DMVs to close for updating

Published 9:49 pm Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Suffolk DMV office will close for two days next week to prepare for a new process to issue driver’s licenses and ID cards.

The Suffolk DMV office at 268 Holladay St. will be closed June 9 and 10; a nearby alternative is the Smithfield office.

In all, six local Department of Motor Vehicles customer service centers will be closed for renovations next week. The Portsmouth DMV office at 6400 Bickford Parkway and the Virginia Beach/Hilltop DMV office at 1712 Donna Drive will be closed June 8 and 9. The Hampton office at 8109 Roanoke Ave. will be closed June 9 and 10. The Norfolk DMV office at 850 Widgeon Road and the Williamsburg DMV office at 952 Capitol Landing Road will be closed on June 10 and 11.

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Customers may also conduct DMV business through, DMV’s automated telephone service at 1-888-337-4782 or the U.S. mail, and they may do some transactions at DMV Select offices.

The local offices will reopen using DMV’s new secure driver’s license process. The process is changing from over-the-counter to issuance through the mail from a secure, central location. All 74 DMV offices will be converted to the new method by the end of July.

Virginia’s driver’s licenses and ID cards also have a new look for the first time in a decade, and a host of state-of-the-art security features.

“The new issuance process and new driver’s licenses and ID cards will position Virginia as a national leader in identification security, producing one of the most secure and trusted state-issued credentials in the nation,” said DMV Commissioner D.B. Smit.

Customers are not required to get a new license until their current one is about to expire. Virginians will continue to apply for licenses and ID cards at DMV customer service centers.

Photographs will be taken at the beginning of the transaction instead of at the end. Customers will be issued temporary driving permits or ID card receipts, which are valid for 30 days. Their credential will be in the mail to them within three business days. Customers are encouraged to make sure their mailing address is up to date with DMV to ensure receipt of their new driver’s license or ID card.

The new cards have dozens of security features, including a clear window containing a second, black-and-white photograph of the cardholder, raised lettering, micro-printing and images that can only be seen under an ultra-violet light.