As the latest step in adhering to the Federal Real ID Act of 2005, anyone renewing a Georgia license or ID card will have to come into the office and bring at least one form of government-issued identification; a Social Security number, which could be on the card, W2 form or income tax return paperwork; and two proofs of residency, which could be a bank statement, utility bill or school record for minors.
Acceptable identification documents are an original or certified copy of a state-issued birth certificate, a certificate of naturalization or valid U.S. passport.
Additional paperwork will be required from people who have changed their names and from non-U.S. citizens.
“DDS is implementing Secure ID to further improve the security and integrity of Georgia’s drivers license and ID cards, and to be fully compliant with the Federal Real ID Act of 2005, which adopted the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission,” said Susan Sports, a spokeswoman for the DDS.
Current driver’s licenses remain valid, she said. Though in future years, Secure IDs will be required in order to board an airplane or enter a federal government building. The new licenses will feature a gold star on the front, and once a Georgia resident has renewed a license or ID card in person, future renewals can be done online.
For one more week, renewals can be done online, and the only thing a driver needs to present is the current license. But July 3 — the first day Georgia drivers offices will be open after the change takes effect — is sure to be a stressful one.
Sports urged drivers to find out what documents they need before coming to the centers.
“If they don’t have what they need when they come, they will be granted a temporary for 120 days and won’t lose privileges, but they will also get a list of things they need to bring back,” she said. “It’ll take two trips to do what one trip could do.”
The trickiest part for many could be finding a birth certificate.
Roshon McMichael, 33, who was at the north Cobb driver services center on Friday, said that would be the toughest part for him.
“I actually lost it last year and I’ve been trying to get a new one. That’s a big issue,” said McMichael, a Kennesaw resident. He said the new requirements are a necessary inconvenience.
“We always need security, especially in the times when you have people stealing identities,” McMichael said. “At the end of the day, it’s a better situation for us.”
Sports said her agency has links through its website to vital-statistics offices that can provide a birth certificate.
“We’re going to have a help desk or contingency plan for those people who cannot for any reason get a birth certificate,” she said.
Sports said Georgia implemented the first part of the law two years ago, by redesigning the driver’s license to include three photos, two signatures, and a hologram of the state seal.
“That license met the physical card mandates that the federal government included,” she said.
Other drivers at the north Cobb center on Friday morning suspected the requirements will mean longer waits at the service centers.
“It’s a good intention, but overall it’s a bad process,” said Chris Marks, 23, of Marietta. “It sounds good and what they are trying to implement because there is a lot of fraud that goes on … at the same rate, you need to try and make it a little bit more accommodating.”
Brian Pangman, 38, was there to get his license reinstated and was frustrated by the wait.
“It’s a hassle because you have to wait in here all day long,” he said. “Obviously you can’t go to work if you’re getting your license renewed.”
Sports said that the Canton Road office is the busiest of the 64 drivers services centers in the state.
“We are sensitive to our customer’s wait times. We monitor all of the transactions and the time each customer spends in each center,” she said. “Summer is our busiest time of the year, typically due to students having vacation to test and people moving into the state.”
The best days to go to a driver center is during the afternoon on a Wednesday or Thursday, Sports said.
There are two driver service centers in Cobb. Both are open Tuesdays through Fridays, 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Saturdays, 7:30 a.m. to noon.
The Marietta center is at 1605 County Services Parkway in Marietta.
The north Cobb office is in the Piedmont Village Shopping Center, 2800 Canton Road in Marietta.