License renewal deadline is today

The deadline for Ohioans to renew their licenses is today.

When the COVID crisis first hit more than a year ago, state lawmakers passed a plan that put all license renewals at the Ohio Bureau of Motors Vehicles on hold until after the health emergency ended.

With Gov. Mike DeWine lifting the restrictions and the state of emergency rescinded, the license renewal deadline is returning.

Ohio BMV Registrar Charlie Norman said in an interview with WHIO-TV that the temporary delay of renewals helped, but now there is a backlog of renewals.

“If your vehicle registration or driver’s license expired after March 9th, you have until July 1 to come in and have that renewed,” Norman said.

The state is estimating 350,000 people will be needing to make some kind of renewal before July 1 and the rush to beat the deadline is already being seen at BMV offices in the form of longer than usual lines.

At a BMV office in Columbus a few miles east of the Ohio Statehouse, about fifteen people were in line outside of the office last week.

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At least one person took one look at the line and said she would return when she had time to wait.

Norman encouraged people to check the BMV website at BMV.ohio.gov to see what paperwork is required when they go to renew their license. Also, people can check on wait times at different BMV offices.

Two electronic features at the offices can reduce inconvenience, according to Norman.

One is the sign-up function on the BMV website called “Get In Line Online” which allows a person to make an appointment for a certain time by registering on their site in advance.

Another feature allows a person at the office to use their phone to scan a QR code on a sign outside the office, they can sign up to be notified when it is their turn to enter the office.

Until the notification comes, the person can wait in their car or at a nearby coffee shop.

License plate renewals can also be handled completely online.

See what the wait times are now so you can choose an office that maybe has a shorter wait time.

And then take advantage of those tools so that you’re spending less time in the office,” Norman said.