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Sunday, March 7, 2021
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New Rules Make it Tougher to Get Driver's License

Although the Motor Vehicle Bureau now complies with federal identification requirements for obtaining and renewing drivers’ licenses, not everyone got the word.

Under the federal Real ID program aimed at deterring terrorism by preventing terrorists from obtaining driver’s licenses as identification, the U.S. now calls for a Social Security card to prove who you are, plus one other form of ID with a physical address. But the latter requirement is often difficult for V.I. residents, many of whom typically get mail from a post office box number.

The MVB addressed the problem, sending out a notice in August 2012 that residents need to show two forms of proof that shows their physical address. They must be the originals. Copies are not accepted.

Here’s the list of acceptable forms of identification that must include a physical address.

  • Utility bill;
  • Telephone bill;
  • Cable TV/satellite TV bill;
  • Auto or life insurance policies;
  • W-2 and/or other filed tax forms;
  • Voter registration card;
  • Credit card statements;
  • Signed contracts for home/land purchases in the territory;
  • Property deeds or rental agreements in the territory;
  • Virgin Islands vehicle registration or vehicle certificate of title;
  • Notarized letter by property owner or lease-holder verifying principal residence of applicant;
  • Applicants whose principal address is on a personally owned boat in the territory must provide proof that the boat is registered in his/her name in the territory;
  • Applicants who reside under temporary living conditions such as shelters or hotels or motels must provide the agency with a notarized letter from the management of the establishment;
  • Members of the U.S. military and their dependents who are on active duty overseas are required to present two documents validating current physical address assignment;
  • Other documents approved by the director or assistant director only.
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It all sounds straightforward, but for many residents complying could be difficult: for example, if someone else pays the utility or telephone bill; the name is spelled differently on one document than another, whether the error is the resident’s or whomever sent the bill; their property is in a trust that doesn’t include their name; they don’t have a lease, and the landlord lives elsewhere, or; most of their identification carries the name they’re commonly known by, but their real name is something else.

However, Motor Vehicle Director Jerris T. Browne said in situations like this they need to get a notarized letter attesting to the situation, which will cost them a few bucks and some effort to visit the notary.

“We made allowances for all situations,” he said.

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