In an effort to reduce lines at license bureaus and DMVs throughout the state, the Minnesota Department of Driver and Vehicle Services is allowing those looking to renew a standard Class D driver’s license online provided there are no changes to the license in terms of name or address.
The allowance is being made in response to COVID-19, which shut down license bureaus for two months and created a massive backlog of people seeking to renew their licenses. Wright County License Bureau Supervisor Becky Aanerud said this decision from the DVS is unprecedented and expected to last a year or less until the backlog can be alleviated.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Aanerud said. “Your photo and signature stay the same. You don’t go through the eye check. Basically, you will have same photo for eight years.”
Aanerud understands the rationale for the decision to cut into the flood of people needing to get licenses renewed, but the renewal does come with some very specific caveats. Your name and address must remain the same. If someone gets married and changes their name, they are ineligible. If someone has a change of address, they are ineligible. If they are seeking a REAL ID or an enhanced license, they are ineligible. The deadline for upgrading to REAL ID has been extended to Oct. 1, 2021. Only a Class D standard license with no changes will be eligible
One of the maddening aspects of the online renewal is that the application process gives the appearance that will allow someone to put in a different address, but, when the license arrives, it will contain the information that was on the previous license and mailed to the former address. The U.S. Postal Service doesn’t deliver licenses to people who do not currently live at an address listed.
“There is a lot of confusion surrounding this,” Aanerud said. “People are going online, paying the state for a new license and then coming in here and wanting us to change their address because it wasn’t updated. They don’t realize that when they do that, we have to collect again. It’s been a big mess because the application system allows them to change their address on the application, but, when the license comes back, it doesn’t show those changes.”
It may not be for everyone seeking to renew a license, but, for those who live at the same address that is currently on their license and want to avoid the delays in scheduling an appointment to come to the Wright County Government Center, this is a new option they can use to get their license renewed and end the headaches experienced by both customers and staff.
To go to the DVS website that explains the eligibility requirement and what you need prior to starting the application and to complete the application process, click here: https://driverservices.dps.mn.gov/EServices/_/ and click on the “Apply fot a Driver’s License or State ID” tab.