NBC 5 Responds

As a Drivers' License Waiver Ends, North Texans Report Long Waits for DPS Appointments

Appointments are required for in-person renewals and some North Texans say it can be a struggle to find an open spot

NBCUniversal, Inc.

If your license expired during the pandemic, it's time to renew.

Last year, Governor Greg Abbott granted a waiver for Texas drivers’ licenses, ID cards and vehicle registrations that expired on or after March 13, 2020. The waiver ends on April 14, 2021.

As of April 1, the Texas Department of Public Safety said there are approximately 858,000 expired drivers’ licenses in the Texas DPS system. Most of those drivers will have to renew their licenses in person. DPS says around 130,700 of the expired licenses are eligible for online renewal.

Appointments are required for in-person renewals and some North Texans say it can be a struggle to find an open spot.

When Sibyl Gelman of Richardson began looking for an open appointment to renew her drivers’ license in early March, she said she couldn’t find an available appointment for weeks.

“They were in late April, May and June. Even the mega centers, you could not get in,” said Gelman.

Gelman said she wasn’t eligible to renew online because she’d used that option during her last renewal period. Texans can’t renew their drivers’ license or state ID card online twice in a row. You can check out the online renewal eligibility criteria here.

So Gelman says she spent about a week constantly checking DPS’ website, waiting for an appointment to open up.

“I just kept at it and kept going to the website and refreshing and refreshing all the time. Something finally popped up, a random quick, appointment,” Gelman said.

She snagged it.

“I went on my appointment day and time and there was a huge, long line outside and everybody in line had an appointment and nobody knew why they were standing in line,” said Gelman.

Gelman said she was in line long enough to miss her appointment time.

“I got rerouted to another desk and they gave me a new appointment time and had me take a wait, so I’m not really sure what the appointment times are about because it didn't really help anything,” Gelman said.

After about two and half hours, Gelman had renewed her license.

NBC 5 Responds asked Texas DPS about the experience North Texans are reporting. DPS said it couldn’t accommodate an on-camera interview, but answered questions over email.

DPS said many offices are expanding hours to help people who need to renew. The agency also said no-shows are a problem. In December, DPS said 31 percent of people with appointments didn’t turn up.

If you’re struggling to get an appointment before the April 14 deadline, DPS said you can request a temporary driving permit which is valid until your appointment date.

There are a couple of steps involved.

First, you need to go to the agency’s contact us page.

Once there, you must complete all the fields. In the “questions” section of the form at the bottom, you have to write that you are requesting a “temporary license” and give the date of your appointment.

Texas DMV, which handles vehicle title and registrations, says its waiver also ends April 14.

If you took advantage of the waiver, the DMV says you need to make plans to pay the overdue transactions.

NBC 5 Responds is committed to researching your concerns and recovering your money. Our goal is to get you answers and, if possible, solutions and resolution. Call us at 844-5RESPND (844-573-7763) or fill out our Customer Complaint form.

Contact Us