Adults know from experience, and kids know from sitcoms, that the DMV is certifiably the worst place on the planet. Okay, maybe it’s not all that bad, and truth be told, the situation has been improving, but with the recent passage of AB 60 (a new law that will allow undocumented immigrants to apply for and obtain a driver’s license that works almost identically to a U.S. citizen’s license within the state it was issued), the DMV has become a much more crowded place. You can’t just waltz in and get a license, especially not if you plan on leaving the DMV within the next five or six hours, but if you follow these simple steps, you can avoid the hustle, go in, take care of business, and leave with plenty of time to spare.
The most important thing is preparation, so before you do anything, make sure you meet the AB 60 requirements and study for your tests. There’s no point in making an appointment with the DMV if you’re not going to pass your tests, so after you’re prepared for the tests and have your documents all ready, it’s time to…
1. Decide if going to the DMV is really necessary
Believe it or not, there are a remarkable number of things you can do that no longer require going to the DMV. Just because our parents had to make the trip down to their local DMV location doesn’t mean that we have to, all thanks to the power of the internet. Now, if you’re applying for a driver’s license under AB 60, you will need to go to the DMV, and you’ll actually need to make an appointment beforehand as well, but for the many of our readership that just want to avoid the extra traffic, it helps to see what can be taken care of online. Things like license renewals, registration renewals, paying citations, and ordering/downloading forms and plates can all be handled online. You can also check out all kinds of auto insurance options, since you’ll need insurance to be street-legal.
2. Absolutely make an appointment
Unless you’re planning on visiting one of California’s four license processing centers, you’ll need to make an appointment and actually visit the DMV to receive a license under AB 60. Even if you’re not required to make an appointment, it’s very highly recommended, and it could mean the difference between a 20-minute wait and a 5-hour wait. Visit the California DMV’s website to make a reservation or call 1-(800) 777-0133 today. Plan as far ahead as possible, because many DMV locations are booked solid for weeks into the future.
3. Gather information
The website for your individual DMV office probably has a feature that will allow you to calculate your real-time wait based on the waiting times of other visitors, and it’s important to be prepared for the wait ahead. Make your appointment, know what you need to do, come prepared, and you’ll be out in no time.
All in all, the DMV is more busy now than it’s been in a very long time thanks in part to the passage of AB 60. Now that undocumented immigrants can apply for driver’s licenses, they’re trying to do so as quickly as possible, leading to congested streets and long lines. Do yourself and everyone else a favor by taking care of what you can online, making an appointment, and coming prepared. If you do your part, you own DMV experience will drastically improve, and you’ll help all of your fellow Californians out a little bit in the process.