Drivers can now renew licenses via phone app
Governor extends license validity period to 8 years
By Pedro Correa Henry
Special to The Star
Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced, along with Transportation and Public Works (DTOP by its Spanish acronym) Secretary Carlos M. Contreras Aponte, announced on Tuesday that citizens, starting today, will be able to renew their drivers’ license via the smartphone app CESCO Digital.
During a press conference at the Puerto Rico Innovation and Technology Service (PRITS), Vázquez said more than 30,000 people per month will be able to renew their identifications and driver’s license “without visiting a Driver Services Center [CESCO by its Spanish acronym], obtaining a medical certificate or going through a Department of Treasury Collection Office.”
Contreras Aponte added that the digital renewal will cost $11, which was established by Law 211-2016, in addition to any fees from stamps, vouchers, and pending fines, which can be paid directly from the app.
“Instead of making an appointment to arrive and be attended to for a 15-minute procedure, now they’ll be able to do it from their phones, follow the instructed steps, pay their fee, [and] make an appointment to pick up their license,” Contreras Aponte said.
The DTOP secretary added by way of reminder that although the government now authorizes a virtual license, it is important to have the analog version as the virtual format has yet to be recognized in U.S. jurisdictions.
Among the requirements for renewing the license digitally, citizens must have all required documents within the DTOP system, be 21 to 70 years of age and have American citizenship; meanwhile, no medical certification is necessary and the photo from former licenses will be reused in the renewed identification.
On the other hand, citizens whose documents are not up-to-date within the agency’s system, have a different physical address than the one that appears on their current license, have more than 24 points accumulated on their license, have debt with the Child Support Administration or Automobile Accident Compensation Administration, or have a suspended license won’t be able to renew digitally.
Contreras Aponte said the latest phase of the project that began back in 2018 will begin as a pilot plan for “two to three days” with license renewals being provided to those who are eligible to renew starting Jan. 1, 2020. Those drivers will receive a notification from the app to begin the process and will be able to pick up their printed license from the Carolina CESCO; however, licenses will later be available in all 14 CESCO offices.
Vázquez meanwhile also signed a bill that will extend the license validity period from six to eight years and the right to renew it from 60 to 150 days before its expiration date.
“Citizens will not only have more time to accomplish renewal tasks, but they will also enjoy two more years with their license or identification lifeline,” the governor said. “This means that a driver must visit a CESCO office only every 16 years.”
As for safety measures against fraud on CESCO Digital, PRITS Executive Director Glorimar Ripoll Balet said citizens will only be required to submit their credentials, the last four digits of their Social Security number, license number and birthdate to authenticate their driver profile.
“Once you log into the app, you can configure your profile with the standard features from any mobile app, such as Face I.D., biometrics, pin number, password, Touch I.D.,” Ripoll Balet said. “We are using the standard procedures that the industry has to offer. The mobile phone app doesn’t contain any data from citizens, as that is found within the agency’s database.”