Ask any American about visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles, more commonly known as the DMV, and you’re going to get a similar response: AGH! NO! Don’t Make Me Go!
So what’s so bad about the DMV? In reality, the DMV is a great place; it’s where you go to get your driver’s license, register your car, or get a non-driver’s license photo identification card. Unfortunately, it’s also known for having really long lines, which equals really long wait times, which results in really frustrated people.
The great news is that many DMVs have made advancements in recent years that make your trip faster and easier. Below are four tips for surviving your first trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles:
1. Can You Do It Online? Visit your state’s DMV website (listed below) to see if you can fill out your paperwork online or mail-it in, avoiding a visit completely.
2. Make an Appointment online – Check the website before you go and see if you can schedule an appointment, cutting down your wait time significantly.
3. Fill-Out Your Paperwork Before You Go – Print out any forms you need at home and fill them out before you go.
4. Double Check You Have All Your Documents – Nothing is worse than showing up just to be told you forgot an essential document, like your bill of sale. Visit the website to check you have everything you need.
But wait! You may be asking yourself: What is the Department of Motor Vehicles? Why do I even need it?
The DMV is the place in the United States to get a driver’s license, a non-driver’s license photo ID, and to register your vehicle. If you’re financing, leasing, or purchasing a vehicle in the United States, you will be making a trip to your local DMV.
Each state in the United States has their own DMV system, and sometimes the name may vary. It is known as the Motor Vehicle Commission in New Jersey, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. While the names of the DMV may be different from state-to-state, what you can rely on is this: if you will be obtaining a vehicle or driving during your stay in the United States, a visit to the DMV is certainly in your future.
Below is a list of links for each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Remember, research before you visit!
Washington DC: http://dmv.dc.gov/
New Hampshire: http://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/dmv/
New Jersey: http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/
New Mexico: http://www.mvd.newmexico.gov/
New York: http://dmv.ny.gov/
North Carolina: http://www.ncdot.gov/DMV/
North Dakota: http://www.dot.nd.gov/
Rhode Island: http://www.dmv.ri.gov/
South Carolina: http://www.scdmvonline.com/DMVNew/default.aspx
South Dakota: http://dor.sd.gov/Motor_Vehicles/
West Virginia: http://www.transportation.wv.gov/dmv/Pages/default.aspx