When I first came to the United States I had no need of a driver's license. Instead I got what was called a "liquor ID card" after I discovered that my UK passport was not considered adequate proof of my age when I wanted to get in to a local bar!
A couple of years later I finally did get a driver's license. I didn't have to take a test of any kind - not a road test or even a written test. I seem to remember showing them my UK license, perhaps along with my (by then expired) international driving permit and my liquor ID as well as my passport. (Multiple forms of photo ID seem to be required - a couple of years after I got my liquor ID I helped a Russian friend get hers and it was not an easy task.)
A whole bunch of years down the road, having renewed my license a couple of times in between, I was royally annoyed after waiting over an hour to renew my license to be told they would not renew it until I turned in my liquor ID, which I hadn't used or even seen in years. I finally found it, and had to turn it in along with the old license. I really wanted to keep the older license as it had rather a good picture of me on it. (i.e. it didn't look remotely like me, but in a very good way - I looked young, slim and pretty!)
At the next license renewal they had switched over to digital pictures. I was fairly happy with the photo they took, so at the subsequent renewal when I was asked if I wanted a new picture I decided to decline.
My license expired today so although I should clearly have set about renewing it some time ago, I headed off to the local Registry of Motor Vehicles after lunch. There is an option to renew online, but you can only do that so often and then you have to go in and have your photo retaken. My last experience there was a good one - no line, in and out in under 10 minutes. What were the chances of such luck this afternoon? Slim to none! Apparently this registry was off the beaten path in the past - relatively new and in an out of the way location. Since then, the busier registry office has closed due to a dispute with the landlord. My heart sank as I saw the number of people waiting - and me with a 6 year-old in tow and, foolishly, nothing to occupy him! There were big signs warning not to take a number until AFTER filling out the application form. I took a number anyway, while I was waiting to get close enough to the counter where the forms and pens were. Yes, of course it would have been helpful if I'd brought my own pen with me, but that would have required a degree of organization I don't appear to possess. I had a choice of a plastic spoon, a lipstick or a Sharpie marker so I chose to stand in line and wait for a pen!
So I took a number, got a form and filled it out/in. One question asked if I have a license to drive in any other US state or any other country. I don't remember seeing that question before, but now I can truthfully answer "No" seeing as I've lost the UK one and can't get it replaced! (See previous post.) I had palpitations though when I saw that it said that for certain transactions further forms of ID like a Social Security card might be required. I'm pretty sure my Social Security card is in the safety deposit box at the bank, and I knew I didn't have enough time to go get it, get back in line, and still make it to the pick-up point for DD's bus bringing her back from Girl Scout camp. And if it wasn't in the bank, I certainly didn't have time to figure out where it was and still get my license renewed today! That would be a Very Bad Thing given that (remember?) my license expired today and tomorrow involves a fair amount of ferrying children around to different activities! The ticket with my number on it said B236 and my anticipated wait time was 24 minutes. I'd only been waiting a couple of minutes when I thought I heard my number called. It was a good thing they also had an electronic board where the numbers were displayed because they had in fact called C236. How you make a C sound like a B is beyond me, but they did - repeatedly over the next half hour. Every number that started with a C sounded like it began with B! DS even argued with me about it, he was so sure he was hearing B.
In the end it was only about half an hour until my number was called and DS was extremely well behaved and patient. I did not have to produce anything other than my old license, the completed application form and $50 - whew - no crazy search for my Social Security card needed after all! The lady asked if I wanted my photo retaken (when I thought I'd have no choice given that my current photo was taken 8 years ago.) She then took my picture twice and let me choose which one I preferred! She even wished me Happy Birthday as I was leaving! Not a bad experience at all in the end! Oh, and this time I was allowed to keep the old license "as a souvenir"!
Keepsakes and Mementoes - What's the Point?
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