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TCA Certificate - Jeremy S.

Virginia provides concealed carry permits to non-residents who meet certain criteria, including the usual clean background check, plus the provision of a fingerprint card, photograph, and certificate of completion from an approved firearm safety course. Why, pray tell, would a resident of another state want an Old Dominion carry permit? Well, a Virginia non-resident permit is valid in 28 states thanks to reciprocity laws. Additionally, there is no requirement for travel to Virginia to complete the permit process. In fact, I completed a safety course and received the above certificate in little more than a half hour thanks to The Carry Academy. This course is also applicable for residents of Virginia, Oregon, Colorado, and Iowa looking to get their resident permits. . .

In at least the case of an Oregon resident with OR resident permit, also getting that Virginia non-resident opens up reciprocity to a lot more states. So even with a resident permit available to somebody in their home state, there are often reasons to get a Virginia non-resident permit as well. With a WA resident permit, adding a Virginia non-resident would allow me to carry in four more states.

For the purposes of using The Carry Academy to get a Virginia non-resident permit, this map will show all of the states that recognize it as valid. Just click on Virginia on the map and choose “Non-Resident” from the two options. Not only does this obviously allow you to carry in many states, but if you’re in one of the states that gives reciprocity, you may be able to carry in your own state with a Virginia non-res permit instead of your own resident permit. For example, in Texas. Make sure to verify this for your state, however! While you can carry in those other 27 states with a VA non-res, your state may legally require a resident permit for you to carry at home.

If legally applicable, there are many reasons one might want to get a VA non-res permit instead of a resident permit in one’s own state. It may cost less. Your resident state may have requirements that make getting a permit more difficult. For example, it’s often the case that various parts of the resident permit process must be done in person at designated locations, which could be an hour away or otherwise inconvenient due to business hours and such. It’s sometimes the case that a resident permit requires more hours of training and/or live fire time. Even in these states, if they accept the Virginia non-resident permit for their own residents then you’re good to go without a permit from your own state.

The Course

The Carry Academy’s online basic firearm safety course consists of a 30-minute video followed by a 20-question quiz. You must answer 15 of the 20 questions to pass it. The video is available to watch as many times as you’d like for 30 days, and if you don’t pass the test on the first attempt you shouldn’t be around firearms or pointy objects or hammers or vehicles have 30 days to take it ad nauseam until you succeed.

I was surprised to find a scrubber bar on the video and, sure ’nuff, you can skip right to the end. In fact, you can just click the “take the test” button at bottom to skip the video entirely and go straight to the test. This is actually pretty great, as the “Basic” in “Basic Firearm Safety Course” is no joke. It’s effectively geared toward people who are encountering a firearm for the very first time.

Naturally, I did watch the entire, 30-minute video for the purposes of this review though.

The Video


Overall the video was clean and simple and easy to follow. I have notes on some facts and statements that I took issue with, but realized I have to stop being so annoying and accept that it’s at a really basic, high level while covering a decent amount in 30 minutes. The video covers the following, discussing both revolvers and semi-autos where applicable:

  • Safety
  • Parts of the gun
  • Function
  • Loading
  • Shooting (position, grip, sights, trigger pull)
  • Cleaning
  • Legal

Nothing about how to physically carry a firearm — i.e. “concealed carry best practices” — so it’s not really a “how-to” carry video so much as it’s a very first lesson on handguns. Safety, use, and cleaning.

I was happy to see that it’s relatively current. The video teaches a thumbs-forward grip on a semi-auto, and a pretty square stance. Not completely isosceles, maybe, but significantly closer to that than to a Weaver. There were some minor technical inaccuracies or misstatements that made me mumble in frustration, but nothing that would affect a beginner.

The only real problem with the video, in my opinion, is when it delves into legalities of carrying concealed. It states something to the effect of “Do your own research, as laws vary state-by-state.” Great. But it then immediately proceeds to make all sorts of blanket statements about where one can and cannot legally carry a firearm, such as in churches and other religious institutions, how to legally transport a firearm in a vehicle, opinion/fact on open carry, etc. It was both specific and overly broad at the same time, in that it gave all sorts of specifics but they just aren’t applicable to all of the states in which you can carry with a Virginia non-resident permit.

Should have taken that ~4 minutes and shown how to break down a GLOCK to supplement the example Beretta 92, which is pretty unique in its field stripping.

The Test

If you’re reading this, it’s probably no surprise that little more than common sense is needed to pass the test. Most firearm safety rules are, of course, simply common sense. If this isn’t your very first exposure to firearms, skip the video and go straight for the test. There’s almost no chance on earth you won’t pass, and if you don’t you can always take it again. For the purposes of the certification, it’s pass/fail.

