Renewing your driver's license just got easier: Ohio's BMV offers online application

·3 min read
Charlie Norman, Ohio's Registrar of Motor Vehicles, explains the new online driver's license renewal portal will take users about three minutes to fill out. Along with Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, Norman hopes the online portal will collectively save Ohioans millions of hours of waiting in line.
Charlie Norman, Ohio's Registrar of Motor Vehicles, explains the new online driver's license renewal portal will take users about three minutes to fill out. Along with Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, Norman hopes the online portal will collectively save Ohioans millions of hours of waiting in line.

Don't like long lines at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles? They could soon be a thing of the past.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced starting Monday, driver's license or state ID cards can now be renewed completely online.

The option will be open only to U.S. citizens aged 21 to 65 who already have a four-year license that was processed in person. Lt. Gov. Jon Husted estimated that about 2.6 million Ohioans renew their licenses every year. About 2 million Ohioans annually should be eligible to take advantage of the online services.

DeWine also announced a new online title transfers portal, which will go live on July 11.

The driver's license traffic laws test, required for anyone receiving a temporary driving permit, will soon be offered online. Starting July 1, the Ohio BMV is piloting a third-party partnership with businesses to offer the skills test in eight locations.

The changes come in a continued effort to make Ohio's BMV experience more efficient.

"Nobody says 'I can't wait for my next trip to the BMV,'" Husted said. "Nobody says that. But we know everybody's had an experience."

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Renewing licenses online – how it works

The average online driver's license renewal transaction will take users about three minutes.

After logging into their Ohio BMV account, users will answer a questionnaire with the same questions asked in an in-person visit. Users will also be asked to upload documents to verify their identity, which is reviewed live by a deputy registrar.

After submitting payment information, Ohioans just need to wait for the deputy registrar to approve the application.

The online system does not completely scrap in-person BMV visits. Ohioans will still be required to come in person every eight years for a vision exam.

Charlie Norman, Ohio Registrar of Motor Vehicles, said despite moving online, the BMV is implementing certain safety measures in its system. On the back end, the BMV's systems have fraud indicators, such as tracking IP addresses.

The applications will all still be viewed by a real person and can be flagged if there's anything suspicious.

"Online (driver's license) renewal is not something new. It's certainly new to Ohio but about 30 states are already doing this so we feel very comfortable with our process," Norman said.

The BMV's move to online services

Back in October, the BMV announced multiple changes to better the customer experience by moving some services online.

One of the new programs is the implementation of nine "Ohio Express Kiosks." The kiosks allow customers to renew and print vehicle registrations and validation stickers.

That number recently increased to 18. The kiosks are open 24 hours a day and are found all over Ohio, including the Grove City Kroger and the Westerville Meijer.

So far, Husted said the kiosks have collectively saved Ohioans over 34,000 visits to the BMV.

Ohio's BMV also introduced the "Get In Line Online" program, which allows Ohioans to reserve their spot in line at the BMV through an online portal. Husted said about 3,300 Ohioans use Get In Line Online every day.

"We just don't want people to wait," Husted said. "We want them to have a great interaction with our services because we know that it's important to them to save their time and their money."

Husted the move to offering online services is typically slower for governments than for private industries. He recalled how much the BMV has embraced new technologies since it first began accepting credit cards in 2016. 

"The government has to want it," Husted said. "Using technology, we can better serve customers, save them time, save money and improve their impression of what it's like to deal with state government."

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio BMV moves driver's license renewal, traffic laws test online