July 19, 2010

The DMV

Obtaining a driver's license in the state of Florida is a very easy and straightforward process if you already have a valid license in another state.

1. Make an appointment online with your local DMW, which will probably turn out not to be quite so local.

Helpful tip: Schedule your appointment BEFORE you move, as the wait time rivals the time it takes to get in to see a specialist at a research hospital (ie. up to three months).

2. On the day of your appointment, drive to a shady strip mall in a questionable part of town. You'll find the DMV wedged between an army surplus store and a crisis pregnancy center.

3. Bring all required materials with you including your marriage certificate, social security card, rental contract, passport, most recent tax return, and two utility bills dated within the past 30 days. Just to be safe, also bring a urine sample.

4. Arrive 30 minutes prior to your appointment, but expect to wait 45 minutes after your scheduled time before being seen by a helpful and happy to be alive DMV worker. If possible, bring your kids with you to the appointment. It makes an already pleasant experience even more joyful.

5. Greet sullen and clinical depressed DMV worker with a smile, despite the fact that one of your children has just found an almost empty bottle of soda underneath his chair and decided to finish it off.

6. Hand over your documents and wait for the DMV worker to hand them back to you and say "There is a problem."

7. Be perfectly calm as the DMV worker (who is twitching with glee) explains that you have failed to bring in enough utility bills with your name on it. You need two; you have brought in four, but only one is in your name. The other three are in your husband's.

8. Nod your head politely and say "That seems logical" when the DMV worker tells you that she cannot accept a signed rental contract, a recent bank statement, any other piece of mail, or a blank check from a joint checking account as proof of residence. The only thing that she can accept is a handwritten note from your husband verifying that you live together in the same house.

9. Ask the DMW worker the following questions about the note:
"Does the note need to be notarized?"
"Does my husband need to be present when I bring the note back?"

Don't act surprised (it will be hard) when the DMV worker tells you that the answer to both of these questions is "no."

10. Exit the building with children and drive to husband's work. Demand that he produce note on the spot. Once back in the DMV parking lot, the absurdity of all of this will begin to enrage you (if it hasn't already). Filter frustration into the production of an alternative note written on professional stationary. Sign it "Mickey Mouse."

11. Hand DMV worker both notes, with yours on top.

12. Snicker to yourself as DMV worker hands papers back to you without looking closely at either.

13. Pay fees and wait for license to be printed.

47 comments

AmandaStretch said...

Mwahaha! When I had to register my Utah purchased car in VA, they had to have my dad's signature, since his name was on the original title. Well, my dad lives in Utah, so rather than wait for him to fax me a note, I just left, signed it myself (I've been able to forge his signature since 6th grade), and returned later. Worked for me, and it worked for them.

Maureen said...

you make me laugh and I needed to laugh this morning..whenever I'm told I need my husbands signature, I go out to my car and forge signature, in fact I told my husband if he ever really signs anything they will think its forged because it doesn't look like my forged signature..sorry did you get all that..is it a requirement to put DMVs in worst part of town..Im thinking it is..

The Mommy said...

Yep. I would have written the note myself...in front of the DMV worker. Or maybe just said, "I KNEW you were going to ask for that!" and produce a random piece of paper from your purse (you're a mom, you surely have something written in crayon in there).

Incidentally, my word verification is "fries". That just made ME chuckle. Again.

Sara said...

you have to be joking. Unbelievable! I can't believe a handwritten note is better than all the other docs. Hilarious!

Gina said...

HAHAHA!

We came from AZ, where the DMV is actually organized and HUGE, so there is practically no wait for anything. Imagine our surprise when we realized the extent of our DMV adventures here in FL.

You need to go to a whole separate DMV to register your car. How awesome is that?

Jen said...

In Indiana they publish current DMV branch wait times on the internet so you can time your visit and minimize your wait. Unfortunately the listed wait time does not include the minimum 30- minute wait in line to tell them you are there and why. Gotta love government efficiency.

JeLe said...

It's the same in TX, if not worse, as we needed all you mentioned, PLUS a certified copy of a Birth Certificate (unlamented) AND proof of TX registration (apparently, if you are not born in TX, you must own a vehicle o get DL). My BC was not certified and my husbands was laminated, apparently both were fads our parents indulged in 30 years ago. Out of state DL are looked at as garbage. Their way or the highway, except I couldn't get a license so even the highway was out because I'm scared of the TX rangers too!

