152 Comment

  • I never use this phrase but this deserves it- SMH

  • Up here in Canada, the LCBO and other establishments have a book that has all the US licenses, photos of what they look like, information included, etc. I have never had a problem because they pull out that book and compare my DC license to the information. It sounds like many US establishments could use a copy of this book!

    • I was at the Jersey Shore and they pulled out one of these books.

    • 7 or so years ago I had the book pulled on me in Arizona when I had one of the new (at the time) Virginia licenses and the book didn’t mention the newer, secure licenses. I had to convince the bartender that, no it wasn’t a fake ID, this is what VA licenses look like now. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of establishments still use outdated “books”….

      • I just signed up for a DC REAL ID–which everyone will need to have in order to fly domestically starting January 1, 2018–and I’m curious about how many folks will question it. I don’t know what it looks like yet. They said I’ll get it in the mail in a few weeks, and in the meantime, because they punched a hole in my old license, I have to carry around an 8.5×11 printout on cheap paper that I’m SURE no one will accept.

        • Seriously? Wow.

        • This is how it works now for Real ID. I’ve gotten one twice now (because the lovely DMV put the wrong birthdate on my first one), and both times I got it in the mail within 5 days. We’ll see how MD does it when I switch over.

        • I’ve had a real ID for about a year and travel frequently for work within the US. Never had a problem with it anywhere.

        • I used the paper print out with TSA and it worked. I brought along my old licence just in case.

        • Tsar of Truxton

          I have had a REAL ID since 2014, and I have not personally had any issues anywhere. I do remember that a friend had an issue with it in Arlington when it first came out, but it has been out long enough that people in the area know it now, and people elsewhere probably don’t know enough about its appearance to question it.

          • DHS keeps pushing back the REAL ID requirement date, for all states, every so often. It may not actually be required until 2025 haha

        • ah

          Not quite how it works – starting then you have to have an ID from a state that issues Real IDs (i.e., complies with certain security requirements). But you can have an older ID that’s not itself Real ID compliant and still use it to fly, get into federal buildings, etc., so long as it was issued by a state (or DC) that already complies or has an extension. DC is compliant.

          By Oct 2020, everybody travling needs a Real ID compliant license.

        • A few people at TSA have commented that they hate when people have the new DC licenses because the birthdates are microscopic on them, they have to squint to see it. Why is this….

    • When I was 19 trying to buy a four pack of Laker Ale at the beer store (as an American 19-year-old does) they pulled the book on me and I had trouble. Ohio had vertical licenses for under 21, and they didn’t include those in the book.
      Manager had to be called and asked to see a credit card. Took one look, saw it was a US based bank and sold me the beer.

  • Happened to me in Florida last year, I worry for our country. But even more so as it’s an election year and some of these people vote (although I wish more did, even with awful choices).

  • This is absurd – I’m glad he finally figured it out and found a Growlithe in the process. I’ve been looking everywhere for those adorable, fiery pups.

    • Second! Annoying you had to deal with this, but jealous you got a Growlithe!

      Justin – I’ve caught one (only one ever) on Observatory Circle near the Mason Rec Center! Hope this helps your search

      • I’ve only caught one too, but it was outside the 7-11 in foggy bottom! They seem to be around but very sporadic.

      • Thanks for the tip! I found one at 14th and U inside the Dunkin Donuts. They seem to pop up at random, and are tricky to catch.

  • When I was 18 (and the drinking age in NY was 18 at the time), I actually had my PASSPORT refused as identification/proof of age at a liquor store. Needless to say I was flabbergasted.

  • I weep for the American educational system.

  • I have had a very similar interaction twice now in Maryland. Once, I got this:
    Cashier: Oh, you’re Colombian? You don’t look Latino.
    Me: No, District of Columbia, you know, DC?
    Cashier: Do you speak Spanish?
    Me: *annoyed glare* No. It’s not Colombia.
    Cue the search for the birthdate…
    Me: It’s here, See?
    Cashier: Oh, Si! You do speak Spanish!
    Almost as annoying as when I got into it with my credit union rep about changing my lien from DC to Maryland and having to explain that no, DC is not a part of Maryland, and yes, I am sure that I need to change my lien and title. He also initially tried to find my title in Washington State’s online system when I told him I lived in Washington, DC. For the record, the lien is with Navy Federal Credit Union.

