Hack the DMV: Avoid Lengthening Lines in Texas

packed parking lot at the dmv

DMVs all over the country are plagued with long lines, inefficient processes, and constant customer complaints. It's no secret that for the average working individual, there isn't a lot of time to be waiting on inefficient government entities for essential things like car registrations, driver's licenses, and identification.

The Texas DMV has been noted as one of the worst offenders in the country. As an example, wait times in the Fort Worth, Carrollton, Plano, and Garland area DPS offices commonly exceed two hours — even with an appointment.

If you are a Texan who needs a DMV appointment and are sick of long wait times and frustrating experiences, here are a few solutions and ways to avoid getting stuck.

3 Ways to Avoid DMV Lines

1. Use Online Resources

The number one way to save yourself time at the DMV is asking yourself, "Do I need to go to the DMV today?" Here are some common DMV services that can be completed online: 

  • Vehicle Registration: Texas drivers can renew their vehicle registrations within 90 days of the expiration date and up to six months after the expiration date if no citation for an expired registration has been issued. It's important to know that there is a two-day processing hold for your stickers to be printed. In addition, the Texas DMV requests at least three weeks to complete processing and mailing. So, save yourself a trip to the DMV and do your registration online.

  • Temporary Permits: For parents of teen drivers, the process of getting a temporary permit is stressful enough emotionally without the added strife of a visit to the DMV. Temporary permits are essential for those who need to learn to drive. Visit this page to explore options for temporary permits.

  • Title Checking: While this might not be the top of mind for all DMV visitors, checking the titles of vehicles when you are attempting to buy a used one can save you a lot of headaches and money down the line. The Texas DMV offers free title checks starting with an online portal here

  • Placards and Cards: If you are a driver with disabilities or have other driving restrictions that require a placard, you can get started with the applications online here.

2. Book Appointments in Advance

If you do not book a DMV appointment, you're going to have a bad time. That bad time includes long waits, inefficient processes, and the chance that you could possibly be turned away at the window for not having the correct forms of identification or documents necessary for completing your DMV visit.

Book Texas DMV appointments here.

3. Call Before You Visit 

When in doubt, the best thing to do is call your field office before you visit. If you can't make an appointment and your task cant be resolved online, you can get a great idea of wait times or the business of the office by speaking to someone on the phone.