Don’t overthink it. I got one wrong, just like in that Washington Times quiz, for overthinking the question. Well, overthinking the answers, really. Interestingly enough, it was also on one of the few questions that was shooting related rather than safety related.


The correct answer is the pad of your finger. As in, the part with the fingerprint on it. That wasn’t one of the choices. It was clearly one of two — the tip of your finger, or the “dent” of your first finger joint. At first I felt like, by “tip,” they meant the part that you would poke somebody with, but then I thought maybe they were trying to say pad after all. I mean, the joint ain’t right. That first joint pull was common advice for heavy, double action triggers though, so maybe I have too much target shooting on the brain. Of course, not as many people are carrying DAO revolvers these days either.


Well, 19/20 ain’t too shabby.


In the photo above, it shows that I took 3 minutes and 50 seconds to complete the test. Had I not decided to watch the video for the purposes of the review here, that and $49.95 would have been my investment to achieve the basic safety certification necessary for a Virginia non-resident CCW. The “Virginia State Police” link seen in that screen shot took me right to the relevant page for requesting my non-resident CCW application. It’ll take $100 plus a fingerprint card (which the Virginia State Police will mail to you), photos, and filling out a form. Plus, of course, you’ll need to print out the Certificate of Completion that you have earned from The Carry Academy and include that in the envelope as well.

Congratulations, you may now CCW in 28 states. Or, if this would be to supplement a resident permit that you already have, that carry map can help determine how many, if any, more states you could carry in with the Virginia non-res.

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  1. It wouldn’t have worked in my state, but I did successfully complete my course for this state online. Unfortunately the cost here was $100 vs $50 if you sat in a classroom but it was a lot nicer completing from home over 3 nights instead of spending 5 hours in a classroom.

  2. Save yourself a few bucks. offers practically the same course for $19.99.

    I took the course in 2012 and my significant other just took it yesterday.

  3. Too bad my resident CHL wouldn’t alleviate the background check, and fingerprinting, as I had to go through all of that already.

  4. There are many paths to a carry permit in Virginia. One of them is a hunter’s education certificate. If you have a hunter’s ed certificate that is recognized by Virginia just send a copy in with the application no additional course and cost needed. Virginia is more interested in safe handling knowledge than anything else. Honestly I think meeting the requirements for hunting license is better from the States point of view than a minimal CCW course. All a permit allows you to do is carry a weapon and in extremis use it. A hunting license is a permission slip to fire weapons at living things in a public place. That requires much more SA than walking around waiting for that DGU that is mostly likely never going to happen.

    • It’s been a few years since I took it (it’s a prerequisite for getting a hunting Iicense) but if I remember correctly it’s free too. It’s a really dry class but can’t beat free.

    • Me and a bunch of my friends got Virginia CHL’s while we were stationed overseas in Europe. Send in a copy of your LES, get the MP’s to do your fingerprints, and mail in $100 and a passport photo and a month later you are good to go. The Virginia CHL actually gets me 1 more state than my Texas one, I think W. Virginia or Ohio.

  5. Virginia wouldn’t add much, but getting an Illinois permit would help me, since I live in Florida. Maybe I’ll travel around the US for the sole purpose of getting non-resident permits in every state that offers them.

    • As a floridian with a resident CCW permit, getting the Virginia non-resident permit would provide reciprocity in Wisconsin (which does not honor a Florida permit). If travelling to/through Wisconsin while carrying concealed is something you may have to do, might be worth your while

  6. Check your state laws, Kansas will only recognize Kansas permits if you are a resident. You cannot carry with any non-resident ccw if you are a Kansas resident. Lucky for us, that should not matter in a few weeks. I got my non-res Virginia permit with my DD 214.

  7. I took my online course at Concealed Handgun Classes LLC in 2012 at a on sale cost of $19.95. I could have passed the test without watching the video. Took my certificate to the Clerk of the Court along with $50 and once I filled out the application, I got my permit in the main in exactly 2 weeks. If you are ex military or ex law enforcement, no classes are necessary and you just have to pay the $50 and complete the application. Since Virginia never outlawed open carry, we have that freedom without any permit.

  8. Interesting. I haven’t taken the Texas CC course because I didn’t want to spend half my weekend messing with the classroom training but this sounds excellent. I’ll just have to figure out how to get an acceptable fingerprint card.

    • It’s not “half your weekend.” The Texas concealed carry course is 4 to 6 hours long, rarely goes much beyond the short end of that range, and there’s no longer a renewal course requirement. On weekends, classes often start at 8:00 a.m., so at worst you’re talking most of one morning, one time.

