If you were planning to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles next month, steer clear on July 24, at least through lunchtime. All DMV offices across California will be closed for half a day as employees are trained on Real ID transactions and customer service.
Offices will reopen at 1 p.m. after more than 5,000 employees receive training at 183 branches.
The training initiative falls under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s newly created DMV Reinvention Strike Team, which was prompted in response to long waits at the DMV that were magnified by the federal government’s Real ID requirements. Starting Oct. 1, 2020, all travelers flying within the United States will have to present a Real ID, or a passport, in order to board a plane.
More than 3 million Californians have obtained Real ID licenses, but hundreds of thousands of the licenses issued last fall did not meet the Department of Homeland Security’s standards. The backtrack proved chaotic for California’s process of issuing licenses.
“The unprecedented complexity of the Real ID requirements is what led to the idea that we needed to take the extraordinary step of closing DMV offices for a short time to make sure all employees have consistent information in order to complete the transactions successfully,” said Government Operations Agency Secretary Marybel Batjer, who is leading the DMV Strike Team. “It is a complicated transaction and we want customers to be well prepared in order to receive their Real ID efficiently.”
The new ID requirement has led to an increase in demand for DMV services. That’s in addition to the surge of new drivers seeking licenses, a common summer occurrence.
Appointments were never available on the date of the closures and walk-in appointments will be available after 1 p.m. According to the DMV, roughly 67,500 customers are served on Wednesdays, the day of the scheduled closure.
For those in need of DMV assistance while the offices are closed, customers can:
- Contact the DMV call centers at (800) 777-0133.
- Renew vehicle registration, change an address, request a copy of their driving record or make an appointment online at dmv.ca.gov.
- Use DMV Now self-service kiosks found at grocery stores and some libraries.