AUSTIN – As 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. It includes offering renewal and replacement appointments and 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 and 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, dates were only available for first-time Texas DLs, commercial driver licenses (CDL), learner licenses or identification (ID) cards, and those who needed to take a driving test.
It’s important to remember that the extension for expiration dates granted in response to COVID-19 remains effective. 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. It will remain valid for 60 days, after which DPS issues a public notice that the disaster declaration’s extension period has lifted. The state did not release the 60-day notice, and Texans still have time to conduct their renewal transactions.
SATURDAY APPOINTMENTS FOR RENEWALS AND REPLACEMENTS ONLY
To offer additional convenience for Texans 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 can book appointments for a specific day and time up to six months in advance. DPS has moved to dates 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 their mobile device. Customers can request registration up to 30 minutes before 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 have a limited number of same-day appointments. 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 staff assists in cancellations or no-shows. The number of standby appointments is limited to ensure that the end of the day supports all customers.
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. 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 their card’s expiration date 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 are in 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.
- Personel screens every person (staff members and customers) for symptoms before coming into a DL office; this includes having their temperature checked.
- Staff may ask customers 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 required 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.