Question: I’ve been trying to get my driver’s license renewed for some time now. It doesn’t expire until the beginning of December, but that time is fast approaching. There are no appointments available anywhere on Oahu. I can’t even get someone on the phone to help me. Do you have any suggestions?
Answer: One suggestion is to renew your driver’s license by mail if you can, although this option is limited and is taking longer than usual amid high demand. You have to check with the city first (by mail or email) to make sure you are eligible.
Here are the basics, according to Honolulu County’s Department of Customer Services:
“Hawaii Driver Licenses expiring in 2020 may be eligible for a driver license renewal by mail if (the person possesses) a current Hawaii driver license issued on or after May 1, 2014, and all required Real ID documents, such as proof of legal presence, proof of Social Security number and two proofs of principal address, are already on file.”
The applicant cannot have any medical or legal stoppers.
For full instructions, see 808ne.ws/licmail.
(Renewing a state ID by mail also is limited, available only to Hawaii ID holders who are 72 or older, hold a current state ID and have met all documentation requirements, the city says.)
We checked the AlohaQ.org reservation system on Monday to confirm your description. Sure enough, we couldn’t find an open appointment for a driver’s license renewal at any of Oahu’s six driver’s license centers or the four satellite city halls that handle such renewals — and the online system makes appointments many months in advance.
To be clear, people whose appointments were canceled during Oahu’s recent shutdown shouldn’t have to book their own new appointment. They should be communicating with city staff for service during special hours not yet open to the general public, which leads us to the next question.
Q: I thought if our driver’s license appointment was canceled because of the shutdown we were supposed to get a call to reschedule. No one ever called me. What happened? I tried to make a new appointment myself but there aren’t any!
A: You should have gotten a call to reschedule, as the city sets aside special Saturday hours and early- morning and late-afternoon hours during the week to catch up on thousands of canceled appointments.
However, the Department of Customer Services has been unable to reach about 20% of the people whose appointments at Oahu’s driver’s licensing centers or satellite city halls were canceled during the island’s most recent COVID-19 shutdown, which lasted from Aug. 27 through Sept. 23.
“We find that people often do not pick up calls and it takes staff multiple tries to reach an individual. Of the 80% we have been successful in reaching, between 55% and 60% of these have taken the option to reschedule. If after multiple attempts we are still unable to reach a customer, a message is left for them to call for rescheduling assistance,” said Sheri Kajiwara, the department’s director.
With the prevalence of scams, many people are reluctant to pick up calls from numbers they don’t recognize. Depending on the person’s telephone carrier or caller ID service, a call from the city may appear as a “blocked” or “no ID” call, increasing the chance it will be ignored. Plus, some people don’t have their voicemail set up, or their voice mail is full.
If you received no message, contact the city.
Customers attempting to reschedule a canceled appointment may email DL@honolulu.gov or email@example.com, Kajiwara said. Be sure to include your name, telephone number and the details of your canceled appointment (date, time, location and verification code).
You also might try calling 768-3798 or 768-9100, although call volume is heavy; we couldn’t get through Monday.
Kapolei Satellite City Hall
Meanwhile, the Kapolei Satellite City Hall will be closed for in-person service until Oct. 19, after a customer service agent tested positive for COVID-19. Customers whose appointments are canceled should be able to handle tasks by mail, online or at grocery- store kiosks; for more information see honolulu.gov/csd. This location does not handle driver’s license or state ID renewals.
Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.