New ID requirements for license renewal irritate many

New ID requirements for license renewal irritate many

The people waiting at the Georgia Department of Driver Services office in Sandy Springs were two things on Tuesday: hot and angry.

A combination of factors — it was Tuesday, the first day of the week that license centers are opened; it was the day before a holiday; and it was the first day for new rules requiring additional identification to renew licenses — resulted in a whole lot of mess at area driver's license offices. It didn't help that there was only one fan to cool the bothered lot.

Starting Tuesday, drivers had to bring an original or certified birth certificate, Social Security card and two documents proving where they live. Previous rules required these forms of identification when applying for a new driver's license or ID card, but now the forms are also required for renewals.

Nigel French, 18, of Roswell waited outside with his mother, Sharon, to apply for a learner's permit. Around 3 p.m., they had been waiting for three hours.

"They told us there was a two- to five-hour wait," French said. "But that's a big difference. I would go in to get information, but that means I have to go inside. At least outside there is a breeze."

Driver Services spokeswoman Susan Sports said the new process was only a small factor in Tuesday's long lines.

"Anytime we have a process change, there's a learning curve with the examiners, meaning it takes them longer to complete a transaction," she said.

But there were other factors. License centers are closed Mondays, and they will be closed Wednesday for the Fourth of July holiday.

"I don't anticipate us evening out until next week," Sports said. "I know that Thursday will be incredibly busy."

Residents without the proper identification also play a part in the delays, she said. In those cases, an applicant is issued a 120-day temporary license on security paper with holograms and photographs

Spring Mason and her son Cooper Lewis expected long lines Tuesday, but Lewis, 18, wanted to get his learner's permit. They expected a wait of one to two hours, but it turned into three before they found out they were missing one vital document.

"It's a mess down there," Mason said. "It was over capacity, and it must have been 100 degrees in the room."

She and her son thought they had the right documents and then realized later they had been given the wrong checklist. Instead of just providing a Social Security number, they would need the actual Social Security card.

"After waiting a couple of hours, a young man walking around told us he wanted to make sure we had the correct stuff," Mason said. "He said, 'No, you don't, this is the wrong information sheet.' "

Her son passed the test and paid the license fee, but they still had to go back to their house to find his Social Security card. She wasn't looking forward to returning. "There's a lot of unhappy people there," she said.

The new documents requirement was news to Andrew Riveros of Atlanta, who had come to apply for a driver's license.

Did you bring your two forms of proof of address? Shenetra Saunders asked. She had come with Helene Mbaye and her 1-year-old daughter, but after about four hours they decided to come back another day.

"No, I don't have them," Riveros said. "That's a good thing. That means I can leave."

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