Renewing your driver's license is always a blast. What's it like with COVID restrictions in place? Not nearly as bad as you might think.

I recently had the pleasure of renewing my Colorado Driver's License in person at the facility at 222 S. 6th Street in Grand Junction. Surprisingly, even with the protocols implemented since COVID, the process is fast, efficient, and ultimately smooth as glass.

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Back to the Old Days

Where this visit was concerned, I had no option but to attend in person. The last time I renewed my driver's license, it was possible to renew online. Since this renewal marked ten years since my last in-person visit, it was required that I get a new photo and take a quick eye test.

If you go back in time roughly 30 years, a visit to the DMV usually went something like this:

  • Show up as early as possible
  • Wait in line an hour before your number gets called
  • Do your eye exam, test, get your photo, and whatever else you needed to do
  • Realize you left your wallet or checkbook and home, so you have to leave and come back later to do it all over again

 Fast Forward to the Year 2021

In this day and age, there's the possibility of renewing your license online. In some instances, mine, for example, an in-person visit is required. How do you arrange for this? It's very simple.

When you visit the Colorado Department of Revenue page, be ready to click about a thousand buttons to get to your destination. Once you reach the Grand Junction page for appointments, you'll be met with a calendar.

I felt it wise to conduct a poor man's appointment scheduling test run. This experiment was conducted this morning, Monday, May 10, at 9:26. At the time of this test, the earliest available day for an appointment is Friday, May 21. The earliest available time on that date is 11:20 a.m.

How the Appointment Unfolds

Upon arrival for your appointment, you'll find the process to be unbelievably efficient. Here's how my visit on Friday, April 30, at 8:20 a.m. unfolded:

  • Arrive for an appointment shortly before 8:20
  • Enter the building and stand in a fast-moving line with about 15 people in it
  • An employee takes your temperature (scanner to your forehead) and asks a couple of simple health-related questions
  • Go to the next clerk to get a number
  • Have a seat in the socially distanced waiting area
  • In my case, at 8:20, the time of my appointment, my number was called
  • The clerk takes my renewal information, gives me a quick eye exam, and takes my check for $32 or whatever it cost to renew
  • Sit back down in the waiting area
  • My name is called again, directing me to the person who scans your fingerprint and takes your suitable-for-framing photo
  • You are informed your license will be mailed to you
  • Go on about your merry way - in and out in less than 40 minutes

 When Do You Get Your New License/ID?

In my case, the new license arrived in the mail eight days after my visit to the Division of Motor Vehicles. On a side note - the new Colorado license features the updated design including the image of Western Colorado's Mt. Sneffels.

This Might Be For the Better

If your driver's license renewal requires an in-person visit, it's entirely possible the current process is for the better. In my case, the entire visit took less than 40 minutes. Going back to the 1980s, I can remember standing in line for much longer than that, to say nothing about the actual visit. Between the online renewal option which is available in some cases, combined with the drastically sped-up appointment process, I'm not sure the current situation isn't a profound improvement.

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