      Now, even though a CHL instructor, I don’t believe there should even be a license requirement in the first place. Nevertheless, we needn’t exaggerate things here.

    • If you’re doing a VA non-resident permit, following the link to the VA state police gives you the info to request an application packet that they’ll mail to you. In there they actually include the fingerprint card.

  9. “Reciprocity” implies an agreement between two states to accept each other’s permits. “Recognition” is a unilateral action by a state to accept permits from one or more jurisdictions.

    For example, Texas recognizes permits issued by Massachusetts, but MA does not recognize permits from TX. So, there is no “reciprocity,” just unilateral recognition.

    If the relationship between TX and MA was reciprocal, then a permit from one state would allow a person to carry in both. This is not the case.

    Reciprocity was once the only way a person could carry while present in a state where he did not reside. Now, the trend appears to be that free states will recognize permits issued by many states or every state.

    I hope that reciprocity will eventually be consigned to the dustbin of history and that the right of the people to keep and bear arms will be fully restored, first through universal recognition and eventually through Constitutional Carry everywhere.

  10. Very few states honor our NYS permit as NYS does not honor theirs. So we all take FLA and Utah that’s gets us carry in around 38 states.

    • NY State is recognized by 22 states….certainly nothing like Utah, Florida, or even Virginia but not bad. Our state may be jerks but at least other states choose to recognize our permit without reciprocity in full going both ways….that said I’m sending in my VA non-resident application on monday since its a good deal and covers a handful of states I will end up visiting. Wish it were valid in NYS but that will never happen. Anyways Virginia State Police were super nice to me and provide lots of details online, was surprised they treat a mere mortal like me so nicely 🙂

  11. I had a Temporary Detainment Order last year from a bad bout of depression (however, I not that I was not suicidal; I was legitimately seeking help from stopping wanting to be there, but they kidnapped me anyways).

    I looked on the Concealed Carry Permit form for VA and it legitimately asks if I had a TDO within the last five years. Am I disqualified for four more years because I just sought honest help that went overboard?

    • Sorry for your troubles. I can certainly sympathize with that, here in NYS you look at a psychiatrist or therapist wrong and you could loose all your rights. Your going to have to go back to the Court that ordered the TDO and ask if your firearms rights were restored or not…they might not have been…if they have not been restored you will need to prove you are mentally healthy enough and have supporting documentation by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental services. I do not believe the 5 year period is a limiting factor if you have the certificate, I believe in many cases after the TDO expires + documentation you are good to go….Not a lawyer at all but I’ve read some of these statutes (a bit tedious). Stay safe.

      • EDIT: Wouldn’t let me submit edited post:

        Sorry for your troubles. I can certainly sympathize with that, here in NYS you look at a psychiatrist or therapist wrong and you could loose all your rights. Your going to have to go back to the Court that ordered the TDO and ask if your firearms rights were restored or not…they might not have been…if they have not been restored you will need to prove you are mentally healthy enough and have supporting documentation by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental services. I do not believe the 5 year period is a limiting factor if you have the certificate, I believe in many cases after the TDO expires + documentation you are good to go. If you are denied by the VSP you have 21 days to appeal with the circuit court of the county or city in Virginia that denied the permit…not sure how that works for non-resident permits but I know its routed through the VSP and in all likely hood you’d have to appeal the decision through the circuit court in which the VSP HQ or Firearms transaction center is located..the latter is just a guess but I know from unrelated lawsuits in the past against a state agency its best to start with the county (or independent city in the case of VA) in which the state police is primarily located in….Not a lawyer at all but I’ve read some of these statutes (a bit tedious). Stay safe.

  12. “Not only does this obviously allow you to carry in many states, but if you’re in one of the states that gives reciprocity, you can carry in your own state with a Virginia non-res permit instead of your own resident permit.”

    Be very careful with this! I looked into it further for my wife and in speaking with a friend (who is a veteran cop and licensed CCW instructor) I found out that if you are caught carrying in your state of residence and did not get a permit for your state, you can get in big trouble… it doesn’t matter if you have a non-resident permit that is accepted in your state, you still need YOUR STATE’s permit if you are a resident…

    • It depends on your state, while Illinois did not have a carry permit you could get a Utah permit and carry, now the law is you have to have an Illinois permit.

  13. Be very careful going the nonresident license route.

    If you don’t take your home state’s course, you’re not getting instruction in your home state’s laws. Sure, you can go read up on them and there are many excellent sources (I recommend those by Alan Korwin at, but will you? Probably not.

