AUSTIN – At the direction of Governor Greg Abbott and in light of the governor’s State of Disaster Declaration related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has been directed to extend the expiration date of Texas identification cards (ID), driver licenses (DL), commercial DLs (CDL) and election identification certificates (EIC). Additionally, the department has been directed to close DL offices, effective Thursday, March 19, until directed to reopen by the governor. These actions come as the state works to limit the ongoing spread of COVID-19 by increasing social distancing in communities.
DRIVER LICENSE OFFICE CLOSURES
Effective Thursday, March 19, 2020, DL offices across the state have been closed until further notice. The temporary closure does not apply to individuals seeking an initial CDL. A number of DL offices across the state are designated as CDL sites — these offices will offer CDL testing by appointment only. If you already have a CDL skills test scheduled, that appointment remains valid. For those needing to schedule a CDL test, you can schedule an appointment by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, DL number, date of birth, telephone number, email address and your preferred office location in your request.
DRIVER LICENSE EXTENSION
In accordance with section 418.016 of the Texas Government Code, the Office of the Governor approved DPS’ request to suspend provisions of the Texas Transportation Code to the extent necessary to delay the expiration of Texas DL/CDL/ID/EIC cards. This means that if your Texas DL/CDL/ID/EIC card expires 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.
It’s important to note that this extension applies to the expiration date only. A person who is not eligible to drive due to an active enforcement action (suspension, revocation or denial) may use the card for identity purposes only.
DPS is communicating with law enforcement agencies across the state to notify and inform them about the changes and what the extension means for their interactions with the public.
ONLINE SERVICES AVAILABLE FOR TEXANS
The majority of customers who come into Texas DL offices (for example, 3.2 million people in Fiscal Year 2019) don’t have to. These customers can actually conduct their transaction online, by phone or by mail. 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 you’re eligible to conduct your transaction online, particularly in light of the closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fee is the same for online, in-person and telephone renewals. For additional information about renewing your DL or ID card, visit the DPS website. Address changes and replacement of a lost DL or ID can also be taken care of online (or by mail) in many instances. Find out if you are eligible for online services by visiting Texas.gov.
WHEN WILL YOUR OFFICES REOPEN?
The department continues to be in constant communication with state leadership regarding this rapidly changing situation. The department will follow guidelines set by the governor as to when our offices will reopen and will keep the public informed as the situation continues to evolve.
· DPS DL COVID-19 Informational Web Page
· Governor Abbott, DPS Waive Expiration Dates for Driver Licenses, March 18, 2020 (view here)
· Governor Abbott Announces Temporary Closure of Driver License Offices, March 18, 2020 (view here)
· DPS Takes Preventative Measures Against COVID-19, Encourages Texans to do the Same, March 12, 2020 (view here)