License guidelines changed

Vanessa Marcano

Vanessa Marcano

South Dakota drivers and motorists wishing to get or renew their operator’s licenses will have to double-check their bundle of documents when heading to the appropriate Department of Public Safety office for licensing.

Effective Dec. 31, 2009, document requirements for obtaining a driver’s license or identification card in South Dakota have changed in order to comply with federal regulations.

Cynthia D. Gerber, South Dakota Driver’s Licensing program director, said that many of the new document requirements arose as a result of the 9/11 attacks and out of a need to be in compliance with federal regulations.

“It is presumed that many of the 9/11 terrorists had fraudulent documents and this will ensure a more secure identification process,” she said.

One of the most significant changes is the fact that individuals wanting to renew their license must still bring appropriate identification documents, other than their expired license, said Gerber.

In addition to bringing documents to “prove identity, date of birth and lawful status”-such as U.S birth, citizenship or naturalization certificate; U.S. or foreign unexpired passport with an appropriate U.S. visa, among others, those applying for licenses must also be ready to present proof of their Social Security number.

Gerber said this is another important change, since in the past, just giving the Social Security number was sufficient.

According to the DPS’ Web site, documents that serve as proof of Social Security number include the actual Social Security card, a W-2, SSA 1099 or Non-SSA 1099 Form (used in reporting income or wage information to fiscal authorities), or a pay stub with the applicant’s name and Social Security number.

Applicants must also bring two additional documents to prove his or her current address, such as utility or phone bills, credit card statements, rent receipts or accredited school transcripts, among others. These must have issued within the last 90 days. Other accepted residential documents include bank statements, mortgage or tax documents, as well as homeowner’s or renter’s insurance – all of which must have been issued within the last year.

Minors can bring their parents’ proof of address, and individuals living with another person should have the other person sign a “Consent for Use of South Dakota Address” form, found on the DPS’ Web site, and present the appropriate residential documents in the other person’s name.

When asked about using addresses in dorms or other on-campus facilities, Gerber said that as long as the address included a street or a box number, the document should be valid. Nevertheless, she encouraged people who had any questions to contact the DPS to clear any doubts.

But the changes in South Dakota licensing are not only limited to documentation: since mid-December of 2009, DPS offices have been issuing licenses with a new design and enhanced security features, such as a gold star in the corner of the document – a signal of federal compliance, said Gerber. “The new design is a separate issue, it happened because our contract had expired,” she said, adding that by this month, most licensing offices in the state should be issuing documents with the new design.

“It’s reassuring that it’s harder to steal an identity, even if it’s inconvenient sometimes,” said Emily Hanson, a Health, Physical Education and Recreation graduate student who recently replaced her driver’s license.

License questions?

Visit the DPS’ Web site, e-mail to [email protected] or call the Driver’s Licensing Program at 605-773-6883 or 1-800-952-3696.