Production Problems Delay New California Driver Licenses

What happens if you need to go through security at an airport or get pulled over?

New security features designed to help prevent fraud and counterfeiting of California driver licenses have caused a backlog of renewals, according to the California DMV.

While many drivers applied through the mail or online hoping to save time, some have faced delays of more than two months.

Marjorie Barakian, a certified nursing assistant and home health aide, says she's been waiting nearly two months for her new license.

Barakian says she wrote a check on Nov. 8 and the DMV cashed it on Nov. 22. As of Jan. 6, she still hasn't received her renewal.

"Do I have to move to another state to get a driver's license?" said Barakian.

Barakian is not alone. Several viewers wrote NBCLA, saying they've experienced similar delays.

"It was a little more than three months from the date I paid it before I got it," said viewer Robert McDonnell. "The operator at the DMV said the solution is to go to the DMV and wait in one of their endless lines to get a driver's license extension."


Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.

Vigil Grows Outside Highland Lounge Where One Person Died, Eight Others Injured in Shooting

South LA Gets $10M in Caltrans Beautification Grants

McDonnell said he paid his renewal online on Aug. 19 but didn't receive it until Nov. 21.

DMV spokesman Michael Marando acknowledged the problem, blaming the delays on manufacturing problems in creating the state's new, more secure licenses.

"If someone ordered their license today, the wait is about a month," Marando said.

Last October, the DMV began issuing the redesigned licenses, which are made by L1 Identity Solutions. The company received a five-year $62.8 million contract from the DMV and Marando said there have been some "production issues."

Licenses include enhancements such as a laser perforation outline of the California Brown Bear, laser-engraved signatures, new bar codes that verify information on the license, and special images that can be seen only with the use of ultraviolet light.

Marando said the new licenses have to be absolutely perfect and if there's "so much as an ink smudge" in the production process, the DMV will send it back to be fixed.

In a statement, the DMV said any inconvenienced customers could apply for a temporary license in person or by mail. Customers who renewed their licenses online or through the mail will have their driving records updated within one week of receipt.

So what if you're headed to an airport to catch a flight or you get pulled over for a traffic violation?

TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said that an expired license does not mean you can't fly, but it may lead to some minor delays.

The security agency, he said, has several ways to confirm the identity of a passenger in the event he or she has lost an ID or it has expired.

In the event drivers are pulled over, according to a DMV statement, local law enforcement does have access to driver license records and will honor updated expiration dates.

Contact Us