Friday, November 12, 2010

Driver's License Renewal Woes

This country has gone crazy!!

My driver's license is coming due for renewal in 2 weeks. Last time I renewed it, I did it online and they mailed it to me. No such luck this time. I went online and they said they needed to see me in person. So I made an appointment online. No big deal. I didn't pay any attention to the 'Documents You Need' link on the appointment page... I'm RENEWING an EXISTING a driver's license in the state I've been living in, and had one continuously in, for 40 years for heaven's sake!!!

However, we just got our stack of mail that's been piling up at home, and going through it today, I noticed a postcard from the State of Florida telling me that in order to renew, I need a passport or birth certificate, and some other forms of ID. Well, we left our passports onboard. Dave, when he was gathering up stuff to leave, decided not to take our passports--we're not crossing any borders, they are safer staying on the boat.

No problem, I can get a birth certificate... maybe? I was born in California... that might be hard (in the time frame we have to work with). It has to be certified, and it can't be the one the hospital issued. And... the name on that birth certificate doesn't match my current name. In fact I've had 2 name changes. So even if I CAN get my California birth certificate (I just MIGHT have a certified copy in my file cabinet here in Florida), I still have to get copies of EACH of my 'proof of name change' documents (Marriage Licenses). My first marriage was almost 30 years ago!!

Then, in addition, I need my Social Security Card. Well, guess where that is??? Yep, the Social Security Administration recommends you not carry it with you. So mine is tucked safely away in a filing cabinet on the boat.

Maybe I can go to the local SSA office and apply for a duplicate. But you need proof of id... what do they say I can use?? My DRIVER'S LICENSE!!! (and it takes '10 to 14 days').

Alternate documents that can be used in place of a Social Security Card are ORIGINAL W-2 forms, pay checks, or 1099's showing my complete Social Security Number and my current name. Well, I'm not working, and guess where all my tax records are???

And one final thing I noticed... the card says "You must pass a vision exam and MAY be required to pass written and road skills test." MAY?? Do I or don't I? This card has my name on it and my date of birth, surely they can tell me whether I do or don't need to take any tests...

I've had to cancel my renewal appointment, which was for Tuesday--there's no way I can get all this gathered up in the next 2 working days. And when I tried to reschedule for December (just before we leave to return to Hawaii), there are no appointments available. (but I can still go as a 'walk in')

Sheesh, this wouldn't be a big deal for anyone with a normal life, but for me, it might mean I can't renew my driver's license before we return to Hawaii (and/or I spend all day running around trying to document myself).

It's just crazy.

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