The Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTOP, in Spanish) announced an initiative to help residents who need current documents for emergency travel, medical treatments, vehicle exports, among others, during the shutdown of the government’s Driver Service Centers (CESCO, in Spanish).
The special procedure will allow CESCO staff, “who have been provided with the necessary training, access and equipment, to receive special or emergency requests from citizens, and expedite procedures, DTOP Secretary Carlos M. Contreras said.
“During this emergency generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the CESCOs have remained closed, considering that they are places where many people go regularly and can become sources of virus contagion,” he said.
“We’ve been working on a reopening plan that includes protection equipment and social distancing, the creation of extremely strict protocols to protect not only visitors, but also our employees, and a system that is more agile than ever before to serve to citizens,” Contreras said.
“We have taken initiatives such as extending the validity of licenses, permits and motor vehicle registrations that expired or are about to expire from March until now, which allows citizens to drive legally during this period,” he added.
However, given that there are people who may need to travel for emergency reasons — to receive medical services, or to complete procedures related to exporting vehicles — and need valid licenses and IDs, the agency has created the special program, he added.
The allowed emergency transactions are:
- For travel outside Puerto Rico for medical, military, family care or health issue (such as treatment or transplant);
- Specific work-related situations;
- ID’s for bedridden patients for processes related to obtaining medications, housing or some essential government service;
- License plate replacements;
- Motor vehicle registration duplicates;
- Registration of vehicles at the ports; and,
- Transactions to export vehicles.
Citizens who require the services should send an email that must include the person’s town of residence in the subject. In the message, the person must explain the requested transaction, such as renewing their license for emergency travel. The petition must by accompanied by evidence that certifies the specific emergency or urgency situation, the agency explained.
Each request will be processed by staff of the CESCO of the applicant’s jurisdiction, who will channel the petition and help the person complete the process.
Contreras confirmed that the following licenses and permits with expiration dates of March, April, May, June, July and August 2020 will be extended until Aug. 31: Driver’s licenses; Authorized agents to conduct procedures at CESCOs; Driving school licenses or permits; official DTOP IDs; Handicapped parking permits; Permits for tinted windows on vehicles.
Finally, motor vehicle registrations that expire in March, April, May and June are extended until June 30.