The red tape for renewing your driver’s license has gotten a lot thicker.
New federal rules are creating hardships for drivers trying to renew their license. A representative with the Texas Department of Public Safety told the Vernon Record that a new rule that took effect in Texas means drivers cannot renew without showing a birth certificate or a passport.
“This is really catching a lot of people off guard,” said Wilbarger County Clerk Jana Kennon. “We are seeing four times, maybe five times as many requests for birth certificates. It is making people, especially the elderly upset.”
“You have to show a certified copy of your birth certificate, passport or other accepted ID. A lot of people wait until the last minute and then they can’t renew,” Kennon said.
She said it costs $23 for a copy of a birth certificate from her office, and it must be paid by cash or check – not credit or debit card.
“A lot of people aren’t prepared for that and have to come back with a check,” she said.
Kennon said people turned away at the drivers’ license office come to her office next for a birth certificate, and she can often get a copy the same day if they are born in Texas.
However, she said she had one man come in Thursday who was born on a farm in Scurry County. She was unable to get him a birth certificate copy and he ended up having to write off for one. “He can’t renew his license until he gets it back,” she said.
The requirement is a result of the REAL ID Act passed by Congress that establishes specific federal requirements for state-issued driver’s license and identity cards to be accepted for certain federal purposes, like entering a federal building or boarding a domestic flight. Although it was passed in 2005, it will not fully go into effect until 2020.
Texas began changing its rules to become complaint with the law. In addition, even if your drivers license is valid, it will not get you on a plane unless it is complaint. It must have a gold star on the front right top to be complaint whether federal law – and after Oct. 1, 2020 you will not be able to board an airplane or enter a federal building without the valid license or a passport.