Fitness Questionnaire be faxed or emailed?

No part of any application can be received by fax or email. If you have a change in status, correction or update to an complete application that is currently on file, you may mail or fax such change. Please reference your name and the exam you have applied for on any information submitted.

What sample of questions are asked on the Character & Fitness Questionnaire?

Click here for an example of the Character & Fitness Questionnaire.

Copyright © - Virginia Board of Bar Examiners