Time to renew: NCDMV license, registration COVID-19 renewal extension coming to an end

Jul 29, 2020 / 05:16 PM EDT / Updated: Jul 29, 2020 / 05:20 PM EDT

Time to renew: NCDMV license, registration COVID-19 renewal extension coming to an end
Extension to renew driver licenses, vehicle registrations, vehicle property tax and several other credentials due to the coronavirus pandemic is ending. (Source: NCDOT)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The COVID-19 grace-period which gave people more to renew license and registrations is about to end and that means you won’t be able to put off taking care of that business anymore.

“Essentially it means any expiration date that comes after July 31 will stay the same,” said North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV) spokesman Steve Abbott. “In the case of registration renewals, drivers actually have until the 15th to get an inspection and renew before they can get a ticket, but they will get the $15 late fee.”

For many, nothing changed. Renewals of license and registrations can still be done on-line and that continued right through the pandemic. But, there are some renewals that require an in-person visit such as for a vision test or a new picture.

Teresa Green was one of those individuals who had to visit the NCDMV office in Raleigh.

“I had to renew my license and had some issues with New York, so I need to come into the office to get it done,” she said.

A number of NCDMV offices remain closed or are practicing social distancing. That means the end of the grace period will put an additional load on DMV offices which are open to conducting in-person renewals.

There are lines outside NCDMV offices because of social-distancing rules. The NCDMV is only allowing limited numbers of people in the building at any one time.

Waiting in line was also a necessity for Levi Ball who was in the queue outside the Avent Ferry DMV office in Raleigh.

“I want a new driver’s license picture so when I go out I don’t look like I’m 14,” he said.

For Ball, the COVID-19 exemption just didn’t work even though his license was still valid according to the state.

“Everywhere I’ve been going they don’t accept my ID because I tell people about the extension, but they don’t believe it’s a real thing—so that’s why I’m here now,” he said.

When it comes to automobile inspections, Abbot said, “We don’t want vehicle owners who are at high-risk and whose registration expires to feel pressured to have to go out and get an inspection handled.

In cases where the vehicle owner feels uncomfortable, he said someone else is allowed to handle that for them.

“The owner of the vehicle does not have to be the person who takes the car in for an inspection,” he said.

Abbott said “Once the inspection is done, the owner can renew online or through regular mail, or go to a License Plate Agency.”

He said they can also send a surrogate with the paperwork it a license plate agency if they are worried about being exposed to COVID-19 where again it doesn’t have to be the actual owner.

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