Getting REAL


This isn’t Walnut Creek, but it was pretty similar.

You may think you have a real driver’s license, but most likely you don’t have a REAL one, which is to say the new CDL that conforms to federal guidelines, requires much more documentation and will, sometime next year, be required to board an airplane.

I got my license renewed last February, but the bureaucratic nightmare conspired to just give me the old fashioned ID, and as much as we travel I wanted to have the REAL version.

The lines at the DMV are legendary, mainly because you have to be on the same line whether you’re renewing your license or taking the california dmv practice test. Although they seem to have gotten a bit more funding and they are not as bad as they were a few months ago.  In September I made an appointment, and today, November 1, the lucky day came rolling around.

Gathering up my current license, passport, W-2 and social security card, I motored on over to the Walnut Creek office.  There was a line outside the building, but I was able to just skate on by. I was the only person in the “appointment” line, so I was being helped in seconds.

From reception, it was over to the computers lining the west wall, where I fille out the application online, then went back to reception and got a number.

7 minutes later my number was called–just enough time to go out to the car and bring Claudia in.  No problems with dogs at the DMV. The young woman at the desk took all my papers, made copies, checked the passport electronically, filled out forms, made more copies, had her co-worker check all the details twice, punched a hole in my current license and told me the new one would arrive in 2 weeks or less.

All this took about 5 minutes.

And 21 minutes after my appointment time Claudia and I were back in my car and on the road.

The moral of the story is two fold:

1: Make an appointment.  Make it early.  You can do it online, and waiting at the DMV is a pain. This system really works.

2: When you have to renew your license, make sure you bring all the necessary documentation.  Passport, social security card, proof of California residency, blood sample, first born child.  You don’t want to do this twice like I did.

If you don’t have one of the new-fangled ID’s, next year you will have to bring a passport with you to fly, even domestically. That’s just one more thing to forget or lose or even bring the wrong one.  I’ve done that, too.


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