ST. PAUL -- For thousands of Minnesotans, the extra time to renew expired driver’s licenses, instruction permits or ID cards has run out.
The extension, granted to drivers having difficulty renewing their licenses in 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions, expired March 31.
Legislation passed during the stay-at-home order last spring provided the extension. As of Thursday, April 1, the Department of Public Safety said 113,814 people had yet to renew.
That means their licenses, permits or ID cards are now invalid.
“The extension has been in place for approximately an entire year,” said Emma Corrie, director of the DPS Driver and Vehicle Services Division. “We have tried to keep it on the radar, getting that message out — whether it’s by TV, radio, print or a very active social media campaign — reminding folks.”
The department also extended special hours over the past six Saturdays at various exam stations across the state specifically for those who still needed to renew their licenses.
In addition, the department has been working to catch up on the backlog created during the stay-at-home order in 2020 by opening new offices, extending hours, moving more services online and creating a virtual lobby so people can check in with their phones and not stand in line.
“We did almost 82,000 road tests between May and October,” Corrie said. “That was more than we have done in past years.”
As of Thursday, there are no more extensions and those found driving with an invalid license will be subject to penalties that would normally apply, Corrie said.
The quickest and easiest way to renew is online at drive.mn.gov. This option is available for standard driver’s license or ID card renewals that do not require name, address, signature or driver’s license number changes.
Testing is not required as long as a driver’s license is expired less than one year and was in good standing prior to expiring.
If renewing in person or applying for a REAL ID, enhanced driver’s license or ID card, pre-applying online will reduce the time spent in person.
Exam stations accept renewal applications on a first-come-first-served basis. No appointments are required.
Deputy registrar and driver’s license agent offices are independently owned and operated. Many require appointments for services and have limited appointments available.