1. If you have a license from another state, you must pass the written exam to get a Minnesota license. Either because someone is an idiot, or because the laws in Minnesota are different from everywhere else, in which case someone is an idiot.
2. No one will tell you this until you are actually there, so after a two hour wait, you find you have to go somewhere else, where they administer the test.
3. They give you a piece of paper with the addresses and phone numbers of the places that administer the tests. If you call the one nearest you so you can get directions, you will be routed to a central number where you will be put on hold until it is past the time when they administer the tests.
4. You can’t pay for your license with a credit or debit card. You can pay with cash, or (get this) a check. That means that either checks are more reliable than debit cards, in which case everyone else is being an idiot, or debit cards are more reliable, in which case, yeah.
5. No one will tell you this until you are actually there, so after waiting for two hours, you have to go running around to find cash.*
6. The drivers license from the other state is not acceptable as proof of identity. You must present a birth certificate or a U.S. Passport, as well as your social security card.
7. No one tell you this until you are actually there, so you have to go home for your passport, after which you return for another two-hour wait.
I’ll have my Minnesota license in 5-7 weeks. If I decide I still want it.
*Actually, that isn’t true–they do say that on the web site; but I was on a roll, okay?
0 thoughts on “Surprises from the Minnesota DMV”
When I moved back here from MA, they took my Florida license away and gave me a temp MA license that wasn’t any good for ID. I had to wait until the real one came in before doing fun things like applying for a job or opening a bank account.
1. Iowa made me do this the first time I came over also. I didn’t have to the second time because I already had an Iowa license.
4. Illinois wouldn’t let me pay in cash, only checks. Probably because it is less temptation for the people working with the cash, but I always got frustrated with that “legal tender” thing about cash. And the debit/credit card stuff is all because of the fees they’re charge for it, we don’t see it anymore with gas or other places, but its still there.
6. That is courtesy of the REAL ID act from a few years ago, or at least the current enforcement. They have to verify proof of citizenship as part of the licensing.
I had the same problem when the hospital made a typo on the Social Security registration for my son. I had to jump through a lot of hoops, including getting “identification” for a 3 week old (which consists of just a letter from any doctor saying that the baby popped out).
Red tape can be very frustrating, but since most people don’t really go through it once every few years, they forget about the annoyances until they are back into it again. Then, they swear at it but promptly forget a week after its over.
My sympathies, though.
I’m still surprised that the Post Office accepts credit cards; I’ve never run into any other government function that does. But then, they’re not “really” a government function any more, so they have the flexibility to make these decisions.
I’m not sure this is true on big business accounts today, but it certainly used to be the case that it cost nothing to deposit cash or a check, but you had to make special arrangements to take credit cards (including debit cards), and it cost a fee on every transaction. I’m continually surprised at how many places take them. (arguably part of the fee is covered in not having checks bounce.)
It’s not just Iowa, and IIRC from having to do the same dance when my mother moved here, it has to do with federal identification requirements. I thought it was stupid that they wouldn’t take her ID from the state that she moved from, but would accept her birth certificate, which had neither her picture (not that she would have looked like that anymore anyway) or her current (married) name on it. Massive amounts of stupid. Same problems with cash/check/debit card too.
Remember that Infocom game, Bureaucracy? The one by Douglas Adams (sort of)? Yeah. Welcome. (Your blood pressure rises)
A check? Who outside of Insurance Companies and Tax Offices on God’s Green Earth uses checks?
It feels like its been so long that I have seen personal checkbooks and/or anyone doing a personal transaction on a check that it seems to coincide with memories straining my pinkies on the “a” and “;” keys on a mechanical typewriter.
FWIW, the Hennepin County people in the basement of the old Sears Building on Lake Street will take a credit or debit card for auto or drivers license renewals.
We get all sorts of drama when we need to renew the kids passports or ours.
We need the kids birth certificates. Um…as they are adopted we need the equivalent AND proof that we are their parents. I keep my own last name, always have, so then there are issues with that. None of this is made obvious anywhere.
In order to renew their passports I needed all of the above, a lot of $$ and both of us present. Or I will need…haven’t been able to out all those things in the same place at the same time yet.
Last time I bought a gun I needed…um…let me think…money and my drivers liscence.
All that pales though next to what I have to do to get our Beach and Dump stickers for our summers, which we spend on Cape Cod. It is insane. They treat those stickers like precious gold and assume that any property owner requesting just ine is somehow trying to scam the system. They require a level of proof that is inconvenient and bizarre given that jn the same town hall is proof we own the property.
Sean: I had forgotten about Bureacracy, I always enjoyed that game.
As a gvmt (Hennepin County) employee, I’m amused but not surprised.
State employees I have dealt with are generally smart and dedicated believe it or not.
No one is more frustrated by the idiocy than those of us who have to represent it.
However, government policy is eclipsed only by religious doctrine in its inability to change.
By the way, welcome back to MN. Your return will have increased the state’s IQ. Perhaps there is hope…
Chris – I had a similar situation going from NH to Texas in 1991. I was OK for most of it, except it was a pain in the butt to try to buy liquor. After the first attempt without the nice photo ID of the license, I had my husband (who was a native Texan and the reason I was bothering to change residency to that state in the first place) buy the liquor until the new ID arrived.
Oh, and for 6, I’d be somewhat screwed. I don’t have a passport (but I *do* have a SS card), and my birth certificate helpfully gives my place of birth as outside the US. Somewhere there’s a “certificate of citizenship” document, which actually has a photo on it. It might be more helpful if the photo had been taken sometime *after* I started high school. (We decided to jump through those particular hoops well before my 18th birthday. I got to go to a federal building and swear an oath and everything!)
I was surprised that the CA DMV has actually started to allow some transactions online…even a credit card/debit card transactions (which take 72 hours to process). It seems that the same lack of mental faculties is a common thread throughout govt offices regardless of the state.
Slowy the state beaurocracies are leaping into the 21st century…sadly the transition probably wont be complete until the 22nd! I whole heartedly believe that any DMV moto should be “Patience is a virtue and ignorance is bliss!” So life must be grand if you are dumb and like to wait around!
Thanks for writing this… it was easier to find this blog than to find the information on the DMV site!