Texas DMV Closed Until Further Notice


Photo from Megan Zlotky

Sophomore Megan Zlotky posing with her car on her birthday.

Nate Stitt

Sophomore Megan Zlotky had always imagined what her 16th birthday would look like: She would wake up early, go to the closest Texas Department of Motor Vehicles office and drive herself home with a license in hand.

“I have been waiting years to get my license, and I’ve been so excited for so long,” Zlotky said.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the DMV has closed all locations, and that has disrupted the lives—and driving dreams—of Greenhill students.

Freshman Katie Bogdanow has a similar problem.

Bogdanow needs a Verification of Enrollment and Attendance (VOE) form, which is required to apply for a Texas learner license. But Greenhill is closed, so Bogdanow can’t get her VOE.

“Because of quarantine, I can’t get my permit,”  Bogdanow said.

Now, Bogdanow worries about getting her license after her 16th birthday.

“I might not be able to earn enough required driving hours before I turn 16,”Bogdanow said. “I don’t know how long it will be until I can drive.”

Bogdanow is one of many students who are unable to go to the DMV to obtain their license, an event that most have anticipated for years.

“Knowing I won’t be able to get my license on my birthday is really disappointing, since I have been looking forward [to it] for so long,” Zlotky said.

Older students face a different disruption.

Senior Esha Julka posing with her car. (Photo by Esha Julka.)

In Texas, students who hold a learner license at age 15 can complete certain requirements and upgrade to a provisional driver license starting at age 16. The provisional license expires on an individual’s 18th birthday, making it illegal to drive. In the 30 days prior, a driver can obtain a permanent license—but the current pandemic quarantine has caused some disruptions in the process.

Senior Esha Julka celebrated her 18th  birthday during quarantine, and her provisional license has expired. The DMV emailed Julka a month before her birthday and outlined three options for license renewal: fill out a renewal form they had sent in the mail, complete it online, or go in person. Julka chose the first option.

“I mailed back the form with a $25 check and my license came within a few weeks,” Julka said.

Some politicians have suggested that the penalty for expired licenses be postponed nationally. The California Department of Motor Vehicles announced an extension for driver licenses that are expiring until May 31.

“I definitely think they should create a grace period for expired licenses now that the only two options for renewal are by mail and online,” Julka said.

Regardless, students on the hill are desperate to get on the road and stay on the road once daily life returns.