Karen Mortensen said...

My goodness. What a mess. That sounded like something they would do here in CA.

Niki said...

What a racket.

Melanie Beth said...

ok this is hilarious! thank you for the laugh!

Scratch the hostile fay said...

At least you *get* your licence (eventually) before you leave........ here in NC they mail the damn things to you.... and you thought it was easy for thieves to steal your *credit card number*....

Scratch

paula/adhocmom said...

This is why I live in NYC where I don't own a car. Seriously, I can't take it. THE DMV. It's too much.

The Pisarzewicz Family said...

Ok, I'm glad to know that NY (my new state) isn't the only one with insane requirements to get a driver license. I was told the same BS regarding "The only thing that she can accept is a handwritten note from your husband verifying that you live together in the same house." What century is this? Oops! Better go! I need to make sure I don my burka before heading out to run errands.

Olivia Singleton said...

I totally would have just gone out to the parking lot, wrote the note with a crayon, and came back inside. Forget the formality of driving to your husband's work.

I will be relocating to Florida within the next month. I can't wait to go through this process myself. Thanks for the tips!

Audra said...

Me and my husband still have Florida driver's licenses that we got in 2007. We have since lived in 5 states. Getting the FL license was pretty straight forward for us but I was crushed when they told me I had to surrender my previous license and that they would shred it. In order for me to obtain a license in my current state I need to retake the driver's test. Hence the procrastination.

asj said...

hilarious... especially the "thats what she said" office stationary, gotta love the Florida DMV...

Teen Queen said...

once my mom took me to the DMV. we were there for hours! luckily some lady switched her ticket thingy with our because she wanted to get some lunch. we would have been there all day!

AlsoMean said...

The Dunder Miflin paper really locks up the ridiculousness of the whole thing.

My new license features a black and white-no-smile-permitted mug shot, did you get that one too?

Anonymous said...

It sounds like the DMV in Utah! I had to bring in my marriage license even though everything has been in my married name for the last 12 years, and my marriage certificate was NOT good enough. Not only that, but 3 supervisors were overruled by a counter worker on whether or not a Temple Marriage is legal even though you have to have a marriage license to get it done. SO crazy. As soon as they realized that I was going to be told "no marriage license, no drivers license" they sent the security guard to the window I was at in case there were problems. I am only 5'1"... not like I was going to tackle someone Geez... LOL

Pirate said...

My mom's answer to these problems was to go out to the car, and let my brother sign whatever it was. She taught him how to forge my dad's signature at a young age, and since they have the same name she reasoned that it wasn't "really" fraud.

Donna said...

Love that the DMV is evil in every state!

Kimberly said...

Ha Ha! This is one of your best. Thank you!

Rocket Ma'am said...

Yup. That about sums it up.
I have to do a lot of things while my husband is at sea, and I've become adept at doing things over the phone as "Misha-elle" (spelled Michael). I sign things for him all the time, too. I'm not even doing anything illegal seeing as we have all-encompassing powers of attorney drawn up every year!

Crista said...

Hilarious! I love the suggestions of crayon-written notes!

Heather said...

I was really lucky when I was switching my license from NY over to Mass. I didn't bring in the proper paperwork but I got the equivalent of a unicorn. The DMV worker that was actually nice and helpful and let me slide. But I did have to wait way too long to get to that guy!

FabuLeslie said...

I think it's handy to have the Army Surplus store so close to the crisis pregnancy center... While you're waiting for your crisis pregnancy counselor, you can go shop for army gear which must be cheaper than maternity-wear, no?

Carrie Stuart said...

Glad I'm not the only one who knows her husband's signature better than he does (after reading the comments).

That part about the soda bottle...please tell me you made that up. I literally gagged. Nevermind, I don't want to know. I'm pretending you made it up. (Covering ears, closing eyes...*lalalalala*)

cehendricks said...

I was never even to obtain a FL drivers license. We moved out of state before that happened. I not only went through the same oredeal, I had to go back 4 different times leaving empty handed each time. Apparently if you have been divorced you have to provide the marriage license. The divorce papers didn't work, the print off from the cuonty clerk verifying said marriage and divorce occured was not enough. She wanted me to magically produce a piece of paper that was shredded the day my divorce went through.

Anonymous said...

I'm from he US, but my husband and I got married in Niagara Falls, Canada. I had no problem using my Canadian marriage certificate to change my name on my Social Security card.. But of course the DMV tried to tell me they didn't know if a Canadian marriage Certificate would be good enough to change my name on my Drivers license. I was like.. ok.. but its the only one I have!

-Debra

Darcey said...

HILARIOUS! It's funny because it's true. I had to get my driver's license in Florida about a year ago, and every detail of your post is true, down to the DMV being in a strip mall next to a crisis pregnancy center.

Jen said...

Kansas is exactly the same. They wouldn't take my birth certificate as it has my maiden name - absolutely had to have my marriage license. Yet the lady next to me didn't have all of her papers, spoke only Chinese and had her husband interpret. Guess who left with a driver's license - not me.

Just thinking - the bottle of soda. Are you sure it wasn't a "trucker bomb" by someone who had to wait in line all day?

Laurie said...

Again, I must beg you to become published! And you have to include the comments in your book! My last trip to the DMV included getting caught cheating off my husband (I HATE those tests!) Talk about humiliation!

Unplanned Cooking said...

So funny! Remind me not to have kids in tow :).

Nancy Jacobs Basketmaster said...

Just returned from the MVD this afternoon after 3 hours and 5 minutes. My blog post on it is tomorrow! I sympathize and understand completely. My blood pressure has finally started going down and I think the risk of stroke has passed.
Nancy
http://www.howtohomemaker.com/

AmyLynn said...

I don't know...maybe it's just me. Doesn't anyone else think it's an insult and patriarchical (is that a word) that she needed a NOTE from her HUSBAND?

You're a better person than me. I'd keep my original state's license for as along as I could before putting up with crap like that.

agent99 said...

Hilarious. Glad you accomplished that mission with no dead bodies in your wake! While I remember handing over ny NJ Dl in exchange for an IL DL (oh, yeah - long before 9/11!!!), My problem was with the original DL. Apparently it is helpful when the name on your birth certificate actually matches all your other docs. Thanks Mom for NOT proffreading my birth cert 18 years prior!!! I had to send off to CA with 18 notarized documents to get it corrected. At least you are not alone.....and you now know where the crisis pregnancy center is!

Sarah said...

When I got married, the DMV wouldn't change my name without a bank statement with my married name. The bank wouldn't change my name without a valid driver's license which I could not get until the bank would change my name. Finally, after explaining this to 12 DMV workers, I was told they would do it although it was against the law.

Heather said...

Florida is the worse and I can totally feel you! Did you also know that if you were previously married you have to bring in that marriage certificate and divorce certificate...I wasn't married or anything before but this seems retarded!

Miss B. Haven-Hypocrite said...

This is the most accurate portrayal of DMV antics that I have ever read! Love it! Thanks for the laugh :-)

kate said...

ha ha ha! painful, but true. it's the same in pittsburgh. if anyone wants to know what gov't health care would be like, take the dmv and add more blood.

Desarei said...

LOL I live in Florida and I swear, they ask for everything, including the deed to your firstborn child. When I went to get my License switched to a Florida license, they wanted me to bring in a copy of my marriage certificate to my first husband....as if the divorce papers weren't good enough. I was floored. I looked at the lady and said, so let me get this straight. You want a copy of a marriage certificate to a man I have been divorced from, for almost 7 yrs? She smiled and said, Yes, that's right.

Laura said...

Thanks for the best laugh I've had in awhile...because it's painfully funny, and I totally relate.

Melinda said...

ROFL! Sadly this is all true. I started thinking we must be in the same town when I saw this "You'll find the DMV wedged between an army surplus store and a crisis pregnancy center." ..Tampa?..oh no Orlando..same thing. :)

Janis said...

I love your writing style. I almost always LOL when reading your posts. This post was no exception. I even have my husband checking out your blog. Thanks for the laughter.

mama rose said...

I didn't have that much fun when I got a FL license. In fact I was able to keep the license from my home state. DH had to surrender his beacuse it was CDL-A with a bunch of bells and whistles.

Alicia said...

Lucky you to only have to bring in a note. I had to bring my husband. In 2010 this stay at home mom still needs her husband to verify she's not some squatter in his home. (I got to take my 4 children 3x to the DMV to get it done). LAME!

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