The Wisconsin Department of Transportation Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) online driver license renewal option hit a milestone. Just over 200,000 drivers have renewed their driver license online since the online renewal pilot program launched in May 2020.
“Throughout the COVID-19 health crisis, DMV has stepped up to offer customers safer, more convenient online options,” DMV Administrator Kristina Boardman said. “As a state agency that touches nearly every Wisconsin resident, such leadership in innovation and service couldn’t have come at a better time.”
Each day, nearly 300 drivers renew their driver license online at wisconsindmv.gov/renewDL. Those eligible to renew online include drivers between ages 18 and 64 who are U.S. citizens with an unrestricted driver license, those who have not had a change in medical conditions, and those who do not need an original REAL ID.
Customers who no longer plan to drive have another option that can also be done online. They may change their driver license to a free, non-expiring ID card. This eliminates the need for a DMV visit and provides important identification.
Wisconsin allows drivers to renew their license online up to 12 months before expiration and up to one year after, although late fees apply after expiration. Like regular renewals, driver licenses renewed online are valid for eight years. Customers receive a receipt showing their new driver license and receive the card in the mail within about a week.
Customer safety, convenience key factor behind online services
In 2020, as the scope of the pandemic emerged, DMV took steps to protect customers by limiting in-person services to only those pertaining to commercial driver licenses, IDs to vote and licenses for new Wisconsin residents. All vehicle related services, including license plate renewal and titling, can be done online (wisconsindmv.gov), through the mail, or with a third party.
To make a DMV visit easier and reduce the time in the lobby for required in-person renewals, customers are encouraged to begin with DMV’s many online services:
- Complete applications online
- Submit applications electronically
- Make an appointment online for even faster driver license renewal
Making an appointment and completing forms online before visiting a DMV reduces the amount of time in an already smooth process. Recent performance measures show 90% of customers who must visit a DMV were served within 20 minutes.
“DMV continues to find new and convenient ways to modernize DMV interactions, whether online or in-person. I am so pleased that our customers are taking notice and letting us know about their experience,” Boardman said.
Online driver license renewal remains a pilot program. DMV’s preliminary analysis shows no negative safety ramifications associated with renewing a driver license online versus renewing in-person.
“The online driver license renewal program remains a temporary pilot, which we expect to continue through the duration of the COVID health emergency,” Boardman said.
Drivers whose license expires in 2022 can take this opportunity to renew online now and skip the trip, Boardman noted.