  • I was going to a bar in my hometown in MA. The bouncer looked at my DC license, and then said quizzically, “Columbia?” I responded, “yeah, like Washington, DC,” and he let me in without saying anything further.

    Sometimes, people’s brains short-circuit for a second. Sounds like this scenario was a bit more than that…

  • Sadly, I think a big part of the confusion is that many American citizens do not realize that “DC” is shorthand for “District of Columbia”. If our license just said “Washington, DC” there would be much less confusion. Instead, the designers decided to get cute/accurate.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Agreed. The previous design of the DC license, which I was issued in 2012 shortly before the change to the “REAL-ID” compliant design, says “Washington, D.C.” (i.e., what everybody in the world calls this place), not “District of Columbia” like the new ones do. I don’t fault somebody who has a job paying slightly more than minimum wage in another part of the country for not recognizing a name of a place that is only used in formal government documents but that everybody else in the world knows by another name.

    • “accurate” is not “cute”. The problem here lies entirely with so-called “citizens” who can’t be bothered to learn the basic facts about their own country, and not with the designers of our IDs.

      • But wouldn’t it be so much easier to change the design rather than to try to make a bunch of stupid people smarter?

        • sad to say I think you are correct!

        • HaileUnlikely

          I wouldn’t even call him stupid. How well do you think the average white-collar professional in a non-technical field would do if quizzed spontaneously on high school geometry?

          • Hardly an adequate comparison.
            Washington DC is the capital of the US. Adults should know this.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I suspect that this individual, and the vast majority of those who dispute “District of Columbia” IDs, know that, as you said below, the capital of the United States is Washington DC. Some of them may not know that DC = District of Columbia. I personally find that last part forgivable. I mean, you seem to really care about this, much more than I do, yet you can’t be bothered to write out that the capital of the United States is the District of Columbia, instead calling it Washington DC, which actually is my whole point.

          • HaileUnlikely

            p.s. I’m an engineer. I have to fix lots of problems because of other people’s errors in geometry. I don’t often have to fix errors because of people’s inadequate knowledge of geography.

          • “cant be bothered to write out the name of the capital” because Washington DC is common usage. But,
            An adult that doesn’t know that Washington DC is in the US = stupid
            An adult that doesn’t know that District of Columbia is in the US = not as stupid

          • HaileUnlikely

            That’s what I’m saying, Anons. The old DC licenses said “Washington DC.” The new licenses do not say “Washington DC,” they say “District of Columbia.”

        • Let the record show that I was simply making a blunt point in response to alurin, who basically said that people are stupid without using the word stupid. I could easily see the point HaileUnlikely is trying to make.

          • HaileUnlikely

            And I agree with your point btw. My comment probably would have been more appropriate to have posted in response to basically any of the other comments here than in response to yours.

          • Haha, it’s ok!

        • “District of Columbia” is definitely a confusing name. And lots of people are definitely stupid. But Washington DC is easy, so why not make it easy?

    • No, it’s not a design fail. It’s an education fail. The fact that people do not know what “DC” stands for is an abominable embarrassment

      • HaileUnlikely

        What other jurisdiction in the United States is referred to by something other than its actual name in general parlance? Sure, it’s an education fail, but it’s also an invented problem. The guy ain’t a government official, he’s a f*cking bouncer.

        • Yeah, but… Washington, DC, is the capital of the COUNTRY. I don’t need the guy to know the names of the Supreme Court justices or how many people are in Congress. I don’t even expect anyone outside our area to know “DC” off the top of their heads. But not getting Washington, DC? The capital of his country? I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

          • Except it doesn’t say “Washington DC” on the new license. I think it’s entirely plausible for someone to blank on the “DC” part. “District of Columbia” likely doesn’t get mentioned much outside of DC. No need to be a dick about it.

