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With DMV Appointments Backed Up, Governor Northam Extends Deadline for Driver’s License Renewals

As Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles offices undergo phased reopenings, Governor Ralph Northam on Thursday announced an extension for residents who need to get renewals for identification cards and driver’s licenses.

Northam said that the licenses and IDs that need to be renewed before July 31 can be renewed by August 31.

“In recent days, our DMVs have been slowly reopening a small number of customer service centers with appointments and other protective measures,” Northam said in a press conference. “Because there is a lot of demand for these services, I am extending the time Virginians have to renew expired licenses or ID cards. If your license or ID expires before July 31, you will have until August 31 to renew it.”

That’s good news for Alexandria resident Amy Billing, who spent more than four hours trying to book an appointment to get her license renewed. She couldn’t get the renewal online because of the DMV stipulation that license alternating renewals must be done in person. She wasn’t able to get anyone on the phone and reached out to DMV via Twitter.

“At this time, the closest office to northern Virginia capable of handling your transaction is our (Fredericksburg or Harrisonburg) location which is just over an hour away,” DMV Communications responded to Billing. “DMV has opened 14 customer service centers statewide for specific, appointment-only services. Governor Northam has delayed the implementation of his reopening plan in northern Virginia due to continued public health concerns in that region. More DMV locations will open in phases through mid-summer.”

Alexandria’s DMV is currently closed. The department says on its website that it will open in phases through mid-summer. The following offices will be opening on Monday:

  • Arlington (4150 South Four Mile Run Drive, Arlington, VA 22206): Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Franconia (6306 Grovedale Drive, Alexandria, VA 22310): Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Leesburg (945 Edwards Ferry Road NE, Leesburg, VA 20176): Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Prince William/Manassas (11270 Bulloch Drive, Manassas, VA 20109): Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Tysons Corner (1968 Gallows Road, Vienna, VA 22182): Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

“We’re hoping to be opening offices every Monday, from here until we’re all back open,” DMV spokesperson Jessica Cowardin told ALXnow.

According to DMV: “An office can only reopen once it has been prepared to provide adequate social distancing and clear plastic partitions have been installed on front counters creating a safe separation between customers and employees.”

Billing, who works at the University of Maryland, made an appointment for June 18 at a DMV service center in Portsmouth, Virginia, which is near Virginia Beach. She will have to take a vacation day from work to make the trip.

“I have enough leave to not have a problem, but obviously I don’t want to be using it for that purpose,” she said. “But booking the appointment was like winning the jackpot.”

Despite the governor’s extension, Billing said she will likely keep her appointment.

“If I let it go, I’m not sure how easy it would be to book an alternate date,” she said.

Find more DMV locations and book an appointment here.

According to DMV:

In determining the order in which offices will reopen, DMV is taking in to consideration the following factors:

  • Historical volumes of customers served,
  • Geography/statewide service coverage,
  • Availability of staff,
  • Office preparedness, including installation of clear plastic partitions at service windows, and
  • Local health and safety considerations.

Upon reopening, DMV will focus on the following services:

  • Original driver’s licenses
  • Original commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs)
  • Replacement driver’s licenses for a name change
  • Driver’s license renewals, including CDLs
  • Original and renewal ID cards
  • ID card replacements for a name change
  • Original and replacement disabled parking placards
  • HAZMAT fingerprinting
  • Original and substitute titles
  • Original and transfer of vehicle registrations (no title)
  • Vital records
  • Compliance/Reinstatement of driving privileges, to include insurance payment plan set-up
  • Payment plan: monthly installment payment
  • Knowledge testing for learner’s permits and business partners (No road testing for passenger vehicles and motorcycles can be offered at this time.)

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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