Seniors and other drivers can avoid required office visit for renewal during COVID-19 pandemic
The California Department of Motor Vehicles has announced that seniors with an expiring driver license will receive a 120-day extension in the mail during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, those with safe driving records whose last DMV visit was 15 years ago will not be required to renew in person for the next 60 days and will be able to renew online or by mail.
These actions “ensure hundreds of thousands of Californians can keep their driver license current while following the state’s stay at home request,” DMV Director Steve Gordon said. “The health and safety of our employees and customers is the DMV’s top priority. We encourage customers to take advantage of our online services whenever possible, including for eligible driver license or vehicle registration renewals.”
120-Day Extension for Drivers 70 and Over
The DMV is providing a 120-day extension to Californians age 70 and older with a driver license that expires from March 1 to May 31, 2020. This action ensures this vulnerable group can avoid a DMV office visit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
California law requires drivers age 70 and older to visit a DMV field office to renew their license but gives the DMV authority to issue extensions – no individual action required. Eligible drivers will receive a paper license extension in the mail beginning in the next two weeks. The expiration dates will reflect a minimum of 120 days before renewal is required. Around 860,000 seniors visit DMV offices every year for the required in-person license renewal.
Waiving In-Person Renewals for Eligible Drivers and Identification Cardholders
Governor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order on March 30 temporarily waiving for 60 days the requirement for Californians with safe driving records to renew their driver license in-person at a DMV field office. The Executive Order also temporarily waives required in-person renewals for identification cards.
The DMV is also completing the programming necessary so that individuals who meet the criteria will be able to complete their renewal online or by mail beginning Wednesday, April 8.
Duplicate Driver License
The DMV now offers Californians the option to use its online services to request a duplicate driver license if theirs was lost or stolen and does not expire within 30 days. A duplicate license costs $30. Approximately 1 million Californians request duplicate licenses each year.
Essential DMV Services Continue
The DMV continues to provide essential services via mail, online, kiosks, its call center at (800) 777-0133, available business partners and, soon, virtually to process critical transactions, including eligible driver license and vehicle registration renewals, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The DMV encourages customers to use another service channel if their transaction does not require an office visit. These services are listed on the DMV Online Services and DMV Anytime webpages and include change of address, replacement sticker or registration card, notice of transfer and release of liability, and vehicle license fee refund requests, among others.
On April 2, the Virtual Field Office at virtual.dmv.ca.gov began processing title transfers and complex vehicle registrations that would otherwise have to be accomplished in an office. More services will be offered through the Virtual Field Office in the coming weeks.
The measures to help Californians with expiring driver licenses are the latest DMV actions during the coronavirus pandemic, including:
- Temporarily closing field offices. Following deep cleaning, expansion of virtual services and development of new protocols, the DMV soon will offer in-person services in each region. Information on office openings will be announced by DMV in the near future.
- Requesting California law enforcement to exercise discretion, for 60 days beginning March 16, before issuing citations for driving with a recently expired license or vehicle registration.
- Canceling all behind-the-wheel drive tests to honor social distancing guidelines.
- Suspending extended office hours and Saturday service.