          • Anon, I’m not criticizing for that. What I’m saying is that no one should have to have a protracted conversation to convince someone that Washington, DC, is actually the capital of the country that they’re citizens of. When someone says, “District of Columbia, what?” and the answer is, “Washington, DC,” the response should be “Oh, right. Go on ahead.”

          • That’s fair, but given Trump, I’ve lost a lot of faith in our collective populace to carry-out rational discourse.

          • It DOES say “Washington, DC” on the new license. IT’S IN THE ADDRESS LINE.

        • I don’t know how old you are or if you were born in AND raised in the US.

          If you grew up in the US – especially if you were born here – you are taught what DC means. It is the nation’s capital.

          There is no excuse – short of microcephaly – that justifies an American citizen not knowing this.

          This.Is.Not.OK Being this dumb is worthy of excoriation.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Yes I was born and raised in the US and of course I was taught what “District of Columbia” meant. Most of us have forgotten the vast majority of things that we were taught in school that we do not have occasion to put to use at least occasionally. Would you willingly retake your 11th grade math final exam right now? The residents of the state of Nevada probably don’t have occasion to read, write, or speak about “District of Columbia” very often.

        • Well, for one, everyone calls it Rhode Island but the actual name is the “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.”

        • Good point, Shaw. And, at least on my license, it also says “USA” in the top right corner.

      • Acutally, it is a #designfail
        Designers need to design for the usability of the average person who uses their product. Not the smartest, those who are well read, or geographically proficient. Just the average….which happens to be quite a low bar in the U.S. of A. So yeah, #designfail

        • Right? Shouldn’t State IDs fall under the “Plain Language Initiative”? I guess that’s just a Federal Initiative.

        • First of all, the average person who uses this particular “product” is residents of the District of Columbia, who presumably have no problem identifying where they live. Second, this is not a “product,” this is an official government document, and as such I don’t see any problem with it accurately reflecting the issuing entity.

          Is it a design fail that New Mexico licenses don’t say “NEW Mexico, of the USA. Not to be confused with just plain Mexico, which is another county,” or that Togolege passports say “Republique Togolaise” instead of just “AFRICA” in two inch letters?

          • Actually I’d say the average user would be the person using the “product” to let someone fly/buy a drink/etc. since it doesn’t matter if the holder knows what something is if other people don’t. But that’s neither here nor there.

          • That’s exactly what I said. I don’t typically travel to a far-flung state to buy beer, and I don’t expect the clerk at my corner store is traveling hundreds of miles in to work every day. Likewise, the TSA folks at National are almost certainly from DC or a surrounding suburb. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred if I’m handing someone my ID, it’s here in the District (or right next door), and nobody has a problem with it. Why should they design an ID to avoid these fringe case interactions with grown adults who don’t know where the capital of their own country is? Forget those folks; they’re a lost cause.

          • Well actually we do refer to passports and passport cards as “products” and they are government issued documents. People pay for them like they do State IDs so I’m not sure why it would be different but maybe it is different(?).
            I do prefer the look of old ID though. Not going to lose my mind about whether it’s good, bad, right or wrong. If the person asking isn’t aware of what “District of Columbia” means I have no problem patiently explaining.

          • “Likewise, the TSA folks at National are almost certainly from DC or a surrounding suburb…”
            Until you’re flying back from another direction. People travel. We live in a city FULL of people who travel for work. I think your logic is flawed. Why should someone design an ID that says “Washington DC” instead of “District of Columbia?” Again — so that people with DC IDs have less of a chance of being inconvenienced or screwed over because someone doesn’t know better.
            I don’t understand what is so difficult about the concept of making people’s lives easier. It’s not like the designers are sitting there slaving away and not being paid or something. That is literally someone’s job.

        • If designers have to work around the outrageous stupidity of the general American public, then I am truly sad for the future. It’s not up to the designer to dumb down everything because people refuse to learn. It’s OUR fault for raising little idiots. I’m expecting EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN CITIZEN to realize that 1. Washington DC is the Nation’s capital. 2. It is, in fact, within the United States and 3. “DC” stands for the District of Columbia. It is not the job of everyone else to work around your ignorance. Get it together.

    • I agree that people are stupid, but the design doesn’t help. The old design said “Washington D.C.” and had a prominent image of the U.S. Capitol. The newer design is more generic looking.

