Amid the rush to bring Maryland drivers into Motor Vehicle Administration locations to ensure they comply with REAL ID license requirements, the offices are faced with an unexpected closure.
Gov. Larry Hogan announced that he’ll close state offices July 5, extending the Independence Day holiday through the weekend.
But that meant the MVA, which is scrambling to acquire the proper documentation from drivers who were issued REAL ID licenses without them, would face a one-day setback. Offices will still be open Saturday.
“MDOT MVA is in the process of contacting customers with appointments scheduled for Friday, July 5 and is assisting with rescheduling those appointments,” MVA spokeswoman Kellie Boulware wrote in an email, adding that customers can reschedule appointments online through the administration’s Central Scheduling System.
The agency has already expanded operating hours at many of its locations and hired additional staff. Plus, it has set up temporary offices in Parkville and Columbia to handle REAL ID appointments.
The agency began issuing Maryland-flag themed REAL IDs in 2016, but at that point it was not required to collect the required documents, things such as proof of age, identity, Social Security and Maryland residency, from those who were simply renewing their licenses. In October 2017, the Department of Homeland Security made this a requirement.
That meant more than 700,000 Marylanders would need to make an extra trip to the MVA with their documents. The MVA has set up a staggered deadline process for those affected customers, and the first deadline was in June.
The July 5 shutdown affects only state-level executive branch agency operations, so it does not automatically have an impact on the courts, local agencies and other government entities.