Limited remote services available, but no in-person transactions until Phase 3

New York State DMV Begins To Reopen




Officials at the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles have revealed some of its reopening plans after offices shutdown in mid-March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

While in-person transactions will not begin just yet, starting June 1, state-run DMV offices in several counties, including those on Long Island, will start offering remote services. The DMV announced on Saturday evening that offices in Suffolk and Nassau County, Albany, Onondaga, Rockland, Westchester, and the five boroughs of New York City will begin to process vehicle registrations and other transactions by mail Monday.

On Thursday, June 4, those offices will start to accept transactions through new secure drop boxes at each location, including at the Riverhead office. The drop boxes will be available Monday through Saturday during regular business hours.

The DMV, which closed all 27 of its offices and suspended road tests on March 23, will no longer offer certain service in-person, such as surrendering license plates, sales tax-only transactions, and vehicle registrations and license plate transfers. Instead, customers will have to use the drop box or mail-in forms. License and registration renewals, replacement of lost documents, and address changes also will have to be done by mail or by dropping forms into a drop box, but those transactions can also be completed online.

Customers cannot upgrade to a REAL ID or Enhanced Driver License without visiting a DMV office. While offices are closed, DMV officials said customers can renew their license or non-driver ID online now and upgrade to a REAL ID or an EDL in an office at a later date. Due to COVID-19, the federal REAL ID enforcement deadline has been extended one year, until October 1, 2021.

Extensions are in place for all driver licenses, non-driver identification cards, and vehicle registrations that expired March 1, 2020, or later. Vehicle inspections that expired March 31 or after also continue to be extended. 

All documents and instructions are available on www.dmv.ny.gov, such as a registration checklist for those registering a vehicle and instructions for returning license plates. Need a vision test to renew your license? More than 6000 providers are enrolled in the DMV’s Vision Registry to administer the vision test. The results are entered online and are readily available when the customer renews his or her license. Doctors or other medical professionals can also complete a Vision Test Report, which the customer can use to complete the renewal process online.

When customers drop off documents at the secure box, they must wear a face covering, and only two customers will be allowed in the office at a time to access the drop box. They must maintain social distancing at all times while inside. Once transactions are completed, the necessary documents, like a receipt or license plates, will be mailed back to the customer.

The DMV also announced that Commercial Driver License road tests will resume in all regions that have reached Phase 1 of the governor’s reopening plan, of which Long Island began on May 27. Strict safety requirements are in place to ensure employee and customer safety, the DMV said. Examiners will wear gloves, face shields, and have hand sanitizer available, while those seeking CDL licenses will have to wear masks and will be screened for any COVID-19-related symptoms prior to beginning the test. Customers also have to disinfect the passenger side of the vehicle for the examiner with disinfectant wipes upon arrival.

Customers whose road tests were canceled because of COVID-19 will be given priority for rescheduling. DMV staff will begin to contact those people on Monday. Reservations for other CDL customers will be available in the days following at www.dmv.ny.gov/schedule-road-test.

Road tests and reservations for Class D licenses, those for passenger vehicles, have not yet resumed.

In-person transactions at DMV offices will not begin until the region the office is located begins Phase 3 of the reopening process. Even then, the office will offer only limited services, by reservation only, and critical services will be given a priority. Road tests for all drivers will also begin then.

“As New York State begins to reopen, the DMV has and will continue to adapt the way it does business to ensure public health and safety are protected,” said DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder in a statement.

County clerks that operate DMV offices in the remaining 51 counties of the state have been advised to follow the state DMV’s timeline and guidance for reopening.

taylor@indyeastend.com