Being proactive now could save you a long DMV wait later

Being proactive now could save you a long DMV wait later
(Source: SCDMV)
(Source: SCDMV)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - If you're not a fan of waiting in line at the DMV, pay attention, because the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles and its executive director, Kevin Shwedo, have some timesaving advice.

"Every time you come in and have to go home and come in again, it doubles my wait time, and it doubles your time, and neither you nor I want that to happen," Shwedo said.

Because of a federal requirement, the DMV's getting ready to launch newer, safer drivers licenses called REAL IDs.

Starting October 2020, current South Carolina licenses won't be enough to enter a federal building, visit a military base, or even board an airplane for a domestic flight. You'll need a REAL ID.

"We're going to have a little less than three years to get everybody done," Shwedo said.

Even though SCDMV won't start printing them until early 2018, Shwedo said you can bring DMV your proper paperwork now.

"Bring your documentation in before we start issuing the cards and then beat the lines when they start by just going online and ordering your driver's license," he said.

If too many people wait, lines could get messy if people rush in all at once.

"We know that, in other states to where they've made that rush, the lines have averaged six to seven hours. We don't want that to happen," the director said.

With that in mind, Tom Parker plans to get a head start sooner, not later.

"If you're already here for one reason, whether it's your tags or whether it's your driver's license, you might as well kill two birds with one stone and get everything knocked out," Parker, a claims adjustor who does a lot of traveling, said.

So far, about 23,000 drivers have sent in their paperwork to become "REAL ID ready." That sounds like a lot until you realize there are 3.8 million licensed drivers in South Carolina.

What documents will you need to get pre-approved for a REAL ID?

  • Two Proofs of Current SC Address
    • Examples: No more than three-month-old pay stub with your name and address and a no more than three-month-old water bill with your name and address These two proofs cannot come from the same category, such as a water bill from April and a water bill from March.
  • Proof of US Citizenship, Identity, Date of Birth
    • Examples: Original or government-issued copy of your birth certificate or valid US Passport/US Passport Card
  • Proof of Social Security Number
    • Examples: Social Security card or W-2 Form with your name, your employer’s name, and your social security number on it.
  • Document(s) Supporting Legal Name Change
    • Examples: Marriage License, Divorce Decree, or Court Order issued by your county’s family court You must show a complete name change history, so bring all documents that prove name changes from birth to present. If you have a US Passport/Passport Card with your legal name, you may use this in place of your name change documents. 

For those who've applied for licenses since November 2010, those documents might already be in the system, and you can call the DMV at 803-896-5000 to find out.

Of course, if you have a United States Passport, a military I.D., or several other federally-recognized IDs you might not want or need a REAL ID at all – and the same goes for someone who won't be flying again and won't be visiting any federal buildings or military bases.

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