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CA DMV closes all field offices to public amid coronavirus pandemic

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (VVNG.com) — The Department of Motor Vehicles has temporarily closed all its field offices and moving to offer essential services online amid the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement made late Thursday night stated field offices would close to the public on March 27th and reopen, virtually, on April 2. All in-office appointments are canceled and customers are encouraged to check DMV.ca.gov for future availability.

DMV said online services will remain available and reminded the public to visit one of the hundreds of kiosks throughout the state or through available local business partners.

DMV’s customer service centers will continue to operate during normal business hours at 1-800-777-0133 or connecting via the live chat feature on the DMV website.

“DMV field office employees will return on Wednesday, April 1 to process transactions and begin training on the DMV Virtual Field Office, which began in a limited pilot March 23. The Virtual Field Office gives customers the capability to take care of transactions that previously required an in-person office visit by virtually interacting with DMV staff. Beginning April 2, 2020, customers initially can complete vehicle title transfers and complex vehicle registration renewals by visiting virtual.dmv.ca.gov. The DMV will gradually add more transactions to continue to provide alternatives to an in-person office visit.”

DMV

The DMV is concerned about the health and safety of its customers, including seniors and those at risk for COVID-19. Following deep cleaning of the offices, expansion of virtual services and development of new protocols, DMV will offer in-person services in each region. More updates on how DMV is addressing the needs of its customers will be announced soon on its website.

Californians who do not have an urgent need to go to a DMV field office should delay their visit, including those interested in applying for a REAL ID. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced that the REAL ID enforcement date is October 1, 2021, and customers who want a REAL ID will have an opportunity to apply at a later date.

The temporary closing of offices is the latest in a number of actions the DMV already has taken during the coronavirus pandemic, including:

  • Requesting California law enforcement to exercise discretion, for 60 days beginning March 16, before issuing citations for driving with a recently expired license or vehicle registration.
  • Instituting appointment-only service for transactions that require an in-office visit.
  • Canceling all behind-the-wheel drive tests to honor social distancing guidelines. 
  • Suspending extended office hours and Saturday service.

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