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Renewing a New York State Driver’s License – Executive Order Extension For Expired Driver’s Licenses Finished

The pandemic has impacted the New York metropolitan area heavily.  Simple tasks which were normally conducted in person have become few and far between as safety precautions are still maintained.  For individuals that are not as technologically savvy, renewing a New York driver’s license could easily be achieved in person by visiting a DMV location.  However during the pandemic, many DMV locations are by appointment only and select services are offered in person.  The DMV is urging New York license renewals to be done online or by mail.

In November 2020 Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an Executive Order which extended the period that expired driver’s licenses and permits would still be considered valid until February 26, 2021. We have now passed that date, so what do you do if you have an upcoming purchase or refinance closing and your photo ID is expired?

A New York license may be renewed up to one year before it expires and two years after it has expired. Normally a vision exam test was required to renew either at a DMV office, DMV vision test location or by submitting a Vision Test Report from a qualified medical professional.  According to the DMV’s website, “If your license expired from March 1st, 2020 through May 31st, 2021 you can renew online now by self-certifying that your vision is acceptable. However, you must have your vision tested and submit your results to the DMV within one year of the date of your license renewal. You can submit these results through an approved vision test provider, by sending a Vision Test Report, by mail or electronically, or by getting your eyes tested at a local DMV office (available Spring 2021).”

The DMV allowing individuals to self-certify vision online, with results to follow within a year, allows for less stress when renewing a driver’s license.  Once renewal is completed online, a temporary PDF document may be downloaded and the new license will arrive in the mail within 10 days.  Most title companies will accept the temporary PDF document as a sufficient form of valid photo ID.  Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C., prevents last minute issues such as discovering a driver’s license is expired by requesting a borrowers or purchasers photo ID initially when we receive the file.  Our staff is trained to confirm photo IDs are valid and not set to expire in the near future. If we see a potential issue, we will work with the client to ensure their license is renewed prior to closing and, if needed, provide instructions to help them renew with the DMV.

Quite recently, we have seen one or two title companies make the decision to insure a transaction allowing a buyer or seller to sign with an expired ID.  We have seen lenders approve this as well.  In order to make this exception, the title company and / or lender will request to see a copy of the expired ID in advance of closing and if it could be verified that the person signing does indeed look the same as the picture on the ID and signatures are matching, the title company and /or lender will accept this as reasonable proof that the person signing is in fact the buyer or seller.  We have only seen this thus far on a case by case basis and this should not be relied upon, however, it is worth mentioning.  It is always best to err on the side of caution and have your ID renewed prior to closing if at all possible.

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