DPS rolls out new plan for reopening driver license offices with “appointment only” system

Local News

Texas Department of Public Safety driver license office in Austin on June 13, 2019. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)

SAN ANGELO, Texas – As a result of the support and direction of Governor Greg Abbott and the state legislature, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is implementing a statewide driver license (DL) appointment system, which will allow customers to book appointments up to six months in advance.

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, DPS will only take appointments for service at our DL offices.

The benefits of the new appointment system include:

• Enabling DPS to comply with COVID-19 safety guidelines, including social distancing, by limiting the number of customers inside offices and alleviating long lines outside of offices;
• Reducing long lines and wait times at DL offices as customers may only arrive 30 minutes prior to their scheduled appointment;
• The ability to detect if someone is able to conduct their transaction online and offer them the opportunity to do so within the appointment system (For reference, as many as 53 percent of customers who came in-person to DL offices in 2019 could have conducted their transaction online); and
• Providing customers with the opportunity to schedule their appointment at a time that is convenient for them up to six months in advance.

Phased Re-Opening Plan
As the state works to safely reopen DL offices, the department has laid out a plan to re-open in four phases and with limited service offerings. By offering limited service options in the beginning, we will be able to prioritize service for those Texans who currently do not have a valid Texas DL, commercial driver license (CDL), learner permit or state identification (ID) card, as well as for those who are required to take a driving test.

Phase 1: Offices in DPS’ Northwest and West Texas regions will reopen with limited services beginning May 26, 2020. Customers who currently do not possess a Texas DL, CDL, learner permit or ID card, as well those who are in need of a drive test, can begin scheduling appointments in these
two regions on May 22 at 1 p.m.
Phase 2: Offices in DPS’ South and Central Texas regions will reopen with limited services beginning May 29, 2020. Customers who currently do not possess a Texas DL, CDL,
learner permit or ID card, as well those who are in need of a drive test, can begin scheduling appointments in these two regions on May 26 at 1 p.m.
Phase 3: Offices in DPS’ North and Southeast Texas regions will reopen with limited services beginning June 3, 2020. Customers who currently do not possess a Texas DL, CDL, learner permit or ID card, as well those who are in need of a drive test, can begin scheduling appointments in these
two regions on May 29 at 1 p.m.
Phase 4: will allow customers to schedule an appointment for all DL office transactions anywhere in the state and is expected to begin midsummer. DPS will announce details on this phase at a later date.

Extension for Expiration Dates Remains in Effect:
As a reminder, the expiration date of Texas DL/CDL/ID/EIC (Election Identification Certificate) cards have been extended. This means that if your card expired on or after March 13, 2020, it falls under the period that encompasses the State of Disaster Declaration related to COVID-19 and will remain valid for 60 days after which time DPS issues public notice that the extension period for this disaster declaration has been lifted.

Safety Measures for Reopening:
DPS is taking extensive measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 and ensure customers
and staff are as safe as possible during DL transactions. These safety measures include:

• Staff members and customers will be required to wear face masks or facial coverings when entering a DL office.
• Every person (staff members and customers) will be screened prior to coming into a DL office; this includes having their temperature checked and being asked a series of questions related to COVID-19 symptoms.
• Customers may be denied entry and asked to reschedule their appointment if they do not pass the safety screening or if they refuse to comply with all requirements.
• Only actual customers will be allowed into DL offices. This will help limit capacity and ensure everyone can maintain a safe social distance.
o 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. NO CASH PAYMENTS.

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