Oh, Ohio, Why-o must you be so bureaucratic?
April 5, 2009 12:33 PM   Subscribe

Ohio BMV Bureaucracy filter: I have a Texas driver's license. I recently moved to Ohio and didn't have a car and didn't bother to get an Ohio license. A friend of mine gave me her old car, took the plates (for her new car), and left me the title. Please explain this MESSY bureaucracy!

In more detail:
- I need an Ohio driver's license, have a passport and birth certificate. I was informed that I also need to take the written test. Not a problem, except that I don't think I should drive a plate-less car to take the test. And since I have passport and birth certificate, as well as the Texas license, do I really need something with my SSN on it?

-I have a car with no plates. I need to transfer the title into my name, get the inspection, and register the car in my name. Right now I think I risk it getting towed because it has no plates and is parked on a public street. Is there a simple way to get temp plates without going through all the red tape or is it even worth the bother?

HOW IN SAM TARNATION do I get these things done without a vehicle? And in what order? And if you're familiar with Cleveland, where's the best place to go? Is there a one-stop shopping area that has License Bureau, Clerk of Courts, and inspection in the same place?

I already went here and a few other places, but nothing clearly states the order of things and how and where to go. Help me cut this red tape!
posted by cachondeo45 to Travel & Transportation around Ohio (9 answers total)
Ohio resident here.
You need to take the title to the BMV and get temp/real tags. That and your ID should be all you need. For the car in the street, consider writing a note saying that you're out getting tags and leave it on the dash.

Your best bet is to just go to the BMV and bring everything with you. Your SS card, your Texas license, your title, proof of insurance, money to pay for your registration, etc. It's not that messy, it's just that you haven't done it before. The BMV people do it every day. I don't know why you think you need a clerk of courts, and I've never had my car inspected, so no clue if/when that would even be a factor.

It'll take a couple of hours but it won't be that bad.
posted by JuiceBoxHero at 12:42 PM on April 5, 2009

Former OH resident.
Does OH still have E-check? If so, you may need to pass the emissions test before you can register the car.
posted by box at 12:56 PM on April 5, 2009

i don't know where in cleveland you are, but here is the listing of bmv locations in cuyahoga county. based on the number of asterisks, it appears that you may want to go to parma for the most one-stop shopping, followed by the great north shopping center or maple heights. not from cleveland myself, though, so i do not know how long of a wait there are at any of the locations.
posted by the aloha at 12:57 PM on April 5, 2009

Dunno where you are in Cleveland, but here's a list of E-check locations in Cuyahoga County.

And this is definitely one of those situations where you're still better off using the phone. First thing tomorrow morning, call your local title bureau and explain your situation. The folks there should be able to tell you exactly what you need to do and what order to do it in.
posted by box at 1:01 PM on April 5, 2009

I'm not sure what you looked at on the BMV page, but this page seems like it might be helpful.
posted by box at 1:04 PM on April 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

Ah, that link that aloha posted explains it. Everytime I go to the BMV, I go to the big one where you can do everything in the same building. Inside, it's not even listed as different sections- there's just a bunch of desks. You basically take a number and go through the motions.

Go to the nearest one-stop shopping place. If someone else can drive you, that'd be best. What if you took your car and went straight to the BMV? If you get pulled over you can explain to the officer what you're doing and offer your paperwork as proof. Can anyone out there attest to this, or tell me it's a bad idea?
posted by JuiceBoxHero at 1:04 PM on April 5, 2009

Another Ohio resident here. The bureaucracy may be so put it is very predictable. Definitely call first thing tomorrow and get the scoop on what you need to get tags for your car. Worse case you might have to go to some other agency to get some other piece of paperwork like a social security card.

After that it is just a matter of standing in line with everyone else.
posted by mmascolino at 1:50 PM on April 5, 2009

Oh yeah, in order to get your drivers license you need a state issues ID and a social security card or birth certificate. The passport will not cut it. Super annoying, but, it's Ohio.
posted by banannafish at 9:25 PM on April 5, 2009

Thank you so much for all of your help. The car ended up being towed, but the one-stop shopping in Parma helped out a lot! Thank you!!!
posted by cachondeo45 at 7:01 PM on April 6, 2009

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