Texas Driver License offices across the state are scheduled to start re-opening this week, but no drop-ins allowed — which means if everything goes well, there should be no long lines.
The Houston area is part of the Southeast Texas region which is included in Phase 3 of the operation. In Phase 3, offices in North and Southeast Texas can begin scheduling appointments on May 29 at 1 p.m. and offices will open on Wednesday, June 3.
Phase 1 includes offices in Northwest and West Texas. Those customers can schedule appointments now with offices opening Tuesday, May 26. In Phase 2, offices in South and Central Texas will reopen on May 29 with scheduling beginning May 26 at 1 p.m.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced the driver's license offices would be able to open back up but all encounters between the public and Department of Public Safety employees will be by appointment only. "Services will be limited to customers with appointments only who are seeking a first-time Texas DL, commercial driver license (CDL), learner license or identification (ID) card, as well as those who need to take a driving test," according to a DPS press release.
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Would-be customers will be able to book appointments for a specific day and time up to six months in advance. Once confirmed for an appointment, customers go to the office at the appointed time, check in by smart devise of kiosk within the office and then wait inside their car after checking in.
Other safety procedures in place include:
All staff members and customers who are taking a driving test will be required to wear face masks or facial coverings.
Every person (staff members and customers) will be screened for symptoms prior to coming into a DL office; this includes having their temperature checked.
Customers may be asked to reschedule their appointment if they do not pass the safety screening.
Only actual customers will be allowed into DL offices. This will help limit capacity and ensure everyone can maintain a safe social distance. Exceptions include: persons needing ADA accommodations; elderly persons; parents with small children; and parents and legal guardians needed to complete a transaction.
DPS staff will sanitize workstations and equipment between each customer transaction.
Eye examinations will no longer require physical contact with an eye testing machine.
Customers must pay with a credit card, check or money order. NO CASH PAYMENTS.
The extension of expired driver license cards remains in effect. Cards that expired on or after March 13 fall under a State of Disaster Declaration related to COVID-19 and will remain valid for the 60 days after the DPS lifts the extension period.