License Limbo
June 24, 2009 7:40 AM   Subscribe

Help me figure out how to get a new driver's license.

I had a DC driver's license and then moved to New York about two years ago. I became registered to vote in New York for the Presidential election. Shortly thereafter, my DC driver's license and social security card were stolen. I don't drive, so I've just been using my passport for an ID when needed, but in about two months I will need to rent a car and drive and I need to get this figured out. Both the NY and DC DMV have been giving me the run around and I am having a hard time figuring out what I need to do. Not having my social security card is making things a lot harder. I can go in person to either the DC or NY DMV.
posted by Falconetti to Law & Government (16 answers total)
Best answer: Can you be specific about the "runaround" part? What are the DMVs asking for that you can't provide or do?

And if not having your SS card is making this hard, have you considered getting a new one to make this easier?
posted by vall at 7:46 AM on June 24, 2009

Is your DC license technically expired? If so, you will almost certainly need to take a New York written / road test and apply for a new license. The social security card is mostly irrelevant; you should be able to use the passport as proof of both identity and citizenship.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:51 AM on June 24, 2009

Best answer: Most DMV's list the types of identification they will accept. Looks like this form (ID-44) is what you need for NY State, and it looks like they DO require a SS card. So you're just going to have to get a new one of those.
posted by sararah at 7:51 AM on June 24, 2009

1. Order DC driver's license replacement online.

2. Bring DC driver's license, proof of NY address and passport to NY DMV.

3. Profit!
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:52 AM on June 24, 2009

(oops, sorry, I was clearly wrong about the passport alone being acceptable.)
posted by uncleozzy at 7:53 AM on June 24, 2009

Per uncleozzy, unless your DC license is expired.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:53 AM on June 24, 2009

This page seems to detail the forms of ID that are acceptable to get a license in NY. To echo vall, though, you might find that this will be easier if you get a new SS card first.
posted by box at 7:53 AM on June 24, 2009

Response by poster: The "runaround" is just general unhelpfulness. DC says I need to speak with NY and NY says I need to speak with DC. I think vall and sararah are right that the easiest way to do this is to first get a replacement social security card. I was trying to avoid that because they will need my original passport and they may keep it for a period while processing my application. Since it is my only form of ID left, I was hesitant to part with it.
posted by Falconetti at 7:59 AM on June 24, 2009

Are you trying to avoid taking the road test?
posted by smackfu at 8:05 AM on June 24, 2009

Definitely get a replacement social security card. Also, since two major pieces of identification were stolen, you may want to check your credit reports to make sure that your identity hasn't been stolen as well.
posted by scarykarrey at 8:17 AM on June 24, 2009

Response by poster: I definitely do not want to take the road test again, even if that is the most direct way of getting a new license.

Also, I just found out that because I live in Brooklyn, I need to go in person to the Brooklyn Social Security Card Center, which actually makes this easier for me since I don't think they will need to keep my passport (as they would have to have done if I needed to mail in my application). Once I get a social security card, it will be a lot easier to get the replacement driver's licenses from DC and then swap it for a NY license. Thanks for the quick help and for shifting my focus on what I needed to do first. If anyone has any further comments, please continue to provide advice.
posted by Falconetti at 8:19 AM on June 24, 2009

Also, this link says that the NY DMV will accept a letter or driver abstract from the previous state in lieu of the actual driver's license. So, you might not even have to get a replacement license from DC if they're willing to send you this with the pertinent info.
posted by scarykarrey at 8:27 AM on June 24, 2009

The best advice I can give you is to start now. It took me SIX MONTHS to get my license replaced in NYC, with no less than FOUR TRIPS to the DMV. They'd tell me one thing over the phone (expired passport & SS card are enough!) and another thing when I got there (insufficient ID!). (Also, don't believe anything you read on their website - on trip two I actually took a printed copy of their listed identification requirements - the woman glanced at it, shrugged, and repeated that I had insufficient ID.) Then the camera wasn't working so after waiting 2 months (following trip 3) for my license to arrive in the mail I received instead a letter saying I had to go back to have my picture retaken. On my final trip to the DMV I burst into tears when they told me that my paper license plus my expired passport plus a certified copy of my birth certificate plus my Social Security card plus a copy of my lease were not sufficient to prove my identity and current address. A manager on duty took pity on me and "let it slide." My NY driver's license picture shows me with swollen eyes and blotchy skin and a general look of hopelessness, but it did finally arrive in the mail...six months after I first visited the DMV (which I now refer to as Satan's satellite office).

If you need a license in two months, go now. God speed.
posted by philotes at 8:48 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Just a note of encouragement: I had to get a new SS card to get a NY driver's license (I had the out of state license, but had lost my SS card). Getting the new SS card was not a problem at all -- I was actually shocked at how easy it was. But yeah, set those balls in motion now.
posted by kestrel251 at 9:22 AM on June 24, 2009

Best answer: Falconetti--You are going to want to get to the SS center real early. 7am if you can do it. It will be packed from 830am onwards and you may be told to go home. Also be prepared for a very invasive search of your person--think TSA.
posted by shownomercy at 9:31 AM on June 24, 2009

And people think Florida is backwards.....what a mess....our biggest issue now is the FL DMV is closing offices due to budget constants. But you can get your DL in a matter of minutes after the photo is taken. Good luck at the SS office!
posted by patnok at 9:49 AM on June 24, 2009

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