TEXAS, USA — Editor's note: The video published above is a KVUE report from May, when Central Texas driver's license offices were allowed to start reopening.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced Tuesday, July 7, it has expanded in-person services across the state as the department continues its phased reopening of driver's license offices.
The expansion of in-person services includes offering renewal and replacement appointments, as well as Saturday appointments for these services at select offices.
DPS launched an appointment solution in May, and now all services at driver's license offices are available by appointment only. DPS said its offices are resuming in-office services for driver's license and identification card renewal and replacements by appointment only. Previously, as part of the first phase of reopening, appointments were only available for first-time Texas driver's licenses, commercial driver's licenses (CDL), learner licenses or identification cards, as well as those who needed to take a driving test.
DPS also said the extension for expiration dates that was granted in response to COVID-19 remains in effect. So, Texans with driver's licenses that expired on or after March 13 will remain valid until 60 days passed the point where DPS issues a public notice that the disaster declaration has been lifted.
Saturday appointments will be reserved for driver's license renewals and replacements only, DPS said. DPS is offering Saturday appointments at select offices on July 11 and July 25, the department said in a press release. Customers can schedule appointments and check availability online through the driver's license appointment scheduler. DPS said it plans to continue to add Saturday availability into the appointment system in the coming weeks.
DPS has also implemented the following safety measures at its driver's license offices:
- 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 10 years old 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 driver's license office, which 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 driver's license 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 work stations 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.
Despite DPS expanding its services, the department also said a ton of potential customers don't have to utilize the in-person option. According to DPS, 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 driver's license office.
DPS encourages 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, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fee is the same for online, in-person and telephone renewals, DPS said.
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