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Five ways to save time at the DMV

California is the most populated state in the nation with 37 million residents[1].  Approximately, 29.8 million[2] possess a driver license or identification card.  Furthermore, there are 31.8 million registered vehicles.  All of the associated transactions for the driver license, identification card and vehicle registration are processed in a field office (168), on the Internet, on the telephone, or through the mail.  Those are some very large numbers!  As you can guess or already experienced, it can be a little difficult getting service.  We understand that it’s critical for the customer to be able to conclude their business quickly and efficiently.  As a result, we at DMV strive to provide new and innovative ways to expedite customer inquiries and we would like to share five ways to save time at the DMV that the public may not know.

DMV Now iPhone Application – DMV Now is the department’s latest iPhone application that allows iPhone users the ability to find a local DMV office and provides turn by turn directions based on the GPS location of the iPhone, along with the office’s average wait time.  Checking wait times can save time by allowing the user to visit the field office with the shortest wait time.  In addition, iPhone users can take sample written driving tests, access a large library of DMV driver education videos and access other important DMV alerts.  Most importantly, the application is free to download


Telephone Interactive Voice Response System (IVR) – The  IVR allows the DMV telephone system to detect voice and touch tone telephone keypad inputs.  Although live technicians cannot accept payment over the telephone, DMV customers can use the IVR to make debit and credit card payments for transactions such as renewing a driver license and vehicle registration.  Instead of making payments by visiting a local field office, customers can complete transactions over the telephone by using the IVR system by calling 1-800-777-0133.

Online Appointments – The Online Appointment system provides an additional method for scheduling an appointment before you go to a DMV office for an in-person visit.  Save time by scheduling an appointment to avoid waiting in line.  Appointments are available at all DMV offices and may be scheduled up to 45 calendar days in advance for driver license, identification card, vehicle registration services, or behind the wheel examinations.  Appointments can be scheduled online or if you don’t have access to the internet, you can schedule an appointment through the IVR system (1-800-777-0133).

@CA_DMV on Twitter- California DMV has entered the social media realm by joining Twitter.  The social media team at DMV consistently monitors Twitter feeds to engage customers who are having issues regarding DMV related matters.  @CA_DMV tweets news, announcements, field office closures, FAQ’s, and responds to customer inquiries.  Customers can avoid waiting on hold and save time by tweeting @CA_DMV to receive timely responses to customer questions and concerns.  To obtain up to date information or ask questions, follow us at @CA_DMV.


DMV Checklists – Almost every DMV transaction requires a specific form or documentation in order to process.  Customers can save time and avoid a return visit to a DMV office by making sure all these items are prepared prior to a field office visit.  Checklists can be viewed online for Driver License transactions or  Vehicle Registration transactions.

DMV continues to develop and utilize new technologies to better service today’s consumer.  Utilizing one or all of these services can save time and make completing your DMV transaction easier and faster.  For more information about these tools and other services, please visit us at www.dmv.ca.gov.

[1] National and State Population Estimates http://www.census.gov/popest/states/NST-ann-est.html

[2] State of California Department of Motor Vehicles, Statistics for Publication, January through December 2009, http://www.dmv.ca.gov/about/profile/official.pdf

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