COVID-19 and Your State DMV

As U.S. citizens cope with expanding measures required to protect them from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, many are left wondering how business closures and social distancing will affect their ability to visit their DMV and handle necessary transactions.

From extending license and registration expirations to closing office branches or limiting customers allowed inside office areas, state DMVs nationwide are introducing temporary measures to provide relief and reassurance to their residents. Here are some common DMV-related questions and answers about the COVID-19 outbreak.

How do I know what measures my state DMV is taking due to COVID-19?

Check your state's DMV website, and look especially for a “News” or “Alerts” section to find the most recent updates about the coronavirus. Many state DMVs have also been updating their social media accounts (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) at a faster rate than their websites.

Another great resource is your state’s department of health and human services website. There, you’ll find what measures all of your state’s government agencies, in addition to your DMV, are taking to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

How do I know if my DMV offices are open in my state?

Check your state's DMV website, specifically its News/Alerts or Office Locations section, for the most updated closure information. You can also go through its social media feeds, if officials are providing real-time updates in that forum.

My driver’s license is about to expire. Do I still have to renew it on time during COVID-19? What if the offices are closed?

A high number of states have extended their residents’ expiring driver’s licenses (including temporary licenses and permits), typically for 30 to 60 days depending on the state. Check with your state DMV specifically to find out if this extension is being offered where you live.

My registration is about to expire. Do I still have to renew it on time during COVID-19? What if the offices are closed?

Some states are extending the expiration dates for registrations and disability placards during the outbreak, though currently, this extension is more frequently limited to driver’s licenses. Many states are encouraging online registration renewal until offices open back up. Check your state DMV’s website specifically to find out if a registration extension is being offered where you live.

I need to register a car I just purchased before the deadline has passed. How can I do so if my state DMV is closed?

If your state DMV has closed all of its offices entirely, there’s an extremely high likelihood that temporary registrations have been extended until they open up again. Check your state DMV’s website or reach out to them on their social media accounts to confirm whether or not this is true.

If you do not have a temporary registration/license plate on your car, you’ll need to wait to register and operate the vehicle until offices have reopened.

My DMV hasn’t said it’s extending registrations during COVID-19. I need an inspection before I can renew, but all inspection stations are closed. What can I do?

If offices are still open in your state, reach out to your local DMV branch by phone; if not, ping your state DMV on their social media accounts to find out whether the inspection station closures grant you a registration extension.

How are eye exams being handled during COVID-19?

Some states have suspended all licensing transactions—which include the eye exam—save for those that can be completed online and therefore without any human contact.

If your state is still open and processing licensing transactions, there’s a high likelihood that they have greatly heightened their sanitary measures to ensure the environment meets CDC recommendations for health and safety. If you are concerned, contact your local office to find out what precautionary measures it’s taking for in-person visits.

All state DMVs are encouraging their residents to utilize their online services for as many items of business as possible. If you absolutely must visit a DMV office, and your state still has branches open, you’ll likely need to make an appointment to be seen—most are suspending walk-in transactions at this time.

I have an appointment for a road test. Is it canceled due to the coronavirus? Will my state DMV contact me if it is?

Most road tests have been canceled nationwide by the state DMVs. Your agency may or may not be able to contact all residents to notify them of cancellations, due to the overwhelming number of questions and unexpected issues that are arising due to the coronavirus.

Your best bet is to check your state DMV’s website or social media accounts to find out whether road tests are canceled, as well as what recommendations your state makes for rescheduling them.

State DMV COVID-19 Resources

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