Dear PoPville – Am I crazy in thinking that this is ridiculous?


“Dear PoPville,

I recently bought a house and waited a few weeks to update my license address so that I could get the REAL ID. I went to the DMV and actually had a rather pleasant experience (no wait!). However, when I received my new license, I was a little disappointed. The expiration was 2 years and one month away. I noticed that this was the same expiration as my old license, so I emailed the DMV to let them know that someone forgot to update the expiration date before printing my new ID. The DMV responded that the expiration was not updated because this was a “duplicate transaction.”

This makes no sense to me. I can understand that the expiration would not be extended if someone lost an ID and needed a replacement that was actually identical to the old ID. However, in this situation, I had to go to the DMV, prove who I am, prove where I live, and I had a new picture taken. So not only is the information/picture on the ID not the same as my old ID, but the ID itself is completely different.

Now, I will admit that I only paid $20 (instead of the $44 renewal fee), but if I had been given the option, I would have gladly paid $44 now to avoid having to renew in two years. Am I crazy in thinking that this is ridiculous? It seems to me that the DMV should be charging the renewal fee to anyone who gets the REAL ID (or at least giving people the option to pay more) and giving them the standard 8 year expiration date. I am just curious what PoPville thinks…”

14 Comment

  • Remember this the next time you vote in DC. These rules were created by the DC politicians (who oversee the DMV) and also are the same ones that purposefully kept the old IDs, despite knowing that they were not in compliance. And now everyone has to get an new ID and pay for it.

    Just another example of the DC government at it’s best.

  • Solution – don’t go get a REAL ID until your current ID expires. Many states aren’t compliant with REAL ID – and refuse to become compliant. The deadlines DHS keeps putting out for when you have to have a compliant ID keep getting extended because they know they can’t tell the residents of 12 states that they can’t get on a plane. REAL ID is an unworkable law and DHS knows it, but won’t admit it because they want to keep using it as a threat to force compliance.
    Some more info:

    • But the ID standards were passed by Congress, yes? DHS is only implementing what Congress told them to do. DHS just doesn’t get to force everyone to do this out of their own volition.
      Like nearly everything that is screwed up in this country, the blame rests with Congress. Only Congress can fix this mess.

  • I think you’ll be ok…. When you need to renew just do it early enough to do the transaction online, then you won’t have to go to the DMV. Simple enough. Sounds like you had a good experience otherwise so be thankful for that.
    I’d be more mad about having a DC license with cherry blossoms on it, a phenomena that is less than a week out of the year in the city and has more to do with the tourists than the people that live here.

  • I think people should be required to renew their licenses – and any other document with a photo on it – sooner than once every eight years.
    I’m also curious as to why this is such a big inconvenience to you. “Renewing” a license in DC consists of going online after you have been notified that you have to renew, paying the fee, and waiting for your new license to be mailed to you. I understand that those of us without REAL IDs will have to renew in person to get the REAL ID. But according to the DMW website, if you have a REAL ID and don’t let it expire for more than a year, don’t move or change your name, etc, you will be able to renew it online. So what is the big deal?

    • I think OP is protesting having to pay $20 now, and then an additional $44 in two years when the ID expires. The money is the issue, not the convenience.

      The DC DMV fee list is actually pretty clear, IMO: I understand you technically got a “new” ID since it was the REAL ID, not the old, ID, but your previous ID was not expired, so it was not a renewal. Therefore, you pay the $20 for the change address fee. If there was no REAL ID, this would be the process you would have had to go through if you wanted to change your address, so I don’t see why it would be any different just because there happens to be a new type of ID.

    • Beyond the extra money and the inconvenience of having to reapply online in two years (however minor that may be), the point is that the policy just makes no sense. Why bother issuing a brand new ID with such a short expiration if the person has done everything required to renew a license? I could have not updated my license, but I decided to do so not because I wanted the REAL ID, but because you are supposed to do it when you move. Before the REAL IDs, you could change your address without going to the DMV, so perhaps not extending the expiration made sense, but in this situation, where they are making an entirely new ID based on proving all of your information, it seems like the policy should be to treat this as a renewal to save the money and inconvenience long term.

  • Obnoxious, perhaps, but not ridiculous.

  • it’s an absurd policy and I think somewhat new.

    I had a similar experience a couple of years back. I had chipped the corner of my license — probably trying to jimmy some door after I locked myself out — and a couple of the numbers were missing in a way that annoyed the TSA people at the airport, so I went to get a replacement. About a month later I was at the 9:30 Club and the guy looked at my license and said’ “you’re not going to like this…” They had replaced my license less than a month before it expired, without renewing it (which I had assumed they would). And, since I didn’t have a valid ID (I was 50 years old, but that’s another story) the 9:30 club put a huge stamp on the back of both of my hands which meant I could only drink by having a friend palm me a shot of something for me to throw back real quick and get rid of before a bouncer caught me holding a cup with visible “no drinking” stamps and kicked me out.

  • Probably a function of something you have to do at the expiration date before obtaining a new license. Maybe re-pass the vision test or somesuch.

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