The Department of Motor Vehicles will process renewals for driver’s licenses online starting February 15, Governor Lamont announced in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
As long as residents do not need to change any of their license information, they will be able to renew their licenses through a new online portal that is the culmination of two years of efforts to modernize the department and minimize unnecessary in-person office visits, DMV Commissioner Sibongile Magubane said.
Connecticut joins 36 other states in allowing renewals to take place from home, and in those states, roughly 40 percent of renewals take place online rather than in person, Magubane said.
A pilot program launched in December to test the portal’s efficacy, which rolled out to 100,000 individuals. More than 20,000 residents, or 20 percent of those contacted for the pilot program, have already renewed their licenses or non-driver IDs online.
“I think we’ll see those numbers go up significantly today after the public announcement and the other promotion that we do,” said Josh Geballe, Chief Operating Officer and Department of Administrative Services Commissioner for the DMV. “We did see some people in the pilot who thought it might have been a scam, and said, wait a minute, I can’t renew my drivers’ license online, this must be fake. Now that we’re confirming for the general public that this is real, I think we’ll see the rates go up.”
All residents will still be welcome to renew their licenses in person, which Lamont said was an important lesson from the vaccine distribution process, as not everyone is comfortable navigating online portals. The governor also highlighted the message this portal sends about state government modernization.
“I’ve been through a few campaigns now, and everybody loves to beat up the DMV as an example of government that can’t get out of its own way,” Lamont said. “This is not just about people getting their licenses renewed, it says something about government.”
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state stopped requiring residents to renew expired driver’s licenses through December 31, 2021, and the department hopes the rollout of online renewal will help mitigate the influx of people who will need to renew post-pandemic.
While the portal will initially only allow for license renewals, the department hopes to roll out new types of transactions shortly, including online license plate cancellations and commercial license renewals. The portal will not charge a service fee, and its initial February 15 launch will be limited to those whose licenses will expire before April 1.