Remember 2017’s Surge in Passport Renewals? In 2018, it’s Driver License Renewals
CLEARWATER, FL – Quick, check your driver’s license.
Are you due to renew in 2018? If so, you are far from alone.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, one in six Pinellas County drivers will renew their driver license in 2018. That’s an estimated 125,630 license renewals, a 38% increase over 2017, when 90,922 Pinellas County drivers renewed. This doesn’t include new drivers, people who move to Pinellas County or residents who don’t drive and need to obtain a Florida ID card.
To avoid long waits, drivers are encouraged to renew online at https://services.flhsmv.gov/virtualoffice/. If you move, you can also change your address online.
There’s one catch: before you renew online, make sure your license is REAL ID compliant. If your license has a yellow star icon or a star inside a circle, your license is REAL ID compliant. Under federal law, all U.S. adults will need a REAL ID driver license or other acceptable form of identification, such as a U.S. passport, to board commercial domestic flights beginning October 1, 2020. Non-REAL ID licenses will continue to be valid for driving purposes until they expire.
Florida’s online driver license renewal system allows people to renew non-REAL IDs online. Pinellas County Tax Collector Charles W. Thomas encourages drivers to check their license before deciding how to renew.
“If your license is already a REAL ID, we advise you to renew online. However, if your license is not a REAL ID, you cannot upgrade to a REAL ID online,” said Thomas. “The only way to obtain your first REAL ID is by renewing in person.”
If you must renew your license in person, you can make an appointment online here. Wait times are typically shorter in the morning between 8 and 10 a.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays. Offices are busiest the day before and the day after federal holiday closures, such as Tuesday, January 2.
One more thing for drivers who renew their license in 2018: Florida recently changed its driver license design with a new look and increased fraud protection. Drivers who renew online or in person in 2018 will both receive the new license design.
ABOUT THE PINELLAS COUNTY TAX COLLECTOR’S OFFICE: The Pinellas County Tax Collector’s Office is a constitutionally elected office. Responsibilities include collecting and distributing state and local taxes and providing driver license and motor vehicle registration services to Pinellas County residents. The Office received the 2013 Governor’s Sterling Award and the 2016 Governor’s Sterling Sustained Excellence Award for performance excellence. For more information visit www.taxcollect.com/news.