Seeing long wait times at the DMV? This is why

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - If you've been to the DMV recently, you may have experienced longer wait times than you expected.

Officials admit there is a problem they're working to address, but they need the public's help.

On average, the city processes about 3,000 driver's license renewals a month. But this year, that's expected to triple to an estimated 9,000 people.

The huge influx in customers is creating some major congestion at drivers licensing sites, but there is a way to reduce wait times.

Back in 2010, a new state law extended driver's licenses from being valid for six years to eight years.

Now there's a huge slew of people needing renewals. And here's the catch.

Five years ago, the federal government implemented document requirements for license renewals designed to prove your identity.

But most of the folks heading to the DMV for renewals now are doing so for the first time since that law passed and are unaware of the documents they need. If your license was issued before May 1, 2014, you'll need to bring required documents with you when apply for your renewal.

"People still come today surprised that they have to bring a birth certificate," said Sheri Kajiwara, director of the city's Department of Customer Services. "People just don't know yet, and that's what ties us up because we have to explain at the window a lot more than we should be, and people have to come a second or third time because they weren't prepared."

In fact, DMV officials say the average window transaction time used to be 15 minutes.

Now, it's closer to an hour as employees have to explain what's needed: a certified birth certificate or U.S. passport; an original social security card or medicare ID card or W-2 or 1099 tax form; and two documents proving your residency.

Not sure what documents you need? Click here and and interactive guide will clarify exactly what you should bring based on what you have.
ALSO: Here's why Hawaii driver's licenses will now bear a gold star

They say the wait can be even longer if they're dealing with an upset customer who tries to negotiate or argue. Keep in mind, if you have gotten married or divorced, there are other requirements as well.

To combat the frustration that many feel after waiting in line only to be told they don't have everything they need, the Kapalama site now has a staff member stationed at the door to review documents and let you know right away if you're missing something.

Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.