What about my license? Questions about DVS and the pandemic, answered

Getting drivers test done
Talia Edelheit tries to calm herself before taking a driver's license road test at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's exam station in Arden Hills in June 2011.
Jeffrey Thompson | MPR News 2011

Updated: 2:04 p.m.

We’ve received a lot of questions during the COVID-19 pandemic about what’s going on with Driver and Vehicle Services. What happens if you missed your road test? What if you need to renew a license tag?

MPR News reporter Nina Moini and producer Britta Greene answered audience questions, including these we received regarding driver’s licenses.

My daughter turns 16 in June and due to limited availability we scheduled her test in February to get her test in June. When tests reopen, will kids who missed theirs get priority? — Karen in Coon Rapids

So what happens if you missed out on the road test due to stay-at-home restrictions? Under the new “stay safe” order, a limited number of DVS locations opened on May 18, but they have to follow new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Minnesota Department of Health guidelines. That includes social distancing at test locations, virtual check-ins at some locations and even an optional temperature check with health screening questions. People can be turned away if they have COVID-19 symptoms.

There were 13,500 canceled road tests during the “stay-at-home” order, both regular and commercial licenses. DVS said that for the next six months, they’ll be designating staff to do those makeup appointments, and they’re not taking new appointments yet.

[Has Minnesota] considered what Georgia’s governor has done and eliminate[d] the test as long as students have all other requirements in place? — Lori

Actually in Georgia, the governor clarified that those who get their license now with no road test will still have to take a test eventually, just not right away.

Here in Minnesota, instructors will still be doing in-person tests. But there will be changes to improve safety. Applicants will have to sanitize their vehicle before the tests begin — with supplies from the DVS — and masks are encouraged.

The test will end immediately if the applicant does something to automatically fail the exam. They won’t wait until the end —they’ll tell you on the spot if you failed.

Will the [DVS] open so I can get a new driver’s license? Mine expired. — Tim in Minneapolis

For expired licenses, the state has said you’re OK for the duration of the peacetime emergency. That’s in effect until June 12. The expiration dates have been extended for two months after the peacetime emergency ends, and that covers new Minnesota residents whose out-of-state licenses have expired.

If you think you need to apply for a Real ID, that deadline has been postponed for a full year, until October 2021.

Correction (May 27, 2020): An earlier version of this story provided the incorrect time frame for expired licenses. The story has been updated.

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