    • This. My partner and I were renting a car at the Avis location at San Diego Airport. He had the older style ID at the time, and I’d just gotten a REAL ID. When it came time to add me as an additional driver, the rental representative said “You didn’t tell me you were Canadian. That changes things.” Cue the next 10 minutes spent explaining that I was not actually from British Columbia. I have found that it helps if you point out that there’s a Washington, DC street address printed on the license.

      • HaileUnlikely

        “it helps if you point out that there’s a Washington, DC street address printed on the license.” This is probably the only useful comment in the whole discussion. Thank you for this suggestion. I have not encountered this problem yet, because I still have an old unexpired license that says Washington DC on the top, and bouncers everywhere know what Washington DC is. When I get my new REAL-ID in a couple years, I will keep this in mind. Thanks.

    • As a designer myself, I find it impossible to believe that it was solely the designer’s decision to use the text “District of Columbia” vs. “DC”. It is much more likely that someone higher up passed down the new requirements to the designer, the designer executed them, it went through multiple rounds of approval, and then it was finalized. The likelihood of this being a rogue designer’s decision is close to none.

      • Totally fair point. The DC ID is definitely a design-by-committee clustermess ๐Ÿ™‚

      • HaileUnlikely

        Agreed. I don’t think anybody thought the issue was caused by the decision of a graphic designer; I think the point was just that we wouldn’t have this problem if the collective wisdom of the DC government left well enough alone and had the licenses say “Washington DC” like they always had up until 2013 or 2014 or whenever.

        • Not to be too pedantic, but the actual issuing authority is the District of Columbia. For all practical purposes, there is no ‘Washington’ anymore. There was a time when there were several cities inside the District (Washington, Georgetown, Alexandria) but now there is just Washington, but the administrative functions, and the legal authority, lies with the District (it’s not the City Council, it’s technically the DC Council, you write checks to the District, not the city. Why not have the name of the issuing entity on the ID?

    • Do your realize that Washington is NOT an incorporated city? There is NO actual city (or unincorporated area or place) named Washington here (there was once a city of Washington, in a smaller part the territory that is DC, back before the Organic Act of 1871, which repealed the charters of the cities of Georgetown and Washington and created one territorial organization for the district.) There is no city or unincorporated place called Washington here – the name “Washington” for this city area is one we usually colloquially only, and the term has has no real legal meaning.

      The District of Columbia is a territory of the United States. It is NOT Washington, DC. It is simply the District of Columbia, which is only correct name for the place.

      If the people who live here don’t even know that, that we live in a territory called DC and not in a place named Washington, how do we expect the rest of the country to know where we live??? I used to think people were poorly educated, but when I found out that even I didn’t understand that there is no Washington until a number of years after moving here, I realized there is real reason for the confusion.

      That said, I liked having the old “Washington, DC” license plates, which got me out of even having to respond to parking tickets issued out-of-town, when the ticket writer would not read the whole plate and would write in “WA” for the state of Washington.

  • A bartender in DC questioned my DC ID because it was so poorly laminated that it looked fake. I had to admit it did. It’s uneven and really cheap-looking. Pretty sure I could make a better one on my own.

  • Ha, I had a very similar situation last year while in South Carolina. Several back and forth’s with a server over my needing a passport to order a beer. She was convinced I had “some sort of international ID”. The server was about to leave in a huff and said, “Listen, I don’t even know where the District of Columbia is. You’re going to need to show me your passport.” My 5 year old son won the day with, “We live in Washington, DC. Like DC. Where President Obama lives. Duh!” My husband and I tried very hard to not laugh and encourage my sons condescending tone. But it was pretty awesome.

    • HA! We should get our five year olds together for a play date. Together, they could rule the world! Or at least make the world feel collectively stupid.

  • My license says “Washington, D.C. in big letters at the top” Did they change it? I also just noticed that it expires this year. Darn.

  • maxwell smart

    as someone who grew up in New Mexico, I’ve endured years of “wow, you speak really good English!” – “I’m sorry sir, we don’t except foreign currency” – “I didn’t know people lived there.”

