AUSTIN, TX — Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday announced the Texas Department of Public Safety will begin a phased opening of driver license offices starting May 26 with limited service offerings.
As part of the opening plan, the governor said, DPS will launch a statewide driver license appointment system that allows customers to book appointments up to six months in advance. The limited services being offered will be by appointment only.
"This phased opening of our driver license offices and the launch of DPS' online appointment system prioritizes the health and safety of our communities and ensures Texans have access to the services they need at their local driver license offices," Gov. Abbott said in a prepared statement. "I thank DPS for developing this safe and strategic plan to open their offices and for launching a new appointment system to streamline our driver license services."
The four-phase plan for the opening of driver license offices is as follows:
Phase 1: Offices in DPS’ Northwest and West Texas regions will reopen with limited services beginning May 26, 2020. Customers who currently do not possess a Texas DL, CDL, learner permit or ID card, as well those who are in need of a drive test, can begin scheduling appointments in these two regions on May 22 at 1 p.m.
Phase 2: Offices in DPS’ South and Central Texas regions will reopen with limited services beginning May 29, 2020. Customers who currently do not possess a Texas DL, CDL, learner permit or ID card, as well those who are in need of a drive test, can begin scheduling appointments in these two regions on May 26 at 1 p.m.
Phase 3: Offices in DPS’ North and Southeast Texas regions will reopen with limited services beginning June 3, 2020. Customers who currently do not possess a Texas DL, CDL, learner permit or ID card, as well those who are in need of a drive test, can begin scheduling appointments in these two regions on May 29 at 1 p.m.
Phase 4 will allow customers to schedule an appointment for all DL office transactions anywhere in the state and is expected to begin midsummer. DPS will announce details on this phase at a later date. Extension for expiration dates will remain in effect until phase 4 is implemented.
In an emailed advisory, the Texas Department of Public Safety wrote that as appointments become available throughout the phased reopening plan, customers will be able to book appointments through DPS’ website at www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/. They also provided further details:
SAFETY MEASURES FOR REOPENING
DPS is taking extensive measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 and ensure customers and staff are as safe as possible during DL transactions. The following safety measures will be in place as DL offices reopen:
All staff members and customers who are taking a driving test will be required to wear face masks or facial coverings.
Every person (staff members and customers) will be screened for symptoms prior to coming into a DL office; this includes having their temperature checked.
Customers may be asked to reschedule their appointment if they do not pass the safety screening.
Only actual customers will be allowed into DL offices. This will help limit capacity and ensure everyone can maintain a safe social distance. Exceptions include: persons needing ADA accommodations; elderly persons; parents with small children; and parents and legal guardians needed to complete a transaction.
DPS staff will sanitize workstations and equipment between each customer transaction.
Eye examinations will no longer require physical contact with an eye testing machine.
Customers must pay with a credit card, check or money order. NO CASH PAYMENTS.
EXTENSION REMAINS IN PLACE FOR EXPIRED CARDS
As a reminder, the extension of the expiration of Texas DL/CDL/ID/Election Identification Certificate (EIC) cards remains in effect. This means that all Texas DL/CDL/ID/EIC cards that expired on or after March 13, 2020, fall under the period that encompasses the State of Disaster Declaration related to COVID-19 and will remain valid for 60 days after which time DPS issues public notice that the extension period has been lifted and all normal operations have resumed. As of this release, that 60-day period has not begun. Due to the extension still being active, appointments for renewals will not be available until further notice.