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DMV Spreading Holiday Cheer: Californians Doing More Online

The Department of Motor Vehicles is giving Californians the gift of time this holiday season – and all year round. Since beginning its customer-focused digital transformation under new Director Steve Gordon early into the Newsom Administration, the DMV has more than doubled the number of services available online, cut transaction times by two-thirds and empowered customers with the tools they need for a smooth experience if they do visit an office – where wait times are now just a fraction of what they were just a few years ago.

The move to digitizing services and making more DMV tasks available online reduces the number of necessary visits to a DMV office by 1.5 million annually, saving time and gasoline.

“Today’s mobile-first DMV offers Californians more convenient ways to do business with us without having to come to an office,” said Director Gordon. “We understand everyone’s time is valuable, and we are providing services 24/7, 365 where and when our customers want them.”

Expanded online services: DMV online services allows you to start or complete most DMV transactions using a computer or mobile device – including services that previously required a trip to a DMV office. Since 2019, the DMV has expanded self-service or assisted service online transactions from 20 to 48.

From the comfort of your home on your mobile device or computer, you can renew your driver’s license, vehicle registration and disabled person parking placard, replace your registration card and license plate sticker, as well as request a refund, change of address, and submit a notice of transfer and release of liability when you sell your car, among many other online services.

In 2023, Californians completed more than 27 million online transactions. Since 2019, internet transactions for vehicle registration, driver’s licenses and identification cards jumped 122 percent thanks to an upgraded, streamlined process and expanded online options.

Increased self-service kiosk options: The 286 self-service kiosks located at select DMV offices and retail locations throughout the state offer another convenient option to take care of DMV business. Options available at your fingertips have grown from seven transaction types in 2019 to nine today. Annual usage has also increased from 2.4 million customers in 2019 to more than 3 million in the first 10 months of 2023. That means about 33 percent more Californians are using this quick and convenient alternative to get their registration renewal card and sticker on the spot, receive their driver and vehicle record, submit proof of insurance, request a replacement driver’s license, and other transactions.

Fewer and faster office visits: Many transactions that still require an office visit, such as applying for a REAL ID, can also be started online, which results in customers spending less time in the office. By filling out the online application at and uploading their documents, Californians can bring their confirmation code and documents to a DMV office at their convenience, even the same day, for express service – no appointment necessary. Once at a service window, it now takes an average of about eight minutes to complete the REAL ID transaction – compared to 28 minutes three years ago – shortening the visit by more than two-thirds.

By cutting transaction times and improving efficiency with streamlined processes and procedures, the DMV has cut overall wait times to an average of 23 minutes statewide – a reduction of more than 100 minutes compared to 2018.

It’s not just Californians who are noticing the new and improved DMV. The DMV’s digital solutions are being recognized nationally, as the department works to become a leader in providing digital solutions designed to improve the customer experience.