    • +1

      Was also going to say, the exact opposite happens all the time with bartenders/bouncers in DC. Show your NM ID. “Sorry, this isn’t a real ID.” “I’ve never seen an ID like this.” “Is this a US ID?”

  • Over the summer in Portland, OR, the door guy asked if we had valid passports instead of IDs and we couldn’t figure out why and were arguing with him about it until we all came to realize he thought we were from Colombia.

  • Happened to me in Hawaii a couple of years ago with TSA – agent asked for my passport, which of course I didn’t have.

    Sounds like this guy didn’t know basic US history, geography, or spelling since Colombia the country is spelled with an o, not a u.

  • Happens in rural California (where my family is) ALL THE TIME. I usually ask them to get the book and/or a manager. One bartender in Nebraska flat out refused to believe that it was real. Thanks for thinking I look 20 years younger than I am, lady, but what the heck kind of 20 year old orders a Malbec in the lobby of the Marriott? I finally convinced her that if it was Colombian, it’d be in Spanish.

  • I’m the guy this happened to! Lemme know if you have any questions baout the experience.

    • something similar also happened to me in Nevada a couple of weeks ago! I was at the Aria in Vegas at one of the casino bars and had a very confusing discussion with the bartender until I figured out that he thought I was from British Columbia. (I have never even been to Canada so I couldn’t figure out why he kept bringing it up.)

  • This happened to me… In Newark, DE.

  • This happened to me at a bar in San Diego in February.
    “Sorry, we don’t accept international IDs”
    “It’s not an international ID”
    “Yes, it is- Colombia”
    “No, The District of Columbia, you know, the Nation’s Capital?”
    He embarrassingly handed my ID back to me and let me through without another word.

  • I spent my last couple years of college at GWU (years ago) and had to fight with two different loan companies about the fact that yes, I was eligible to take out private loans through them because yes, GWU was in the United States. One tried to argue that DC was *not* in the US and therefore they couldn’t give me a loan (as they only service US schools) and the other processed it as in Washington state and when they couldn’t find the school, assumed it was made up or fraudulent and denied me.

  • Same thing happened to me at a casino in Vegas last year. The dealer wanted my passport instead, I didn’t have it, so he said he needed to talk to his manager. Luckily the manager approved of my DC drivers license.

    On another note, we just received a Save the Date addressed to Washington DC, VA. I don’t know what to think…

    • HaileUnlikely

      Wow, that is disappointing. I suspect that was attributable to autocorrect in conjunction with inadequate proofreading. In any event, where is the wedding. Washington, VA exists (it is near Shenandoah National Park and could be a reasonably nice place to have a wedding).

      • My address on the save the date was Washington DC, VA, and I live in Washington DC. The wedding is far away in the southern part of the country. I think someone either doesn’t know, or was just really tired of hand addressing!

  • Why can’t we just put “Valid United States Identification” on the front of the licenses, and a little explanation on the back that explains that DC is the seat of US Government for anyone too stupid to already know that?

  • I had to explain the whole DC thing to an employee at Target in Tennessee. He said he didn’t know people actually lived in DC and was surprised DC issued drivers licenses. I threw in a little DC statehood talk, too.

    • I had a similar experience with a cashier in my hometown. I was lucky that a cop came into the store in the middle of the discussion and informed her that my ID was not fake (she was threatening to call the police since I was trying to buy alcohol, and I was about 26/27 at the time and have always looked younger, so she legit thought I was trying to use a fake). Same basis…she knew where DC was, but thought no one actually lived in the District.

    • “He said he didnโ€™t know people actually lived in DC” Wow, just… wow

    • This is so sad it’s heartbreaking.

  • So glad my “Washington, DC” license doesn’t expire until 2020.

  • These comments on experiences are so baffling they almost seem fake. When I was in school in NYC I had a cab driver ask me where I was from. Five minutes of back and forth and I ended up having to explain DC’s location by how far it was from Baltimore. Like…what? You’ve heard of Bmore but not the nation’s capital? The place where the president lives? The place where our laws are made? He was born in another country but had lived in NYC for over 15 years. It was bizarre

  • I’ve had this too, from a TSA agent in Los Angeles, who told me I didn’t “look Colombian.”

