North Carolina DMV Allows Online Renewal for Provisional Licenses to Reduce Wait Times

By Richard Stradling | Updated May 31, 2023, 2:38 PM

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has introduced online renewal options for drivers with valid provisional licenses, eliminating the need for an in-person visit to obtain a regular Class C license. Previously, young drivers in North Carolina had to visit a DMV office to exchange their provisional licenses for Class C licenses. However, the recent change allows drivers with valid provisional licenses to make the switch online once they turn 18. The provisional license remains valid until the driver reaches the age of 21.

Additionally, drivers who allow their provisional licenses to expire now have up to a year to renew them, and the renewal can be done online. These measures are part of the DMV’s broader initiative to reduce lines and wait times at its driver’s license offices.

By implementing these changes, the DMV aims to decrease congestion at its offices. It is estimated that over 148,000 drivers with provisional licenses qualify for regular Class C licenses, potentially resulting in fewer people standing in line at DMV offices. Furthermore, individuals with expired state-issued identification now have a year to renew it online, eliminating the need for an office visit. This change benefits approximately 84,700 people whose state IDs expired within a year.

DMV Commissioner Wayne Goodwin expressed the belief that completing these services online will help reduce lines and wait times at their offices, removing individuals who previously had to physically visit the office from the queue altogether.

In addition to these renewal policies, the DMV has taken several steps to alleviate overcrowding and optimize its workforce. The agency now posts current wait times at all 115 driver’s license offices statewide, assisting walk-in customers in deciding whether to visit another office or return on another day. Furthermore, customers with appointments are only seen in the mornings, while walk-in customers are welcome during that time as well. After noon, customers without appointments are served on a first-come, first-served basis.

Looking ahead, the DMV plans to introduce computer kiosks in public places that allow customers to conduct DMV transactions without visiting an office. These kiosks will initially be tested in about 20 locations accessible 24 hours a day, such as grocery stores. The DMV hopes that offering this convenience will encourage customers to skip the trip to an office, as more than half of their customers still visit in-person for transactions that could be completed online.

To accommodate increased demand during the busy summer season, the DMV will open 16 driver’s license offices on Saturday mornings from June 3 to August 26. This temporary measure aims to facilitate students obtaining licenses before the start of the school year. While the agency aspires to expand Saturday office hours beyond the summer and across more locations, staffing limitations currently prevent this.

In the Triangle area, the only offices with Saturday morning hours this summer will be located at 3231 Avent Ferry Road and 2431 Spring Forest Road in Raleigh. In the Charlotte area, the offices with Saturday hours include two in Charlotte (9711 David Taylor Drive and 201 West Arrowood Road), onein Huntersville (12101 Mount Holly-Huntersville Road), and one in Monroe (3122 U.S. 74 West).

Source: The News & Observer

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