What you need to know about accessing essential DMV services
during the COVID-19 pandemic
By ONME Newswire
The way we access many of the services we cannot do without will be altered for some time due to COVID-19 pandemic, including how we complete transactions through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). While the DMV continues its business of processing driver license and ID renewals, vehicle registrations, applications for disability placards, and other driver and vehicle related transactions, the way it provides those services continues to change in response to state and local COVID-19 guidelines to ensure the health and safety of its employees, customers, and the general public.
The following guide shares the most convenient ways to access DMV services and complete essential transactions to avoid interruptions to driving privileges or vehicle operations.
Avoid a Trip to the DMV - Complete Your Transaction Online or at a DMV Kiosk
The DMV offers essential services online, such as California driver license and ID renewals and vehicle registration, allowing customers to avoid trips to field offices. Before visiting a DMV office, check the dmv.ca.gov website to find out which transactions can be completed online. Many tasks also can be completed at one of the hundreds of kiosks throughout California or through available local business partners. Find a local kiosk at dmv.ca.gov/portal/locations/kiosks.
Stay at Home and Visit the Virtual Field Office
The DMV Virtual Field Office allows the convenience of taking care of transactions that previously required an in-person office visit by interacting with DMV staff online. Transactions such as change of address, replacement stickers or registration card, vehicle title transfers and complex vehicle registration renewals can be completed by visiting virtual.dmv.ca.gov. The DMV is gradually adding more virtual transactions to provide alternatives to an in-person office visit.
What to Expect if an In-person DMV Visit is Necessary
Most local DMV field offices are open for limited transactions for customers with existing appointments and those with transactions that can only be completed in person, such as reinstating a suspended or revoked driver license, among a few other transactions. Employees and customers are required to wear face coverings and maintain physical distancing while at DMV offices. In addition, offices are being deep cleaned regularly and hand sanitizer or soap to wash hands are made available.
With the new safety guidelines in place, longer wait times are to be expected. Also, DMV offices might be forced to temporarily close with little notice to protect public health or as directed by state and local mandates. Therefore, customers are encouraged to take advantage of online services and the Virtual Field Office to complete transactions whenever possible.
What about the Real ID Deadline?
There is no need to rush to apply for a REAL ID today. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that the REAL ID enforcement date is now October 1, 2021, and customers who want a REAL ID will have an opportunity to apply at a later date.
To stay informed of the latest DMV updates and information, and to get forms and tips on how to best complete your DMV transaction, visit dmv.ca.gov before visiting an office.