Coronavirus Texas: driver license renewal, alternative providers

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The expansion of personal services includes the offer of renewal and replacement appointments as well as Saturday appointments for these services in selected offices.

TEXAS, USA – Editor’s Note: The video posted above is a KVUE report from May when the driver’s license offices in central Texas were allowed to reopen.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced Tuesday, July 7th, that it has expanded personal services across the state as the department continues its gradual reopening of driver’s license offices.

The expansion of personal services includes the offer of renewal and replacement appointments as well as Saturday appointments for these services in selected offices.

DPS introduced a deadline solution in May. Now all services in the driver’s license offices are only available by appointment. DPS announced that its offices will only resume in-office services for renewal of driver’s license and ID card, as well as replacement, by appointment. Previously, as part of the first phase of the reopening, appointments were only available for first-time Texan driving licenses, commercial driving licenses (CDL), learner licenses or ID cards, as well as for those who had to take a driving test.

DPS also said the expiration date extension granted in response to COVID-19 remains in effect. Texans with driver’s licenses that expire on or after March 13th will remain valid until 60 days have passed after the time DPS publicly announces that the disaster declaration has been lifted.

The appointments on Saturday are only reserved for driver license renewal and replacement, DPS said. DPS is offering Saturday appointments in selected offices on July 11th and 25th, the department announced in a press release. Customers can schedule appointments and check availability online using the driver’s license organizer. DPS plans to continue to include the availability on Saturday in the appointment system in the coming weeks.

DPS has also implemented the following security measures in its driver’s license offices:

  • All customers and employees must wear face masks or face covers. Exceptions under the Governor’s Executive Order GA-29 are persons under the age of 10 and persons with an illness or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering. You can find the full list here.
  • Everyone (employees and customers) will be screened for symptoms, including their temperature checked, before entering a driver’s license office.
  • Customers may be asked to reschedule their appointment if they fail the security clearance.
  • Only actual customers are allowed to enter the driver’s license offices to limit capacity and ensure everyone can maintain a safe social distance. Exceptions are those in need of ADA accommodations, the elderly, parents with young children, and parents and guardians required to complete a transaction.
  • DPS employees will disinfect workstations and devices between each customer transaction.
  • Eye exams no longer require physical contact with an eye test device.
  • Customers must pay by credit card, check, or money order. Cash payments are not accepted.

Although DPS is expanding its services, the department also said a lot of potential customers don’t need to take advantage of the in-person option. Of the nearly 700,000 Texans whose cards expired during the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent office shutdown, DPS says about 150,000 can complete their transaction online, by phone or mail, and skip the drive to the driver’s license office.

DPS urges Texans to 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 , especially with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fee is the same for online, in-person, and over-the-phone renewals, DPS said.

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