Dear DMV Renewal Office, Where Is My License? | L.A. Can't Drive

Dear DMV Renewal Office, Where Is My License?



Hello? Anyone there? I have an inkling that there are a total of 6 one-armed people working at the DMV Renewal office in Sacramento. Though government furloughs and layoffs certainly suck for public servants, we as members of the general public are starting to feel the effects of such downsizing. To be specific, when I say “we”, I mean those of us who have renewed our driver’s license with the DMV via the internet or by mail and are now wondering if we’re going to get anything for the $31 we spent, other than some random transit project in a community we’ve never heard of.

I received a letter from the DMV a few months ago that said, “Congratulations! You are eligible to renew by mail; internet/phone. Renew early to receive your new license before your current license expires.” FYI, my license expires on March 31. Yes, I was once a mighty ram, and now I’m a slimy fish…go me. Anyway, I knew that transactions with the government would be taking longer than usual in these budget-tightening days, so I promptly went online to renew via the interweb. I was already sensing that something would go wrong with this whole license renewal procedure since the online process kept crashing. I tried renewing again and again with three different browsers on two different computers at two different points in the day, all to no avail. I finally decided to renew by phone, which thankfully worked. OK, problem solved, or so I hoped as I wrote down my six-digit confirmation number and filed my AMEX back in my wallet.

Now call me slightly paranoid, but I’m starting to wonder if my license would ever arrive in the mail. And I’m not alone in feeling this way. As I relate my concerns to my friends and colleagues as B-Day approaches, I’m hearing more and more stories of people who had to wait for months, fighting tooth and nail all the while, to get their renewed licenses. A few people actually drove around with an expired license for several months, while others trekked to the local DMV to get a temporary license. Apparently, if you renew by phone, internet, or mail, you can just lie to the DMV and say that your vision hasn’t changed; however, if you renew in person, they make you take a vision test. Since when are people more honest when they’re not dealing with you face-to-face? Maybe that’s why I see so many damned squinty-eyed tunnel-visioned bats aimlessly meandering our streets.

Regardless, the DMV website does say that your renewed license will come in the mail within 60 days. Given that I received my notice in late January and renewed at that time, the jolly folks up in Sacramento were already pushing my renewal notice pretty close to my birthday at the end of March. I’m a patient man, but a part of me is thinking, “Do they mean 60 business days? And what about the furloughs ever other Friday, or the third Thursday of every month, or whatever it is? That essentially puts me three months out, which means that the one-armed hardworking gang of six in the renewal office didn’t send my “early renewal” notice in time, which also means that I won’t get my license until a good four to six weeks after my current license expires.

….wow…..that would be totally awesome…..so not winning.

I’m going to give this another week, and then it’ll be time to make an appointment with my local DMV office to get my temporary hall pass. And yes ma’am, my vision is still good.

24 Responses to “Dear DMV Renewal Office, Where Is My License?”

  1. Good luck with getting your renewal. My last license took 10 months to receive because one of the DMV employees transposed 2 numbers of my social security number. To make up for their mistake, they added 2 years on to my license. But it hardly made up for the hassle of going to get a temp. license 3 times in 10 months.
    Remember, don’t wait until our birthday(we have the same b-day) to renew. The DMV is closed for one of their many holidays on the 31st.

  2. Mike, the problem is with the new license themselves. You’ll have to go down to DMV and get an extension. You also might try to call your local AAA office, I know they do some DMV transactions.

  3. Ed H is right, the problem has to do with the DMV rejecting a large number of driver licenses being produced by their new manufacturer. The new licenses contain cutting-edge anti-fraud/anti-counterfeiting technology, and creating them has been tremendously more complicated than expected. The DMV has already rejected 250,000 poorly manufactured licenses, which means that there are a lot of people in your situation. There’s an article with more details here: http://roadwarrior.blogs.pressdemocrat.com/11890/wait-continues-for-new-dmv-license/

    The DMV staffer interviewed for this article advises that people who have been waiting awhile for their new license “should call the DMV at 1-800-777-0133 and once you get a representative on the phone, tell him/her of the delay and they’ll transfer you to a DMV worker who will have “a better idea” of where your license is in the process and, if necessary, will expedite a temporary license for you.”

    Good luck.

