Simple Pardons

A simple pardon is an act by the Governor on behalf of the Commonwealth where official forgiveness is granted for a crime for which a person has been convicted. The Virginia Governor’s power of executive clemency only extends to Virginia convictions. The Office of the Governor has no jurisdiction over expungements, out-of-state convictions, or federal convictions. 

Eligibility criteria to request a Simple Pardon:

  • You must be free of all conditions set by the court (including any probation period, suspended time, or good time behavior) on all convictions followed by a waiting period of five years.
  • If any felony was involved, you MUST have been granted your Restoration of Rights before appealing for the pardon. 

How to request a Simple Pardon:

  • Complete the Virginia Pardon Petition Questionnaire
  • As requested on the questionnaire, provide additional information related to your juvenile and adult criminal record, sentencing information, employment history, educational background, military service, community service, as well as the reason you feel the governor should grant you a simple pardon.

You must answer all questions and provide all relevant information necessary for your petition to be reviewed. If a question does not apply, put N/A in the blank.

Documents (or copies of documents) submitted to our office for pardon consideration cannot be copied or returned. For this reason, please be sure to retain copies of all documents sent to our office.

To ensure an accurate petition, it is recommended that you obtain a copy of your criminal history from the Virginia State Police Criminal Records Division prior to submitting a pardon request.

The petition process does not include a hearing, meeting or conference with the petitioner or persons on the petitioner’s behalf. There is no reliable method of predicting how long a pardon petition investigation will take to complete. The investigation process may take a year or longer.

If a pardon is granted, a notation will be added to the criminal record showing the word “pardon” next to the conviction. A pardon does not remove the conviction from a criminal record.

If a petition is denied, the petitioner cannot appeal the decision but the petitioner may file a new petition two years after the date of the denial letter.

Mailing address:
Pardons - Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
Post Office Box 2454
Richmond, Virginia 23218-2454

For additional information, please email our office at or by phone at 804-692-2542