On March 20, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a shelter in place order, shuddering nonessential businesses and retailers, to curb the spread of COVID-19 in New York. As a result, all Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) offices have been closed until April 17 and driver’s licenses that expired on March 1, 2020 or later have been extended.

What does this mean for me?

If your driver’s license expired within the last few weeks, you have a reprieve from facing a fine. Also because of DMV closures, New Yorkers won’t need a real-ID-compliant driver’s license to board a plane until October 2021. Previously, that deadline was October 2020. A real ID driver’s license requires further documentation.

Can I renew my license online?

Some drivers may be able to renew their driver’s licenses online. To do that, you must pass a vision test or have documentation from an eye doctor that shows you have passed the vision requirements to drive. You also must be applying for the same type of driver’s license. So, if you already have a real ID or enhanced driver’s license, you can apply online to update it.

You need to renew your driver’s license at a DMV office if you:

  • Have a commercial driver’s license
  • Want to update your photo
  • Want to upgrade from a standard driver’s license to an enhanced license or real ID license

Most likely, once DMV offices reopen, lines to renew driver’s licenses will be long. If you can renew online, it may be wise to do it. That way, you’ll get your license updated without having to spend hours waiting for it. Once you have renewed your license, you can print out a temporary license until your real one arrives by mail.