Temporary DMV closures: What you need to know

Photo: Gloria So/WPRI 12

(WPRI) — After years in the works, Rhode Island will be upgrading its computer system in the beginning of July. The change will require all Department of Motor Vehicles locations in the state to shut down for varying amounts of time.

The DMV said it will convert to the new computer system on Wednesday, July 5, 2017 at the Cranston location, with other branches going online the following two weeks. Here’s information from the DMV you may need to know leading up to the conversion and afterward.

What is RIMS?

The Rhode Island Modernization System (also known as the Rhode Island Motor Vehicle System – or RIMS) is the name of a computer system designed to replace the 40-year-old technology now in use by the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles.

When is my branch closing?

Cranston: Monday, July 3 – Tuesday, July 4
Providence (Road Test site): Monday, July 3 – Tuesday, July 4
Middletown: Monday, July 3 – Wednesday, July 12
Warren: Monday, July 3 – Monday, July 17
Wakefield: Monday, May 22 – Monday, July 17
Woonsocket: Monday, July 3 – Wednesday, July 12
Westerly: Monday, July 3 – Thursday, July 20

How do I complete a DMV transaction during down time?

The DMV will serve customers at the Cranston office by RESERVATION ONLY from Wednesday, July 5 through Monday, July 17. Reservations for service at the Middletown and Woonsocket branches will also be available from Thursday, July 13 through Monday, July 17. Reservations for service from July 5 through July 17 will be made available for scheduling through the RIMS information box on the DMV’s home page in mid-June.

What if I can’t get a reservation?

Walk-in service will NOT be available during the launch period. The DMV urges you to plan ahead: go online, use the mail, or come into a DMV office prior to June 30 to renew your credentials or complete other motor vehicle transactions.

What if my license expires during the launch period?

The DMV is seeking legislative authority to temporarily extend expiration dates on licenses, IDs, and motor vehicle registrations during this time period. However, all licenses and registrations expiring in June or July 2017 can be renewed now. The DMV urges you to plan ahead: go online, use the mail, or come into a DMV office prior to June 30 to renew your credentials early.

Will online services be available during shutdown?

All online transactions will be unavailable beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 30, with service restored again on Wednesday, July 5 at 12 p.m. Some online transactions will be unavailable starting on June 29; details will be provided on the Online Services page of the DMV website. Banking fees for online transactions have been waived through the launch period.

Where else can I complete DMV transactions?

AAA Northeast has extended its Rhode Island registry services to non-members through Monday, July 31. However, AAA will be unable to process DMV transactions from Saturday, July 1 through Friday, July 7. Transaction service will be restored to AAA offices in Rhode Island in stages beginning on Saturday, July 8. General information regarding registry services available at AAA offices can be found online.

Can I renew my license or registration early?

Yes. You can complete many transactions, such as license or registration renewals, as much as 60 days in advance of expiration dates. We urge you to take advantage of that renewal-period flexibility. Go online, use the mail, or come into a DMV office prior to June 30 to renew your credentials or complete other motor vehicle transactions.

Will computerized license tests and road tests be available?

License knowledge exams and CDL endorsement exams will be available in Cranston during this time period by appointment only. Please visit the road test scheduling link on the DMV web site for available dates, times, and locations for road tests.