    Moreover, state reciprocity agreements can and do change. A state recognizes another’s carry license if that other state’s licensing program meets the first state’s standards. Well, standards change, either increased by the first state or decreased by the second state.

    Do you keep up to date on each state’s standards? Probably not. Do you know who does? Your state. If the standards change, your state may withdraw reciprocity and your license is no longer recognized. This happened last year between Nevada and either WV or KY. If your license is no longer valid, then you instantly become just another criminal illegally carrying a firearm, which could carry some legal consequences.

  14. Thanks for those notes on carrying in one’s home state with only a non-res permit from elsewhere. This is legal in some places and not in others. I’ll amend the text to make sure that people know they NEED to verify.

  15. I already have a license issued from my state and getting Virginia’s online out of state license doe not gain me any more states other than what is granted by my own states’ reciprocity.

    As a matter of fact there are 3 or 4 states that don’t recognize VA out of state license that does recognize my states’.

    It may be good for people of other states, but not mine.

    I hear that this company is trying to push for online training to be accepted in every state.

    If all states recognized some type of online training that would be akin to a National Reciprocity.
    Would save us from having to push an NP through congress.

  16. I’m curious; does the Virginia non-resident permit specify U.S. citizenship as a requirement now? I ask because years ago, a former colleague who was/is very STRONGLY Pro-carry ( I’m solidly in the “Pro” camp too…he was/is pretty over-the-top about it though) and could not obtain a permit anywhere in the country….our country, Canada, where NO ONE gets a permit to carry, not even LEO’s off-duty. He so desperately wanted to be able to legally carry a sidearm, that he ultimately obtained a CCW permit from….you guessed it, Virginia. From that point forward, he & his wife spent every vacation in Virginia, eventually bought a small cottage on a lake somewhere down there to reduce hotel costs. All of that for about 6 weeks a year when they would travel a couple thousand miles, retrieve the firearms he paid a local gunshop to store, and he would then spend his vacation in CCW Nirvana, carrying his .45 Government concealed and doing it legally.

    As deeply as I wish we were able to obtain carry permits in Canada, we cannot, and it struck me as being a great deal of hassle to go through. I also questioned the legitimacy of him obtaining this permit, thinking it was not something that could be accomplished as a Foreign National.

    I challenged him about it on that basis, and to his credit, he showed me all of the paperwork he completed to obtain the permit…nowhere did it ask the citizenship question. Now, this was in the late 1980’s, a lifetime ago for many. Is that still the case? Does the State of Virginia still issue to those who are not citizens of the U.S.? Does any State for that matter?

    I know that there are many resident Aliens in the U.S. with various permits, however I’m assuming that some at least are obtained through acts of omission as opposed to full disclosure on their part. I am merely curious; I have no intention of planning our next vacation to centre around Virginia just so I can expedite a permit of my very own

    • If you are from Canada you can carry (openly) in Washington, for certain purposes, without any permit or anything required. Of course if any ol’ state will do, you could always just go to one of the states (I think there are 5 now, maybe soon to be 6?) that has constitutional carry; then you could carry concealed all you like.

  17. NC does us pretty good. Already gives me Utah but if I get a non resident Utah permit I can carry in MN. Besides that it’s just a matter of getting an IL, OR and ME.

  18. Oregon’s probably the best state when it comes to affordable online courses, and certifications that carry over into other states. The Oregon State Sheriff’s Association even provides CHL education training online at

  19. I’m a big supporter of these online CHL training courses. Oregon is one of the best states for obtaining a CHL quickly and easily. Online courses are accepted, which is great – even the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association provides online CHL education on their website:

  20. If looking to go thru Virginias online course to receive my licence due to cost and time, why wouldn’t it hurt after receiving it to take Texas’ course to learn my local laws right . So wouldn’t that quite the ones who say it’s irresponsible?

  21. I have been doing tons of research and still a bit confused. I am a resident of the state of Nebraska. So if I take an online training course and apply as a non resident Virginia conceal carry I am good to go right?

  22. At first glance the ad from National carry academy implies your can get a CCW permit valid in all states. This is blatant FALSE advertising, designed to sucker those living in states like NY, NJ or CA into paying over $100 for a permit useless in their state. . FACT. The VA carry permit you get is NOT valid in almost half the states. It’s recognized in 26 States. Too bad if you live in one of the other 24.
    Another Warning flag: They also list an invalid 800 phone number.
    Therefor, if you live in 1 of the 24 states not recognizing Non Resident VA carry permits, then treat this company like the Corona virus: AVOID IT!

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