  4. Thanks for the feedback everyone! I’m sure a lot of readers having similar problems can take the same measures.

  5. My Kalifornya license won’t expire till 2013, but, by that time, I’ll be living in Arizona where you can get a drivers’ license issued to you on the spot in 10 minutes after you take the written test and pay your $15 for the license.
    Kalifornya needs to grab each ear and pull real hard, then, when the loud POP is heard, they will have successfully pulled their head out of their ass!

  6. Like that’s ever gonna happen, MM. One can dream, right?

  7. In December I took eye test and paid for my licence renewal .Where is it?Still not here !!!!!! Incompetant !!!!!!

  8. I’d follow-up on that to see what’s going on. Luckily, nothing went wrong with my license when they created it with all the new bells and whistles. However, I did get it 5 days before my old license was set to expire….talk about cutting things close.

  9. what do i have to do to get my licence

  10. hey melody, i hear you. it came down to the wire before i finally got my renewal. these new california licenses are creating a lot of faulty licenses because they’re so precise in how they have to be made. just keep hounding the dmv.

  11. Three years later and the exact thing is happening to me.

    I received my renewal notice first or second week in december 2013 and mailed my check in the next day. It was finally cashed two weekslater; the real kicker is that i needed my license the second week of February, 2014 and am still waiting! Over 3 months late …

  12. Looks like I will have to take a trip to the dmv as I still haven’t received my new drivers license. They sure were quick to deposit the check! Guess if I get pulled over they’ll have my info on file. Well I hope so. What am I paying for? Get with the program California!

  13. I paid for my renewal license I February and here I am late May and still have not recorded my new license! My old license has now expired. Have an appt with the DMV in June–apparently it takes weeks to get an appt! Also tried calling but after two weeks on hold I gave up. Is this for real?

  14. I went into the DMV, after waiting 2 months for my appointment. The actual appointment was quick, but, I’ve been waiting for over 2 months and no license. One thing I’m wondering…the address I used is our home address, but, we have renters living in that house right now. Our name is still on the title, but, all our mail goes to where we live now, and the home address has the renters names. DO you think that might cause the DMV to send the license back or are they just taking a really long time? My husband renewed 2 moths before me and has not received his either. He would have the same issue with the address, if it is an issue? Any help or insight would be appreciated!!

  15. It shouldn’t take 2 months. My wife got her replacement license in about a week and change. Contact the DMV and ask for a status on the license. Also ask the renters if they got any letters under your name from the DMV.

  16. I’ve waited 5 months and counting. Where’s my license I’ve tried everything now in going back to dme and wait through the ridiculous lines we have in Los Angeles County.

  17. Tracy, make an appointment online. It’ll at least save you some time to wait. Don’t trust the calendar, either. The DMV site is heavily buggy, so even if a date is listed as booked, try scheduling an appointment. It worked for my wife, and she got in within a week.

  18. Hi there. I’ve been waiting for my driving license for almost 4 weeks, I got s car and I need the license because the temporary one expires soon, what to do?

  19. Been waiting 5 months since i processed the renewal online.
    check on the license online every month stating.. “your license is already renewed”
    I’ll just print it out and keep it with me.
    online is a waste of time, i’ll never use it again

  20. EJ, hopefully your license wasn’t stolen. There has been an uptick of mail theft in recent months.

  21. Contact the DMV, or if you are a AAA member, it’s a much quicker and hassle-free process going to a AAA office to handle this matter.

  22. I renewed my DL in early April. I have been calling the DMV, they said it was sent 2 weeks ago! I received my registration post dated MAY 11th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am beyond angry!!!

  23. My daughter had an appoinment and paid to replace her stolen license in February. It still has not come. She is told every time she calls headquarters in Sacramento that the license was returned as undeliverable. She has lived here and receives mail here for over 10yrs. Spent over 2 hours with the post master at our local post office because the dmv refuses to resend until mail issue is resolved. According to the post master there is no issue and they are not returning it. We are at a loss and my daughter has not been able to obtain a job because she does not have any identification. She is also the victim of identity theft which has caused a whole other nightmare and are now wondering if this might be part of the problem. At our whits end and do not know what to do!

  24. Its been 4 months and i dont see my license coming from DMV. Not sure how long do they take to search and check on me??

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