4 tips to navigating the DMV painlessly


DMV tips on how to save time and avoid confusion

Do you have a trip to the DMV coming up? If so, these 6 tips should hopefully change the way you think about the DMV! It’s 2018 and there’s a ton of new ways to help you save time at the DMV. With these following 6 tips you can avoid the long lines, confusing forms, repeat visits, and stress of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Let’s get started.

Tip #4: Check your online options

Each state in the US controls there own Department of Motor Vehicles (or similarly named function). As a result, it’s up to each state to slowly embrace technology and move things online. There are some DMV functions that are increasingly being moved online, such as renewing your driver’s license or changing your address or renewing your registration. Since these function many times involve updating info or paying fees, you don’t need a DMV employee to look at you and verify your identity.

The good news is more DMV functions are moving online, so before you go in, do a quick search and see if you can avoid the trip altogether and get done what you need done online!

Tip #3: Get an appointment

There still are a bunch of DMV tasks that require your in-person self. This is particularly for getting a driver’s license or getting an ID for the first time. For these you’ll typically need to bring your proof of address, proof of identity, and proof of social security number. DMV employees will need to check these documents in person. Often for title transfers DMV employees need to check the proper signatures as well.

So, instead of showing up and waiting for potentially 3 hours, plan a little bit in advance, and book an appointment. Most states have online appointment booking systems and there are even some independent sites where you can book appointments, like the YoGov DMV appointment system. In many cases, an appointment will get you to a special line and in theory you can get in and out in minutes not hours.

Tip #2: Compile your documents

One of the biggest stressors of the DMV is not the wait, but the fear of being rejected by a mean DMV employee and told to come back. Imagine you’ve waited for 2 hours and your number is called and then your told that you have the wrong documents and need to come back. Game over. The bad day just got worse.

So, after you get your appointment, double check the documents you need to bring. In many cases, when you’re getting a new license, you’ll need to a bring social security card, an original or certified copy. You’ll also need to bring proof of your address, like a utility bill or a cell phone bill. Or if you’re transferring a title from someone, you’ll need to make sure you get their signature, often a notarized signature. Plan ahead and pack your documents the night before!

Tip #1: Be positive

Last of all, stay positive and keep your expectations low. That means plan for the worst, just in case. Sometimes things are out of your control and the DMV experience is one of them. Even if you make an appointment, bring the correct documents, and do everything right, something might still go wrong. So stay positive. Bring a book to read or listen to a podcast in case you happen upon a line. And observe humanity at it’s core! And if you do go let us know, we’d love to hear about your experience and if these tips helped at all.


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