  • this happened to me when I won at a casino in another state. They were like “do you have a US ID?” I was like its Washington, DC…the capitol. And she was telling her supervisor “oh I guess its part of Washington now”. This was after she took it back to compare it to “the book”. Where it obviously was because its a US Id! I do not get the confusion…I have no accent, clearly look American…I don’t think they know where Columbia is either. Its absolute insanity.

    • What does ‘clearly look American’ mean? Please explain!?

      • I just got back from extensive traveling in Europe and you can definitely pick Americans out in a crowd, regardless of race, ethnicity, etc. It’s usually the shoes and frequently the tone/volume of their voices (though that is less reliable than the shoes).

  • Last week at the Springfield Mall.. Approximately 10 miles south of DC, I showed my ID to a server who was seriously flabbergasted at the sight of it.. SMH.

  • Question, will I have to get a new picture when I get my REAL ID? My current ID doesn’t expire before the REAL IDs become mandatory, and my picture is awesome. It would rock my world if I could just renew it without getting a new pic. And for a somewhat related story to share. When I was in high school, I had to slow explain to one of my college-bound classmates during senior year that Washington state and Washington, DC, were two separate things.

    • You have to resubmit the proof of identification in-person and they take a new photo of you.
      At least that’s the default. If you have the gift of gab, perhaps they will take pity on you and re-use the old photo. However, I have no idea what their system allows them to do. It may require a new photo.

    • Yes, I had to take a new photo when I got my REAL ID. Sadly my old picture was awesome, and my new one is not.

      • skj84

        yeah. Thank goodness the new pic is in black and white. I was hungover and didn’t have time to put makeup on the day I took mine. I thought I looked a mess, but the black and white made me look like a human.

        • It’s in black and white? Hey, that’s kind of cool. I actually cancelled plans to go out for drinks with a friend the night before I went in because I needed to not be puffy for the picture that I may have to show people repeatedly for the next ten years or whatever. True story. Side note: they give you ZERO time to get ready. As in, they told me to stand against the white background and I didn’t even have time to smile, much less shake out my humidity-flattened hair, before she shot the photo.

          • I had the opposite experience. The woman who took my picture at the DMV told me to retake it because my hair was crazy (I have curly hair and it was August). She gave me a minute to smooth it out a bit and let me see the retake. She did me a HUGE favor – nicest DMV employee ever.

    • They will NOT let you keep your old photo. The require you to get a new photo. I however, had a duplicate version of my old license from when I thought I lost the original. So, now I have my REAL ID and my old DC license with an expiry of 2019, so I can use both until then. I loved my old photo. No photo looks good on the new REAL ID.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Sensible enough. My current driver’s license still has my photo from over a decade ago, at which time I had a full head of brown hair (I am now mostly bald and what little hair I have left is gray)

        • wow…much like the DJs of days gone by, I’ve always wondered what PoP commenters look like. thank you for answering that question!

  • wmm

    Few years back, I had a friend from Tacoma, WA visit me, and was denied access into The Angry Inch (from those that remember it) because the bouncer didn’t believe there was a ‘Washington state’. The manager had to call the owner.

  • What would happen if you said, “Washington DC, like Washington Redskins, Washington Nationals, Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals.” Would the kind of people who don’t believe in the existence of our capital maybe buy the story if it’s backed up by the existence of professional sports franchises?

    • HaileUnlikely

      That would probably work better if the license actually said “Washington DC” on it. The OP said it was a recently-issued license. If it was issued more recently than about 2-3 years ago, it would not say “Washington DC” but rather “District of Columbia” on it. Once you get the examiner on board that “District of Columbia” = “Washington, DC,” the problem would have likely been solved without reference to sports teams. I haven’t heard of the “District of Columbia Redskins” (or others) though.

    • Until I lived here, I thought the Washington football team played in Washington state. I found the name doubly offensive being associated with the U.S. Capital.

      • *whispers* me too
        But I don’t follow football AT ALL. I think most people know more than I do.

