That may not be accurate Ron. My states gives you temporary registrations when you renew online. It might be the same in OP's state.It's exactly accurate. I was giving the information for VIRGINIA which is his state. If you renew online BEFORE your expiration date, you get a temporary registration card good for 15 days. If you renew AFTER your expiration date, not only do you pay a extra charge, the receipt is nothing but a receipt. It is not usable as a temporary registration (in fact, it won't even offer to print it out like the temporary registration though you can manually print it via your browser).
From the DMV's own site (https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/dmvnet/...gist_entry.asp)
Less than 15 Days Until Expiration?
If there are fewer than 15 days remaining on your current registration be sure to print an Official Internet Receipt. When carried with your registration card this receipt will extend your current registration for up to 15 days from the date you renew to allow time to receive your registration card and decals via the U.S. mail. Most customers receive their vehicle registration materials within five days, but U.S. mail delivery times vary. Please allow 15 days to receive your decals before contacting DMV.
If your current registration has already expired and you are renewing online, the Official Internet Receipt will NOT extend your registration. Please allow up to 15 days from the date you renew to receive your registration card and decals via the U.S. mail.