Backup of DMV appointments extends into August

A calendar showing available times for each branch and appointment type reveals that some branches aren’t booking appointments until August.

People wait in line outside the Eagan DMV in May 2020 after the governor's shutdown order was lifted. (Minnesota DVS/Facebook)

Residents of Hennepin County should not expect to renew their licenses, get a Real ID, or transfer a vehicle title anytime soon, as DMV branches across the county are experiencing long wait times for appointment bookings.

A calendar of available times for each branch and appointment type reveals that some branches don’t have open appointments until August.

For residents who go to the Ridgedale DMV branch, the earliest opening is currently August 2 for all services, including Real ID, enhanced license, state ID, vehicle title transfer, and license plate tab appointments.

On April 26, a source close to Alpha News scheduled an appointment at the Ridgedale DMV intending to update a home address on his driver’s license, and the earliest availability at the time was July 12.

Left: Screenshot from Hennepin County Qmatic appointment booking service/July. Right: Screenshot from Hennepin County Qmatic appointment booking service/August. Ridgedale branch shows availability starting on August 2. Screenshots taken May 27.

An Alpha News follower shared her struggles with the Ridgedale DMV as well — it took eight months for her to get titles for a boat and a trailer, and she sought help at a different branch to correct Ridgedale’s mistakes.

“Thank you, Ridgedale DMV, for my wasted time and additional cost I incurred,” she wrote.

Currently, the Maple Grove DMV branch has available appointments starting July 29 for all services.

Inching closer to Minneapolis, Edina has appointments available earlier, starting July 26, and Brooklyn Center has July 12 appointments available for booking.

The North Minneapolis location has the earliest availability, starting July 6, and the Midtown Exchange branch in Minneapolis currently shows openings for July 7. The Minneapolis Government Center branch has its earliest availability on July 12.

One Alpha News follower put it simply: “Just a lot of waiting.”

Complaints about Minnesota’s DMV website are also common, with issues like the website not allowing users to register for tabs if they are too late on buying them.

Other followers pointed out that Minnesota’s DMVs in particular are worse than other states: Florida DMVs print out licenses on the spot for customers. “Minnesota has a long way to go,” one person said.

Last spring, DMV centers around the state experienced hours-long wait times when they finally opened up after Gov. Tim Walz’s initial shutdown of Minnesota. Some branches dealt with software crashes within hours of reopening, including the Eagan, Arden Hills, and St. Paul Town Square locations.

The Driver and Vehicle Services Division, which oversees the DMV, has been faulted for delays in scheduling driver’s tests as well. The Office of the Legislative Auditor found in 2020 that the DVS failed in its legal requirement to make driver’s tests available within 14 days of someone scheduling an appointment.

Additionally, wait times for permit and knowledge tests were insurmountable until a new policy allowed people to schedule a time to take the exams, starting last July. Before July, the only option was to show up at the DMV and wait as long as the line required. Starting in October, another newly-implemented policy let people take the knowledge test online.

Hennepin County did not respond to a request for comment on current appointment backups.