Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Charles and I finally went and applied for our Texas drivers licenses yesterday. We tried to do it the first week we were here and ran into a huge snafu. For starters, there is no DMV in Texas - you have to go to two different places - one to register your car, and one to get licensed. We decided to get the license first since, on the day, I wasn't 100% sure where my registration info was.

We drove out to the nearest office, 20 minutes away in Arlington and went in. You can't make an appointment and we were lucky there was no line when we got there. Unfortunately, we were informed we couldn't get a license until we registered our vehicles. The process is this:

1) Get your vehicle inspected. It's much less involved than a SMOG test for California, but every vehicle has to be inspected (you must also show proof of insurance during the inspection). Cost: $45 per vehicle (the motorcycles will all have to be done individually, as well).
2) Once you get your slip from the inspection, you then take it to the Courthouse with your registration and proof of insurance. The cost: $90 per vehicle (including all motorcycles) initiation fee for it being the first time registered in the state, plus the applicable fees. Just for my car, it was $189.
3) Take your new Texas registration and proof of insurance to the office where you obtain your license (the Office of Public Safety). For me, there was one other hitch. In the state of Texas, you must provide to get your license - your out of state license, a birth certificate or passport...and your actual Social Security card. Now, I haven't had a physical SS card since the early 90s when my wallet got stolen. I know the number, and I've always carried a passport, so I've never been required to provide the actual document. This meant I first had to make a visit to the Social Security Administration to obtain a new card. Would you like to know what they asked for as identification to get my card? My passport. Right. It wasn't good enough as ID for the Office of Public Safety, but it was enough for Social Security.
4) I waited two weeks to get my card, then went with all 15 pieces of required information and headed to the Office of Public Safety. This time, there was a line. We waited and waited, finally got in, and paid to get our licenses. Annoyingly, instead of just punching a hole in my old license, they confiscated it so the only photo ID I currently have is my passport, until my DL arrives...in 4 to 8 weeks!!

I asked the woman at the office why they required so much paperwork just to process a DL and was told that "all border states" do it. I pointed out that I had come from California, also a border state, and didn't have to do ANY of that to get my license when I moved there. The girl at the window next to us was a foreign student, and the woman then told me, "Well, we also have a lot of foreigners here." I again pointed out that I was from Los Angeles, where I assume there are more foreigners in the city than in the entire state of Texas.

Well, at least it's finally done. Texas plates, Texas license. Yeehaw!

4 Comments:

Blogger Auburn Kat said...

Switching your license and plates is a pain in the butt...I've done it too many times in the last couple of yrs...

5:09 PM  
Blogger dnetrunner said...

Holy Cow!!!

11:14 PM  
Blogger LA said...

I imagine they consider anyone who is not a Texas native to be a "foreigner."

1:59 PM  
Blogger Irma Murillo said...

K OMEGA CODE FU VIA !!!!! 7066611111110009653

2:52 PM  

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