I recently went back home from a year abroad, mainly to take care of some legal business and to get my driver’s license renewed. I had been trying to renew it online while I was travelling but it was just turning into too much trouble to get all the correct documents submitted with signatures and so on. So, I just decided to wait until I was home to do it
My brother had been on me to take care of it as soon as I landed, but honestly, why would I do that? He was going on and on about how long it takes and how I’m going to run into trouble with an ID that is nearly expired. I tried explaining to him that when you’re outside the US a driver’s license is nothing – no one will accept it as ID, you need a passport and visa. But, some people just don’t get it.
So, on my third day back I borrowed mom’s car and headed downtown to the DMV. Man, that was like a ride into the twilight zone. I felt like I was in another dimension. The people waiting around to submit their papers weren’t really the problem – after having been abroad for quite a while you learn to just ignore people. Instead, it was just he soul crushing feeling of the whole place.
The main problem was that I didn’t print out my paperwork ahead of time. So, if you’re reading this that’s my first piece of advice. If you don’t have that ready to go you’re going to have to wait in line to get it and then fumble around looking for a pen and a place to write. Good luck, it was a real struggle for me.
Once you’ve got that it’s another wait to submit your papers and your original license. This was really agonizing. Why they only have one person to take care of this is amazing. I waited about two hours just to submit a one-page document and my driver’s license. Once I finally got to the counter all the guy did was glance at the form, cut the corner of my license and give me another number.
Yep, that’s right – another wait in another line.
This time I only had to wait about 15 minutes. That’s because they have about 10 cashiers. Yeah, they’re ready to take your money. But that’s also the problem, they don’t really want your money. You see, I had arrived with my credit cards and my atm card, no cash. I don’t really carry cash around any more, who does? Well apparently the DMV does. So, I had to go and find an ATM. And guess what, they don’t have one in the building. I had to go around the block to the bank and then come back. And when I got back, you guessed it – more waiting.
All in, something that should have only taken 30 minutes ended up taking an entire day for me.
Moral of the story – if you’re going to renew your driver’s license go the DMV early, print your paperwork ahead of time and bring cash!