Driving license renewal more complicated than I thought!

Published 8:30 am Tuesday, September 11, 2012

If you have a Georgia drivers license that is up for renewal, be advised that a new law went into effect July 1, and you may be in for a surprise when you go to renew.

I recently went to Colquitt to renew mine. I filled out a new application that requested a list of all the states where I had ever lived and held licenses and to provide the name under which I had been licensed in each state. No easy task. “I’ve been everywhere, Man,” I told them, and was tempted to sing a few verses. I first started driving in Ohio, New Jersey, back to Ohio, then Illinois, back to Ohio, then Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Alabama and now Georgia.

Next, I was asked what documentation I had brought with me. I produced my existing Georgia license, only to be told that I needed to supply more documentation and was handed an explanatory sheet that resembled a Chinese menu — you choose one from column A, one from column B, and 2 from column C, and so on. “Additional identification documentation will be required for legal name changes,” it states.

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I asked why all this was necessary since I have lived in Georgia nine years and already have had two licenses here. My understanding of the explanation was that it had to do with the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and I had to prove my citizenship. 9/11 happened 11 years ago. If that is the reason, what took so long?

Some of the documentation I will find and provide: Col. A — certified U.S. birth certificate, or valid U.S. Passport, or certificate of naturalization. Check. Col. B — Social Security card, W-2 form, paystub with full number. Check. Col. C — utility bill, bank statement, and or employer verification. Check.

After being asked how many times I have been married, I was told I will need to supply additional information: copies of my wedding certificates and any divorce records. This appears to be a requirement for women, but not men. Basically, it documents a trail of any name changes.

For a woman whose age can best be classified as “having reached a level of maturity,” this is not easy. My first marriage was in 1954. Producing a certified record of that will be a challenge. Luckily, I am already in possession of many of the other documents, having filed for Social Security “a while back.”

After taking my photo, a temporary license good until the end of December was issued, allowing time to request and gather up all my documents. When I return I must have another photo taken. Maybe it will be a better one.

I left wondering, “Do I look like a terrorist?” I am beginning to think so, since I do seem to be the one who is invariably pulled off the boarding line at the airport and patted down by security.

Oh well, I think I have it all together now, and I am ready to take off more time from work to make another trip to Colquitt. On the positive side, it gives me the chance to eat lunch again at the Tarrer Inn.