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DMV officials urge drivers to cancel unwanted appointments as 'no-shows' add to wait times

Last May, the DMV switched to appointments for in-person services to follow COVID safety guidelines.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Things are opening up in Virginia, but not the DMV. You still need an appointment for some services, and those are still hard to come by!

That’s frustrating for people in Hampton Roads. DMV officials said it’s challenging for them too.

“I went online to try to make an appointment,” said Chesapeake resident Viviana Escobar. “Every single DMV in the 757, the earliest booking was June 11.”

Escobar’s old license from another state expires in May. She needed a Virginia license, but couldn’t score a DMV appointment anywhere nearby

“I had to drive an hour away to Courtland,” Escobar said. “If I hadn’t found that one, the next one was May 1 in Bedford.”

She’s not alone. We heard from dozens of 757 residents on Facebook, like Suffolk driver Jesalyn Moore.

“Somebody told me the other day it is booked out months in advance, which I think is crazy,” Moore said.

Last May, the DMV switched to appointments for in-person services to follow COVID safety guidelines.

“We need to control the number of people in our offices,” said spokesperson Jessica Cowardin.

Cowardin said one reason for these long waits is that people aren’t showing up! She said there have been about 500,000 missed appointments since May.

“We have seen a 15 percent no-show rate,” Cowardin said. “We are asking customers if they don’t need their appointments any longer, go ahead and cancel that to create an appointment for someone who actually needs to come into the office.”

Officials are trying to make it easier on customers. They've moved 50 transactions online, like popular renewal and replacement services.

Original services, like driver’s license tests, or getting a Real ID, must still be done in person. She urges people to double-check what they can get online and look for cancellations.

It worked for Moore.

“We were successful by checking every morning for cancellations,” Moore said.

Escobar understands the need for safety, she’s just thankful she got in.

“I was like, 'I need that right now,'” Escobar said. “So, I am just going to go wherever I can go.”

If you have questions, DMV officials said you can reach out to their customer contact center: (804) 497-7100. You can even reach them through social media platforms.