Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL) Renewal Updates
In the past several months, I spoke to a number of customers who wanted to know the best time to sign up for a renewal course. Most seemed a little surprised when I mentioned they were no longer required to take a class or shooting test to renew their licenses. I thought a brief article to explain some of the changes would help license holders better understand the process. Since CHL instructors are often pressed for time under the new condensed classroom format, here is a brief summary for renewals.
Effective September 1st 2013, Texas House Bill 48 eliminates the requirement to take a renewal course. In essence, after taking the class as a first time applicant, you never have to take it again– provided you renew the license on time and submit all relevant information as requested. If a license holder goes beyond the grace period, which is one year after a permit expires, they will be required to start over as a new applicant. Similarly, if the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) requests updated information and a renewal fails to submit the specified materials as outlined, the renewal application is subsequently terminated. This means you will have to start all over again as the 1- year grace period does not extend to specific deadline requests. Please note that all such directives only allow 90- days to respond. If a license holder fails to provide the information in that 90- day window, any hope for renewing the license is over and the individual is now faced with taking a 4-to-6 hour class, another shooting test, more fingerprinting and paying full fees once more as a first- time applicant.
To renew, all you have to do is go online, update any information and then pay the DPS their licensing fee– which is $70 (if renewing without exemptions), half that for seniors (60 or over), $25 for veterans / law enforcement / corrections officers, and free for active military. The entire process usually only takes a few minutes. It’s also worth noting that there will be NO GRACE PERIOD for continuing to carry once a license has expired, where all rules and regulations that apply to being armed will fall back on the Texas Castle Doctrine– which ONLY allows legal carry inside the vehicle, workplace or home without a CHL.
Every now and then, I run into someone who absolutely does not want to pay the license fee with a credit card. Since the only method for completing the renewal license application online is by using a credit card, the DPS will not accept cash and submitting funds via money order, cashier’s check or personal check will require renewals to then apply by paper application, which include sworn affidavits. Approximately 6- months before your license is set to expire, the DPS will send written notification that it’s time to renew. That’s why it’s important to notify the DPS anytime you move and subsequently complete a change of address form within 30- days. This form is available online and the fee is $25. In an area like College Station, where several thousand Texas A&M students will graduate and move every year, this is very important to understand. It’s the only way the DPS can contact you with a renewal reminder. In fact, the DPS feels so strongly about staying in touch that they will suspend your license if a CHL fails to properly notify them of a permanent address change.
Currently, the DPS only sends renewal notifications out U.S. mail, not email. However, updated information such as DD214’s, earnings statements, military credentials, department letters, etc. may be submitted electronically. The requirement to send in new fingerprints or passport photos has also been eliminated, provided they meet current quality control standards. The renewal license is good for 5- years and several former students have recently commented that the process only took a couple of weeks to receive the updated license in the mail. Good luck and please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions.