Here's a great big P.S. for last Sunday's column.
In case you suffered a horrible lapse in judgment and didn't read it, I wrote about the new "Real ID," also known as the "compliant" driver's license or "compliant" state ID card, which will be mandatory beginning in October 2020 if you use it to fly commercially or enter a federal building.
Readers whose licenses have expired since the new ones were released on July 2 have been ranting about how many forms of identification you need and which ones.
I laid out the basic requirements (which I am repeating below), but I didn't go into nearly enough detail on an important one: If you changed your name when you got married, or for any other reason, you need to show a direct link between your old name and your current name.
If your current legal name is the same as the one on your birth certificate, passport or any document issued by the Department of Homeland Security, you're fine. But if it's not, you must present one of these in addition to all the other stuff:
• An original or certified copy of your marriage certificate or marriage license.
• A certified copy of a divorce decree, dissolution or annulment.
• A certified copy of a court-ordered name change.
Says the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, "If you have had more than one marriage, you may need to bring documentation from each marriage and/or divorce to connect [the names]."
And don't make the mistake of taking the term "marriage certificate" lightly. Akron resident Mary Gulledge learned that the hard way.
"What I have been using as a marriage license all these years is what they call a 'keepsake copy' of the marriage license," she wrote. "Mind you, it is the one the minister gave us [45 years ago] ... that says in the lower left-hand corner, 'MARRIAGE LICENSE.'
"But it was not the 'correct' one! Not only do you need a certified copy of your birth certificate, which I did have, but you also need what they call an 'Abstract of Marriage,' a nifty little certificate that can be obtained from the courthouse for $2. I did not have that, so instead of going through all that I settled for the standard license."
Which means that if she wants the compliant license when the requirement kicks in, she'll need to shell out more money in two years, rather than the four years she would have enjoyed by buying it now.
Here's something else you should know: The TSA says that if you have a current passport or current passport card, you will be able to use that to fly domestically or get into any federal building. So if you don't mind carrying around one of those, you could skip the compliant ID and just renew your driver's license the old-fashioned way — by turning in your old license and passing an eye test.
(If you already have a passport, you can pick up the much-smaller passport card for $30.)
To clarify another point: If your license doesn't expire before October 2020, you don't need a new one until then. The one in your wallet will continue to work just as it does now.
Here's an odd wrinkle. Elaine Wulff of Stow said the first compliant license she got in July did not include the magnetic stripe on the back. She was mailed a second license later.
The BMV admits things went awry during the launch.
"There was a mag stripe issue that occurred within the first few days of issuance [July 2-4]," says spokeswoman Lindsey Bohrer. "Cards were re-sent to the affected individuals."
Even after Wulff got her second one, she ran into problems — through no fault of her own or the BMV.
A hospital employee who isn't familiar with the new cards told her, "That's not a true driver's license," and refused to provide services.
Clearly, this transition is going to be a little bumpy.
To enable you to have all this info in one place, I'm repeating the list of basic stuff that you need to get a compliant license. Most of us have relatively easy access to enough of these, but this is not a comprehensive list. For that, go to https://tinyurl.com/y87oozg2.
You need FOUR different items.
ONE of these:
• Current U.S. passport.
• Certified or original birth certificate with a seal.
ONE of these:
• Social Security card (if married, the one showing your married name).
• W-2 tax form.
• 1099 income statement showing your Social Security number.
TWO of these, both showing your home address (for the first three, they can't be more than 60 days old):
• Utility bill.
• Checking, savings or online bank statement.
• Credit card statement.
• Certified copy of school record or transcript.
• House, life or auto insurance policy or card.
• Child-support check stub.
• Installment loan contract.
• Vehicle registration.
The way to get your license remains the same — by going to a deputy registrar. The cost is the same for both types — $25.75.
On the flip side, I heard from three readers who couldn't understand what all the fuss is about. "Piece of cake!" said one. Here's hoping things go that smoothly for you.
Happy licensing. Go Browns.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31.