AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety announced Tuesday it is continuing the phased reopening of driver’s license offices by offering appointments for renewals and replacements in offices across the state.
DPS announced that when offices were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 700,000 Texans had their licenses expire, and that has created a backlog of customers needing to renew their licenses.
In addition to in-person appointments making a come back to Texas offices, some select offices around the state will also offer Saturday appointments for renewal and replacement services.
“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,” DPS’ press release said.
What if my license is already expired?
DPS gave an extension for Texas driver’s license expiration dates which was granted in response to COVID-19 remains and 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 DPS issues a public notice that the extension period for the disaster declaration has been lifted, DPS said.
DPS’s announcement stated that the 60-day notice has not been issued, and Texans will still have time to conduct their renewal transactions.
How can I book a Saturday appointment?
DPS says that currently, the department is offering Saturday appointments at select offices from July 11 through July 25. Customers can schedule appointments and check availability online through the driver’s license appointment scheduler here. The department plans to continue to add Saturday availability into the appointment system in the coming weeks.
Do I have to schedule an appointment for any service at an office?
DPS said services are now offered exclusively by appointment only through the new appointment solution online. Customers are able to book appointments for a specific day and time up to six months in advance. DPS said it has moved to appointments only as part of its efforts to provide additional convenience, for Texans waiting in line at offices across the state.
Customers can check-in using the kiosks inside the office or from their mobile device, DPS said.
“Customers can only check-in up to 30 minutes prior to their appointment time,” DPS said in a press release. “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.”
Can I make a same-day appointment?
DPS said that offices have a limited number of same-day appointments available. According to the departments, the appointments fill up quickly and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Customers who book these appointments can leave the driver’s license office until their designated appointment time,” DPS said in a press release. “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.”
Do I even have to go into an office to conduct a transaction at an office?
DPS states that the majority of customers who come into Texas driver’s license offices in the 2019 Fiscal Year, 3.2 million people, did not have to. According to DPS, of the 700,000 Texans whose cards expired, 150,000 can conduct their transaction online.
“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 said in a press release.
Texas can 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.
What about fees for online service vs in-person service?
DPS said 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,” DPS said in a press release.
Find out if you are eligible for online services by visiting Texas.gov.
DPS has enacted the following safety measures to offices across the state in response to COVID-19:
- 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.