DMV: Appointment visits only, behind-the-wheel tests canceled amid COVID-19 concerns

Local News

File – In this April 9, 2019, file photo, people approach the California Department of Motor Vehicles office in the Arleta neighborhood of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — The California Department of Motor Vehicles said it is only allowing appointment service and canceling all behind-the-wheel driving tests starting Thursday for the next 30 days due to concerns over COVID-19.

The announcement, made Wednesday night, was made “to protect the health and safety of customers and employers,” according to a Twitter post by the DMV.

The DMV said it will begin contacting customers affected by the test cancellations to reschedule their driving tests. It has also suspended extended office hours and Saturday field office service.

Customers without an appointment will be scheduled for a return visit — if their transaction must be done in-person — or redirected to alternative service channels to complete their business.

The DMV said people that need a REAL ID who must come to an office for service should go online or call to make an appointment.

Driver license transactions that require an in-office visit include:

  • Applications for a new driver license or REAL ID
  • 70 years of age and older, who are required to take a knowledge test
  • Individuals who are required to renew in the office (last DMV visit was 15 years prior)
  • Individuals subject to vision testing
  • Individuals with a complex driving history

The DMV said most vehicle registration renewals can be done online, at DMV kiosks, mail or phone.

Vehicle registration renewals that are not eligible to use an alternative service include:

  • Outdated insurance information
  • Registration expired for 90 days or more
  • Smog issues
  • Recent transfer

Social distancing measures have been initiated at DMV offices, including a texting service so customers can check-in, leave the office and come back inside once they are notified by text of their place in line. Also, seating is being reduced in its lobbies to create more space between seats.

The DMV said it will launch its “virtual field office” on Monday to augment online services already available to the public.

The public can upload documents and provide an e-signature for popular services like vehicle title transfers, commercial driver license renewals, name or gender change, driver license reinstatements or changing endorsements.

Certain transactions, like vehicle inspections, new driver licenses, drive tests, and REAL ID, will still require an office visit.

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