The DMV during COVID-19: What to know about the new Rules & Regulations


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in most states closed their offices in March. Many have now reopened but with strict safety protocols in place to minimize the risk of spreading the virus. Here’s how the DMV plans to serve the public safely as we continue to live under the threat of COVID-19.

State Rules and Regulations Amid COVID-19

Each state’s DMV operates independently and may have different regulations in place. Most have implemented standard safety protocols such as wearing face coverings, using hand sanitizer, and maintaining physical distancing. Here’s how DMV offices in four states have adapted how they serve the public amid COVID-19.

California opened 25 field offices as early as May 8. All remaining offices opened on June 11. Limited services are available, and customers are encouraged to use online services whenever possible. Behind-the-wheel driving tests are currently unavailable.

Hand-washing stations for customers are available in select locations. To reduce the number of people in the building, text messages will be sent to customers waiting outside that notifies them when an agent is ready to serve them.

Florida started reopening DMV centers on June 3 for appointments only. You can renew licenses and vehicle registrations online by visiting GoRenew.com. Those who cannot access the website will be allowed to do renewals in-person.

When visiting a Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) branch, customers will be asked screening questions and have their temperature taken. Anyone with a fever will not be allowed into the building.

Indiana’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) opened for walk-ins on June 15 and has returned to normal office hours. Customers have until June 30 to renew outstanding driver's licenses, permits, state identification cards, and vehicle registration cards before late fees are charged. Driving exams are still on hold.

BMV offices will limit the number of customers allowed in the branch at a time. During busy periods, you may need to wait outside. All customers are expected to adhere to physical distancing rules. Wearing a mask is compulsory for employees but optional for customers.

Texas started reopening DMV centers on May 26 for appointments only. COVID-19 regulations allow only one person in the office per appointment unless they require the assistance of a caregiver. Complete all necessary forms before arriving for your appointment. In-person appointments are for the following:

  • Replacement titles.

  • Bonded Title Notice of Determination.

  • Title history.

  • Temporary permits.

  • Assigned or reassigned numbers.

  • Registration refund authorizations.

  • Investigating and resolving Texas title errors.

If you’re unsure about your local DMV’s current rules during COVID-19, call or visit their website. If they are open and allow appointments, go prepared. Have your documentation ready, wear a face mask, and keep a safe distance from other customers. 

Are Some DMVs Still Closed?

Some DMVs haven’t yet reopened. As of June 19, all DMVs in New York are closed. They are accepting transactions by mail or secure drop box outside each branch. In North Carolina, 73 DMV offices remain closed, and several ALEA offices in Alabama are still closed.

If your DMV is closed and you’re worried about penalty fees for overdue licenses, most DMVs have granted extensions on expired driver’s licenses or vehicle registration. Alternatively, you can renew these online if your DMV offers virtual services. 

When Will I Be Able To Take My Driving Test?

If you’ve completed a driver's ed course, you may be wondering when you will be able to take the driver’s test.

Many DMVs are not conducting driver tests yet. Behind-the-wheel tests are too risky due to close contact between examiner and applicant. Georgia and Ohio, however, have found a way around it. They are conducting a modified road test in which the examiner observes the driver from outside the vehicle.

Contact Your Local DMV For More Information

To find out what the regulations are for your state, get in touch with your local DMV. Many DMVs are accepting appointments but no walk-ins. Many are likely to continue offering some services by phone, email, and online — the safest options for now.