DMV has new ‘wait time estimator’

In an effort to give customers the best information on wait times at their local customer service center, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has created a helpful new wait time estimation system.

The information, available at, shows how many customers are currently waiting at each office and the longest wait time currently experienced by any customer. The information is broken down by a variety of service categories and is available for each of DMV’s 75 customer service centers.

“We want customers to be able to make an informed decision on the best time and the best location for their DMV visit,” DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb said. “We have more than 40 transactions available online, but, sometimes, you just need to visit us in person. Our previous system for estimating wait times averaged all service types together, which sometimes didn’t fully set our customers’ expectations. Our new system is much more detailed and we hope customers will find it helpful and more reflective of the actual wait times for their particular service need.”

Using a system designed to maximize customer flow, DMV queues customers based on transaction type. The estimated wait times begin a half hour after each office opens and are updated every five minutes.

The count starts when a customer receives a queueing ticket and ends when her number is called for service. By publishing the longest wait time currently being experienced by any customer in each service category, customers will get a more complete picture of wait times at the office of their choosing for the transaction they need to conduct.

“We work hard to serve folks as quickly as possible because we know our customers’ time is valuable. However, sometimes, in our busiest offices, wait times are higher than we’d like due to limited resources,” Holcomb said. “With our new system, customers will have the information they need to decide if a visit to DMV fits into their schedule or if it would be better planned for another day.”

The new system also tells customers which transactions they may be able to complete online at These include most vehicle registration renewals, address changes, license plate orders and driver’s license renewals when a new photo and vision screening isn’t required.

Here are a few tips to shorten your visit to DMV:

▪ Avoid peak times: The first and last weeks of the month are typically the busiest, as are Saturdays. Try visiting mid-morning or mid-afternoon for reduced wait times.

▪ Use to determine exactly what you need to complete your transaction: Print out necessary forms and fill them out before you leave your house. Double check that you have the appropriate identification or documentation and payment for fees.

▪ When possible, complete your transaction online: More than 40 transactions can be done at from the comfort of your own home, 24 hours a day.

▪ Consider visiting a DMV Select office for vehicle-related transactions: Operated mostly by local government partners, DMV Select offices can conduct vehicle registration renewals, title issuances or replacements, license plate purchases, and other transactions. Visit for more information and locations.

▪ Take advantage of DMV’s mobile operations: DMV 2 Go and DMV Connect travel the Commonwealth to provide convenient service in areas where service options are limited or in highly populated areas where customers need additional service outlets.

Visit for a schedule of visits.

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