NC is the weirdest state I've ever lived in.
August 26, 2008 1:59 PM   Subscribe

Just moved to North Carolina. My husband is *trying* to get his NC driver's license, but they are insisting he have his social security card in order to do so. Why is this? He has a passport; why isn't this enough?
posted by to Law & Government (13 answers total)
It's not North Carolina's fault. It's the REAL ID Act's fault:

1. A photo identity document (except that a non-photo identity document is acceptable if it includes both the person’s full legal name and date of birth)
2. Documentation showing the person’s date of birth
3. Proof of the person’s social security account number (SSN) or verification that the person is not eligible for an SSN
4. Documentation showing the person’s name and address of principal residence

He needs something official-like with his social security number on it. A W-2 will suffice.
posted by zsazsa at 2:07 PM on August 26, 2008

I assume you're looking for an answer better than "because those are the rules", but I don't know if you'll get one.

From the NC DMV web site:
When making application for an original identification card, learners permit or driver license, it is required that you present DMV with a valid Social Security card. If you are not eligible for a Social Security card, you must provide documentation issued by the United States Government indicating legal presence.
Sounds like if he's eligible for a Social Security card, he's got to present it.
posted by Dec One at 2:10 PM on August 26, 2008

I don't know why, but New York state also requires you to present your actual Social Security card as well.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 2:14 PM on August 26, 2008

Response by poster: He needs something official-like with his social security number on it. A W-2 will suffice.

Actually, I called the office and the woman kept insisting it must be an original SS card.

I guess to me it seems like they want the SS card to make sure we're legally allowed in the country (of course we are), so why wouldn't a passport be acceptable? Is this law just retarded, or does a passport not prove we are citizens?
posted by at 2:16 PM on August 26, 2008

Best answer: Actually, it is North Carolina's fault. The Federal REAL ID act requires states to verify the SSN of anyone who applies for a Driver's License. There is no explicit requirement that you show the SS card (that was the NC state legislature's doing).

Some states (California, for instance), will simply ask you for your SSN, and will then verify that the name, birth date, and ssn are all the same as what's in the social security administration's database. The CA DMV terminals can do this electronically on the spot. If it doesn't match, they'll require that you provide the card.

Other states, apparently including North Carolina, have decided that making the changes to their existing networks to allow for this level of integration is undesirable, too expensive, or otherwise not appropriate for their state, and so they verify the SSN the old-fashioned way.
posted by toxic at 2:18 PM on August 26, 2008

the woman kept insisting it must be an original SS card

Yes. North Carolina state law says that it must be an original card. Here are the SSA's instructions (and forms) for getting a replacement.
posted by toxic at 2:19 PM on August 26, 2008

Response by poster: Here are the SSA's instructions (and forms) for getting a replacement.

Thanks, but he already went to the SS Admin today to get a replacement card. But of course he has to wait for it to arrive before going to get his new driver's license.
posted by at 2:23 PM on August 26, 2008

Illinois requires the card as well, plus 3 other pieces of ID. I just went through this.
posted by desjardins at 2:46 PM on August 26, 2008

The reason they do this (I'm guessing) is because of the large number of illegal immigrants in the state. I'm sure the stricter rules help keep the lines shorter.
posted by bradbane at 2:54 PM on August 26, 2008

See if NC has privately run offices that contract with the state and provide DMV services for an additional fee. (Here, a business called ¨MVD express¨) Bring the docs you have down there, be nice and friendly when you go and don´t mention that you already tried at the DMV. Worth a shot, and the usual selling point of these places is a shorter waiting time and convenient locations, so it shouldn´t take long to try.
posted by yohko at 3:04 PM on August 26, 2008

No, no privately run offices here.
posted by konolia at 3:29 PM on August 26, 2008

Are you asking (1) Why they do this, (2) Who requires this, or (3) If there's any way around it, or something else?

If (1), it's primarily because the liability issues that would result from issuing a state ID to the wrong person would be disastrous. The identity-theft scenarios alone are nightmarish. Since SS is federal identification, it helps dislocate some of the responsibility. Secondary reason is the REAL-ID Act, but what the Act requires is not exactly what the state is doing (see below).

If (2), it's the NC state legislature that requires this and (w/r/t 3), you should check to see if they require the card itself or simply proof that the number is affiliated with the name, which the SSA folks can print out for you on the spot.

Texas requires the latter (the verification not the card), but I didn't find that out until I'd spent 2 days at the SSA offices and talked with 3 different people. It's also easier to get the verification at SSA than the card itself (requires fewer forms of ID) and you don't have to wait for it to come in the mail.

However, IIRC the card does fulfill one of Texas' ID requirements itself, so if you don't have it you may need to bring some alternative ID to meet the requirements. Make absolutely sure you have everything you need beforehand -- for example, a "birth record" (from the hospital) is apparently not the same thing as a "birth certificate" (from the state), which I wish someone had told me beforehand -- so you don't have to go multiple times.
posted by spiderwire at 5:29 PM on August 26, 2008

I'm pretty sure it has to due with the NC legislature passing an additional layer of security/frustration to the Drivers License process to prevent "the messicans" from getting them.

For some reason illegal immigrants getting drivers licenses has been a hot topic in NC for the last few election cycles. I assume the logic behind it is that it's easy to get a SS card number and significantly more difficult to get an actual social security card if one was an undocumented immigrant.

I think it's a pretty dumb law all around. But thanks for the heads-up. I have to head to the NC DMV to get my North Carolina license in the next few weeks.
posted by willie11 at 8:28 AM on August 31, 2008

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