Your driver’s license is expiring, the Real ID deadline is approaching and waiting at a California Department of Motor Vehicles office for hours seems like a health risk during the coronavirus outbreak. But there’s no need to panic. Like everything else in the world, things at the DMV have changed because of the pandemic. Here’s what you need to know:
Are California’s DMV offices open during the shelter-in-place orders?
No. DMV offices across California closed on March 27. Starting April 1, people will be able to complete vehicle title transfers and complex vehicle registration renewals by visiting virtual.dmv.ca.gov. Other transactions, including registration renewals and license renewals that don’t require in-office tests, can already be done online at the DMV website, www.dmv.ca.gov.
The DMV plans to gradually add more options so people can take care of DMV business without in-person visits. Dozens of other functions can already be completed online or using an automated phone system.
What if I have an appointment?
Sorry, but that hard-won appointment you booked months ago has been canceled. New appointments will be available online soon at www.dmv.ca.gov.
What about the Real ID deadline?
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended the date on which people will have to display a Real ID or a passport to board a domestic flight — or enter most federal facilities — to Oct. 1, 2021. The previous deadline was Oct. 1, and the DMV seemed well behind schedule before the coronavirus outbreak.
What if my license or registration is about to expire?
Most licenses and registrations can be renewed online, by mail or over the phone. The DMV is advising law enforcement to “exercise discretion” before issuing citations for recently expired driver’s licenses or registrations. This applies to people older than 70 who are required to take an in-office knowledge test, in-person license renewals (required every 15 years), or for people who need vision tests or have complex driving histories.
The unofficial two-month extension also applies to registrations in which people are unable to take care of business outside a DMV office because of smog issues, recent title transfers, outdated insurance information or registration has been expired for 90 days or more.
What if I need to go into the DMV office?
While DMV offices are closed, they’re undergoing thorough cleaning. The DMV says at least one office in each region will be open for in-person visits, but only by appointment. Those offices and hours and instructions on making appointments have not been released. The DMV is advising people to delay or avoid visiting field offices when possible.
Will I have to wait in a sprawling, crowded waiting room?
Visits to DMV field offices will be by appointment, so waits should be minimal and the number of people should be limited.
Can I go to AAA as I usually do to take care of simple DMV business?
AAA of Northern California has temporarily closed its offices.
Are there other options?
Most vehicle registration transactions can be handled at DMV Now kiosks in supermarkets around the state. A list of locations and maps is available on the DMV website at www.dmv.ca.gov.
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California DMV and the coronavirus: How do I renew my driver’s license, vehicle registration? have 650 words, post on www.sfchronicle.com at April 1, 2020. This is cached page on Europe Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.