Getting a driver's license? You'll need more documents

Dan Meisenzahl
Dan Meisenzahl

By Lisa Kubota - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Getting your Hawaii driver's license is about to become more difficult.

"A lot of people aren't going to realize what's going to happen when you get in line at the DMV, and boy, some big changes are happening," said Dan Meisenzahl, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

Starting March 5, "proof of legal presence" -- evidence that you're legally in the United States -- will be needed for driver's licenses and learner's permits in Hawaii.

"You are going to need a certified copy or the original Social Security card, you're going to need your birth certificate or a certified copy of your birth certificate or the original birth certificate," said Meisenzahl. "If you are married, you are going to need a certified copy of your marriage license or the actually marriage license."

The strict requirements stem from the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A push to make driver's license standards the same in every state led to the federal Real ID Act in 2005. In Hawaii, the Legal Presence Act was signed in 2010 by then-Gov. Linda Lingle.

Now, anyone applying for or renewing a driver's license or permit will have to bring in all their documents.

"They are going to have to be scanned and they are going to be put in the system that is very secure now, and they're going to be confirmed," Meisenzahl said.

Your driver's license will then be mailed to you in two weeks.

The requirements add up if you're from a different state, or if you're foreign-born and then become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Officials are urging people to plan ahead and to get their documents ready.

The state is confident that your personal information will be secure in the new system. "We've done everything we can possibly can to make sure all the information is absolutely secure," said Meisenzahl. "This is not going to be hooked up to any kind of national system. It's just going to be right here in the state."

Details about which documents you'll need are available at the state DOT's Web site: About Hawaii's Legal Presence Law

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