Last March when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit in Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz made numerous executive orders. Among them was to shut down all License Bureaus and DMVs, which created a backlog for those seeking to renew driver’s licenses. Because driver’s license renewals required a photo and vision test, over the last 10 months, those with expired driver’s licenses have been allowed to continue without penalty as many License Bureaus have been forced to limit lines due to social distancing restrictions.
That is about to change.
Yesterday (Jan. 27) Walz announced that the expiration date for being able to have an expired driver’s license will end March 31. Beginning April 1, all driver’s licenses will be required to be current. It is estimated that there are approximately 250,000 driver’s licenses that are currently expired that will need to be brought up to date by the end of March, not including those whose licenses are scheduled to expire in February and March.
Under the new rules, standard non-commercial licenses that are not current will expire on March 31 – making drivers subject to penalty for driving with an expired license. For commercial driver’s licenses, the expiration date is Feb. 28. Drivers who don’t renew their licenses by those dates will lose their driving privileges. However, when they do renew their licenses, those privileges will be restored.
For those included in this group who plan to renew their licenses at the Wright County License Bureau in Buffalo, they are encouraged to sign up for an appointment spot on the county website main page under the “Make an Appointment” tab. Walk-ins are being accepted, but due to the growing volume of people trying that option, the wait time is up to one hour because priority is given to those with scheduled appointments.
Appointment slots are released in two-week increments. The current list of appointments covers the period of Feb. 1-12 and were released on Jan. 22. Hundreds of new appointment slots become available at 8 a.m. every other Friday and tend to fill up quickly – often by the end of the weekend, so when they open, those who are need of renewing are asked to do so quickly to assure a time that best fits with their schedules. Appointments are taken between 8 a.m. and noon and from 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays.
The schedule for the release of new appointments for the next two months prior to the March 31 deadline are as following with the 8 a.m. release date and time listed first and the period covered for the new appointments in parentheses:
February 5 (February 16-26)
February 19 (March 1-12)
March 5 (March 15-26)
March 19 (March 29-April 9 – the first three days of appointments meet the deadline date)