DMV changes licensing procedure

Published 10:13 am Tuesday, July 28, 2009

AHOSKIE — Those seeking a first-time driver’s license or the renewal of an old one will note a change in that process beginning this week.

The Ahoskie office of the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles will join others across the state in changing from “over-the-counter” to “central issuance” of driver licenses and ID cards.

Under central issuance, customers renewing their licenses or applying for new licenses will continue to visit local offices, such as the one in Ahoskie, to take required tests and have their photos made. However, from that point, rather than receiving their driver licenses over the counter, customers will receive a temporary driving permit valid for 20 days while their personal information is verified and their license or card is processed at the Raleigh DMV office and mailed.

Drivers will be able to keep their current driver license to use for photo identification until they receive their new license.

“The new issuance process will protect against identity theft and address fraud, helping to keep license production secure,” said DMV Commissioner Mike Robertson. “It also means that North Carolina will become one of the top states in the nation for producing secure and trusted driving and identification credentials.”

DMV expects most licenses to be delivered by mail within seven to 10 days and encourages drivers to renew their licenses early to ensure receiving their new licenses prior to the expiration date. Drivers can renew licenses up to six months before their birthday renewal dates.

Applying for or renewing licenses early is important to maintain identification for such activities as boarding plane flights and completing financial transactions. In North Carolina, a valid state-issued driver license is also required to register most vehicles.

Meanwhile, North Carolina State Highway Patrol First Sgt. Todd Lane of the Troop A, District II office in Ahoskie stressed the fact that those waiting for their new or renewed license need to carry some sort of photo ID on their person.

“It’s not required…we’re just asking for that as a convenience,” Lane said. “Having photo identification ensures they are who they say they are; that fact is vital when it comes to properly identifying someone who is involved in a motor vehicle accident. This helps to expedite any business or involvement a motorist will have with a law enforcement official.”

As a reminder to those waiting for a photo driver’s license to arrive from Raleigh, the temporary permit cannot be used as an identification document (i.e., for boarding planes, financial transactions, etc.). This is another point of emphasis where a person’s current driver license can be used for photo identification.

Temporary permits will also be issued to those making an address change on their current driver’s license.

Citizens may visit or call (919) 861-3555 with questions about the program.