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Some MVD life hacks to get you through the pandemic

HOW CAN I GET INTO MVD? A life hack is a tip that can help make life easier. Put three little letters (MVD) into a pandemic, and we can all use a life hack or two.

Ray Woodbury emails “I am over 79 and have a REAL ID license (that) expired June 26. … MVD automatically sent a temporary (license that expires) Sept. 12. Unfortunately I have had no luck getting an appointment through the internet to get a vision test to get a renewal, and, of course, they don’t answer the phone.

“Any suggestions?”

And Kelsey emails “my ID expires in a month, and it’s time to upgrade to Real ID. I knew I needed to make an appointment, so about a week before I had time I went online to do so, only to find out that appointments are only on three days, two months from now! I called multiple MVD offices because none were answering to confirm that I would have to wait two months. The fourth office I called finally answered and confirmed. I said ‘there’s really nothing sooner?’ And they said ‘no.’ I said ‘what do I do about the fact that my ID expires before then?’ They literally said ‘you can’t do anything without an appointment, so I guess you’re out of luck.’ Um – what?! I just have to deal?”

Yes on Ray’s request for suggestions, and no on Kelsey just having to deal.

In a “fit of rage” Kelsey found the May 17 Road Warrior column and learned a few MVD life hacks. In order of effort required, here are those, plus a few more to help drivers through the pandemic.

1. You can, in good conscience, do nothing. The governor’s order from March 30 “waive(s) late fees and penalties on licenses that expire during MVD office closures and for a reasonable period of time after our offices reopen. The order also directs State Police not to issue citations for registrations or licenses that expire while MVD field offices are closed. Local law enforcement agencies have been encouraged to do the same.”

2. You can go to mvdonline.com and do a lot of transactions online, including printing a temporary license, which Kelsey got to last until the October appointment. You can also renew vehicle registrations, standard IDs and licenses and licenses that are already Real ID compliant. If you do not have a Real ID license and want one (the new federal deadline to have one to board commercial flights is October 2021), you can renew online now for a non-Real ID license, and MVD has said it will pro-rate the cost to switch to a Real ID when things settle down and you can go in in person.

3. You can go to a commercial office and pay a little extra. Transactions that have to be done in person include getting your first driver’s license, your first Real ID license (which requires providing documents proving identity, identity number and residency), renewing a license for someone age 79 and older (which as Ray explained requires a vision test), driving tests, title transfers and VIN inspections.

4. You can try to get a coveted appointment at mvdonline.com. But if the first office you pick only has three days available two months in the future, back up and try a different office – they may have more openings.

5. If you are 79 or older, you can show up unannounced for “senior hours.” The website says “any customers age 79 and over can utilize senior-only hours Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the MVD offices in Clovis, Farmington, Roswell, Santa Fe on Camino Entrada, and in Albuquerque at the Eagle Vista, Montgomery, Rio Bravo and Sandia Vista offices. Ray did this and “Success! … I went to the Montgomery MVD office. Arrived at 8 a.m. and there were about 10 people ahead of me. By 8:45 I was done and had a temporary license. When I left there were only two or three people in line. It went a lot more smoothly than I thought it would.”

And you can also email MVD with questions. Seniors can use MVD.forseniors@state.nm.us; folks under 79 can use MVD.closure@state.nm.us.

These MVD hacks took a weight of worry off Ray and Kelsey, and here’s to them helping more N.M. drivers navigate the system as we all try to get through this pandemic together.

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858.

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