The Minnesota Department of Vehicle Services (DVS) will temporarily offer Saturday hours to help thousands of people who were granted renewal extensions due to the COVID-19 pandemic to complete the task.
Credentials that would have expired over the past year but remained valid as a result of legislation Gov. Tim Walz signed into law last year must be renewed by March 31, DVS announced last month.
Walz's emergency declarations over the past year allowed DVS to grant extensions for expiring licenses. But under Minnesota law, no more extensions are possible.
About 200,000 Minnesotans still need to renew their driver's licenses and state identification cards or they will lose their driving privileges. Additionally, drivers and ID card holders with an expiration date of March 1, 2021, or later must renew by their due date, said Megan Leonard, a DVS spokeswoman.
The renewal deadline for holders of commercial driver's licenses is Feb. 28.
To ease the expected crush, DVS will open 15 exam stations on Saturdays through March 27. Appointments will not be required, but applications will be processed first-come, first-served, Leonard said.
Stations in the metro area that will be open include Anoka, Arden Hills, Eagan, Hastings, Plymouth and downtown St. Paul. In greater Minnesota, stations in Austin, Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, Duluth, Mankato, Rochester, St. Cloud and Virginia will be open.
Drivers can renew their licenses online at drive.mn.gov if they are not making any changes to their name, address, signature or license number. The same applies for those renewing a state ID card.
Residents who need to make changes or who need to renew a Real ID or enhanced driver's license must renew in person at an exam station, local deputy registrar's office or regional license center. Many of those locations require appointments.
Beginning Oct. 1, Minnesotans cannot use their standard driver's license or ID card to board domestic flights or enter federal facilities.
Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768