How many trips does it take to get your driver’s license?

Since moving back to PA at the end of 2004, I have known that a trip to the Dept. of Motor Vehicles needed to occur to get a new PA driver’s license and hand in the NC one. You’re supposed to get it done within 30 days. Let’s just say I procrastinated somewhat. So I grabbed my birth certificate and headed off to the DMV where I stood in line for 10 minutes to get to the “welcome” counter to start the process.

While waiting my turn (there were 6 in front of me), I saw a rack of papers with various informational headings; one which was titled “What you need to transfer your driver’s license.” Being the astute and well prepared individual that I am, I grabbed the list with great confidence knowing I had ALL I would need. Wrong! The list included:

*a valid out of state driver license (got that)
*a social security card not laminated (got that)
*two documents to prove residency, like a utility bill, W-2 forms, etc. (umm…don’t have that)
*US State Issued Birth Certificate (got that)
*If birth name is different that current name-your marriage license (umm…don’t have that. Does this count for discrimination against women? Guys don’t need one of these.)
*Check or money order for $26.00 (got that)

Okay, so I have 4 out of 6 items. With a heavy sigh, I stepped out of line, knowing I didn’t have all the necessary items. I jumped in my car and trotted on home since I live only 15 minutes from the DMV. I ran into the house and retrieved 2 utility bills, which was a challenge since most of the bills are in hubster’s name, and hunted down the marriage license. Since I was married before and widowed, my name on the marriage certificate to my dear hubster has my first married name not my maiden name. Knowing this would confuse the DMV personnel being they are as sharp as the proverbial tack, I had to dig up the marriage license to the first hubster AND his death certificate so as to not have any confusion happen. Then I jumped back into the car and zoomed back to the DMV.

This time the line was much shorter (yea!). Upon arriving at the counter full of confidence and hopeful this process wouldn’t take forever, I presented all my documents with a cheery, “Good afternoon!” A blank face, sans smile, looked up and asked my purpose in gracing his counter. “I need a PA driver’s license since I’ve moved back into the State,” was my still friendly reply. He runs down the check list, ascertaining all necessary documents were in hand, asks me if I’ve filled out the requisite form, to which I replied, “What form?” He hands me my number slip so I know where I am in the vast crowd of waiting people, and a blank form, with monotone instructions to “Fill this out and give it to the guy at the desk.” Oooooookkkaayyy. Smiling and continuing to be my cheery self, hoping that a positive attitude would get me out quicker, I went to wait my turn…again.

I didn’t have a long wait…milliseconds actually. I went up to the next counter and presented all my paperwork. The gentleman behind the counter peers up at me over his glasses and says, “Yeah?” Out comes my smile, while inside I’m sighing heavily, Oh here we go. I repeat the phrase from the first desk. He goes down the checklist. He asks me to step up to the little machiney thing you have to peer through to have your vision tested. Now keep in mind I am short – a whopping 5 ft. 1 in. This vision testing machine is bolted to a counter than is about shoulder height on me. “Tilt it down,” I am instructed. Tilt what down? The dang thing is bolted down! I think to myself, as I try to stand on tip-toe. He repeats, a tad firmer, “Tilt the machine down! It moves!” Ah…ooooookkkkkaaaay. I got it now. Tilted the sucker down and read line 4. Great, I can barely see line 4 it’s so small and I’m wearing bifocals for gawd sake! I manage to get the letters correct and pass my vision test. Yippee!

I move back to the lower counter to continue the process where I am informed, “You don’t have a State issued birth certificate here.” Umm…that is my birth certificate you’re hold. I am informed it is a hospital certificate NOT a State certificate. Unacceptable. Sighing heavily AGAIN, I exit the DMV a 2nd time. Okay so back in the car I go, heading home AGAIN, to get a State issued birth certificate, which I found relatively quickly (Thank you God for your mercy!) and go BACK to the DMV for the 3rd time!!!!!

Thank goodness the gentleman instructed me to by-pass the “welcome” counter and go right to his desk, where with my STATE issued birth certificate, I am processed in a matter of minutes, am instructed to go to the photo center and have my picture taken which shall grace the front of my PA license till 2008. Good thing I put on make-up today and did my hair pretty. Can’t have Attila the Hun on your driver’s license for the next 3 years now can we?!

After 3 trips to the DMV and at least an 1/8th a tank of gas, I’m good to drive legally with the correct State license. All with my pretty little picture on it, not to be taken again until 2008. Thank goodness.


2 thoughts on “How many trips does it take to get your driver’s license?

  1. No wonder my son was freaking out when he went to get his PA license. Can’t help wishing the experience had made him return to NH…. 😉

  2. I have to renew my license in 2034. And it can be done by post. Of course by then, I may be able to do it by some sort of as-of-yet-uninvented technology.

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