        • I also don’t follow the NFL. I know local teams generally and some of the big teams and players, but keep in mind the first time I lived here was pre-Facebook and (eek) even pre-Myspace, so it’s not like I was seeing my friends post things about the teams they cheer for and whatnot. I do think a lot of what I know about the NFL, NBA, etc., nowadays is osmosis from feeds like that. Also because I have a ton of friends from “elsewhere” that I’ve met here, where my previous life was pretty restricted to people who grew up within a couple states of where I had spent my entire life up to that point. State school problems, it was “exotic” for someone to be from two states over. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Right, but IDs have the name of the state (or should-be state) on them– it’s the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks, etc., and their IDs say “Washington” not “Seattle.”

  • Dang, after reading these comments I decided to take a look closer at my license. Yes, it’s weird that it says “District of Columbia” rather than Washington, DC, but as others have pointed out it says Washington, DC under address. Then perhaps the biggest hint…USA in the right corner! Also, what’s with the US not accepting International IDs anyhow?!

    • Why is it weird? Ohio licenses doesn’t have Cleveland, OH across the top.

      Your license is issued by the District Of Columbia. That’s why that’s what it says across the top.

      • Because it used to say Washington, DC? Also, when I am in/around DC I just say DC, but when I am in other states or countries I say Washington, DC. I wouldn’t expect someone to know “District of Columbia” right off the bat. Also, you can’t really compare it to Ohio. Ohio is a state and DC isn’t so it causes confusion to people who aren’t familiar with DC.

  • TSA has done this to me several times at airports across the country–LAX, IAH, HRL. It’s ridiculous.

  • I’ve had this exact same thing happen to me at LAS. Not exactly a bunch of MENSA members running security there.

  • I’m surprised no one here has mentioned the spelling difference between COLUMBIA and COLOMBIA. So not only does the person checking the ID not know District of Columbia is in the United States they do not know how to spell Colombia, the country in South America.

    Jesus take the wheel.

    • Yeah because THAT doesn’t surprise me at all. So many people spell the country incorrectly and don’t even know it. Also surprising (but not really) is people saying: “You don’t look Colombian!” Not all Latinos look the same either. Latinos can have light hair, eyes, etc.

    • HaileUnlikely

      I’m surprised as well. There are lots of pedants on here; I’m surprised nobody has yet excoriated the Nevada bartender for not knowing how to spell Colombia.

    • smk78 mentioned it at 12:05pm.

  • Related: The city government seems to have made a conscious choice to move towards using “District of Columbia” instead of “Washington, DC” – notably on the new driver’s licences, but also on the new license plates (as of last year) and other official documents/publications. I’ve never seen this discussed/debated but clearly some thought has gone into this. In my experience, people who live around here call the city “DC” (or “the District”) virtually 100% of the time, whereas in other parts of the country (and world) it’s typically called “Washington” or “Washington, DC”. What’s the deal with this discrepancy? Why does nobody here call it “Washington” and why does the city government seem to want to avoid that? I have no real opinion on the issue, but I’ve always wondered. I’ve lived here my whole life, BTW.

  • Just for PSA purposes, wanted to let anyone interested know that the driver’s license image which has been floating around in the thread is not a REAL ID as it doesn’t have the star in the upper right corner. DC changed the license design before they started issuing REAL IDs, so there are some who have the new design but still don’t have REAL IDs. At this point, though, any licenses that come up for renewal are going to be required to be switched over to REAL IDs most likely before any real-life changes take effect, so probably a moot point.

  • This happened to me in Northampton MA! I thought the bartender was making a funny social statement about our statehood status, but alas , she was just an idiot without deodorant.

  • Similar experience at an Avis in Houston Texas
    Airport. The girl at the desk asked for my license, starred for quite a bit and asked if it was a US drivers license. To which I said yes, it’s where the nation’s capital is – you know where Obama lives. Still confused, she had to ask her boss what to enter in the system. Her boss said “DC”.

  • Happened to me while on the phone with Kohl’s customer service a few years ago. Took me five minutes to convince the person that Washington DC is actually in the US- she kept saying it was Colombia. Granted, it’s possible the person on the phone was not American or even located in the US, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

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