s the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) continues with the phased reopening of driver license (DL) offices, the department is pleased to announce the expansion of in-person services across the state. This includes offering renewal and replacement appointments, as well as Saturday appointments for these services at select offices.
Nearly 700,000 Texans had their DLs expire while offices were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic — this closure has created a backlog of customers needing to renew their licenses. The expansion of in-person services, as well as the addition of Saturday appointments specifically for renewal and replacement transactions, are both designed to help alleviate this backlog and provide Texans with the services they need most.
As a reminder, DPS launched an appointment solution in May, and now all services at DL offices are available by appointment only.
EXPANDED SERVICE OFFERINGS; EXTENSION REMAINS IN PLACE FOR EXPIRED CARDS
DL offices are resuming in-office services for DL and identification card (ID) renewal and replacements. Again, these services are available by appointment only. Previously, as part of the first phase of reopening, appointments were only available for first-time Texas DLs, commercial driver licenses (CDL), learner licenses or identification (ID) cards, as well as those who needed to take a driving test.
It’s important to remember that the extension for expiration dates that was granted in response to COVID-19 remains in effect. The extension means that if your Texas ID/DL/CDL/election identification certificate (EIC) card expires on or after March 13, 2020, it falls under the period covered by the State of Disaster Declaration related to COVID-19 and will remain valid for 60 days after which time DPS issues a public notice that the extension period for the disaster declaration has been lifted. This 60 day notice has not been issued, and Texans still have time to conduct their renewal transactions.
SATURDAY APPOINTMENTS FOR RENEWALS AND REPLACEMENTS ONLY
In order to offer additional convenience for Texans who have been waiting to conduct their DL/ID renewal and replacement transactions, DPS will begin offering Saturday appointments on select dates. Renewals and replacements will be the only services available on Saturdays. Currently, the department is offering Saturday appointments at select offices on July 11 and July 25. Customers can schedule appointments and check availability online through the DL appointment scheduler. The department plans to continue to add Saturday availability into the appointment system in the coming weeks.
SCHEDULING AN APPOINTMENT
DL services are now offered by appointment only through the new appointment solution. Customers are able to book appointments for a specific day and time up to six months in advance. DPS has moved to appointments only as part of our efforts to provide additional convenience, reducing the time Texans spend waiting in line at DL offices.
Upon arrival at the DL office, customers can check-in using the kiosk inside the office or from their mobile device. Customers can only check-in up to 30 minutes prior to their appointment time. Due to social distancing requirements related to COVID-19, we ask that customers who arrive more than 30 minutes in advance of their appointment wait in their vehicle until it is time to check-in.
For customers who do not use the online scheduler to make an appointment in advance, all DL offices do have a limited number of same day appointments available. These appointments fill up quickly and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Customers who book these appointments can then leave the DL office until their designated appointment time. Additionally, in most offices, customers without appointments may be offered the opportunity to be placed on a ‘standby’ list. These customers are required to wait in the office and are assisted in the event of cancellations or no-shows. The number of standby appointments is limited to ensure that all customers are assisted by the end of the day.
ONLINE SERVICES ALSO AVAILABLE
The majority of customers who come into Texas DL offices (in Fiscal Year 2019, that was 3.2 million people) don’t have to. In fact, of the nearly 700,000 Texans whose cards expired during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent office closure, approximately 150,000 can conduct their transaction online, by phone or by mail, and skip the trip to the DL office. DPS encourages Texans to check the expiration date on their card and call 1-866-DL-RENEW (1-886-357-3639) or visit Texas.gov to see if they are eligible to conduct their transaction online, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a reminder, the fee is the same for online, in-person and telephone renewals. Address changes and replacement of a lost DL or ID can also be taken care of online (or by mail) in many instances. Find out if you are eligible for online services by visiting Texas.gov.
SAFETY MEASURES ENACTED AT DL OFFICES IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19
DPS continues to follow extensive safety measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 and ensure customers and staff are as safe as possible. The following safety measures have been put into place at DL offices across the state:
- All customers and staff are required to wear face masks or facial coverings. Exceptions under the Governor’s Executive Order GA-29 include anyone under the age of 10 and those with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. View the full list here.
- Every person (staff members and customers) will be screened for symptoms prior to coming into a DL office; this includes having their temperature checked.
- Customers may be asked to reschedule their appointment if they do not pass the safety screening.
- Only actual customers will be allowed into DL offices to help limit capacity and ensure everyone can maintain a safe social distance. Exceptions include: persons needing ADA accommodations; elderly persons; parents with small children; and parents and legal guardians needed to complete a transaction.
- DPS staff will sanitize workstations and equipment between each customer transaction.
- Eye examinations will no longer require physical contact with an eye testing machine.
- Customers must pay with a credit card, check or money order. Cash payments will not be accepted.
(News release from the Texas Department of Public Safety)