Finally secured the renewal for my MA drivers license and (unwanted) upgrade to Real ID.
On the second appointment, following the debacle of the first, I returned with the requested original birth certificate. Seventy-three years old and survived a fire but in good shape. As you might remember on the first visit my valid, unexpired US Passport was rejected because the Registry computer couldn’t ‘read’ the enclosed chip.
In-between the 1st and 2nd visits I went by the Passport Office. They attested that my passport was fine, that the problem is with the State of Massachusetts computer systems.
So when they called me up I handed in my birth certificate. The clerk looked at it and shook his head. “We don’t take this format”, he said, “The embossed seal and the birth certificate are two separate pieces of paper attached to each other, we don’t like that” He continued, “We want the long form with the seal on the same document.”
A short discussion ensued regarding the fact that 73 years ago that was how they issued the BC’s. But it was useless, you can’t argue with the dictates of The Authority.
“Just get a new Birth Certificate issued and bring that back, we have everything else scanned so it will be simple”. But I still had to get a new appointment, two weeks more, and my expired licenses extension was running out.
So next Monday I drove into Boston, to the Dept of Vital Records. I hate driving into Boston and Boston Traffic hates me back. A left lane accident was arranged so that the trip was a long, slow crawl taking up most of the morning. But I finally arrived at my destination and went inside, filled out a request form and waited. No chairs or benches BTW. Have I mentioned my spinal stenosis?
Finally a clerk took my form, read it and asked me if I had a drivers license for identification. So I gave him my (now expired) drivers license, he glanced at it for a second, then said “Fine, wait there”. And five minutes later I had a brand new copy of my birth certificate. I left and succeeded in getting out of Boston, more or less, trouble free.
A couple of weeks later I arrived at my third appointment. I gave the clerk the new copy of my BC. He then asked me for the rest of the documentation. I remarked to him that I was told last time that all I needed to bring this time was the BC, that they had scanned in everything else. “No, I have to see it all”, he replied to that.
Well that’s where I fooled them, I had stuck the new BC into the manila envelope with all of the other documents, so I had everything with me! Finally I was finished, just pay the $50 (the price for the old renewal pre-‘Real ID’ was $20) and I got a temporary license while the new one was being created and mailed. That arrived two weeks later.
So to sum up. A little over one month of time elapsed. Three round trips plus one round trip to Boston; 7 hours. Three hours waiting to be called up to the window and for the transaction. Over two hundred miles of driving, and roughly $29 in gas. Plus $40 for the AAA membership, $20 for the new birth certificate. And $50 for the ‘Real-ID’ drivers license. Or $139.00 total.
Interaction with the minions of the State. Priceless.
Thank you for that refresher on life in MA, which reinforces my decision to leave. I ground my teeth reading that…
Grinding your teeth while in the presence of the minions is frowned upon as disrespectful. Biting your tongue, discreetly, is OK.
Know what else is OK? Going to the DMV with an appointment made online the day before, being called 5 minutes ahead of your time and completing all your tasks in one, 10 minute visit. Yes, it’s really possible…at least down here.
John, do they have walk-through metal detectors at the RMV? Just wondering.
The RMV in Plymouth had State Police at the front door to check if you had an appointment.
But for this circus I went to AAA so I could avoid the State RMV.
But they hardly need metal detectors at any State buildings, they have “Gun-Free Zone” signs. So they’re good. I’m sure.