License renewal requires birth certificate

Posted Sept. 05, 2011, at 10:02 p.m.

BANGOR — Knowing that I was more than a couple of weeks past the due date for my driver’s license renewal (it’s called a birthday), I’d been driving carefully.

I wasn’t trying to get my name in court news, because we would, indeed, publish it should it turn up there. It’s just that I, the genealogist, couldn’t find my original birth certificate, the one with the seal on it.

Yes, you do need a certified, signed, sealed birth certificate, certified photocopy or certified abstract — not a plain photocopy or the one from the hospital — to renew your driver’s license. The seal is that “circle of wrinkles” down in the lefthand corner that you can’t usually read.

A passport will do, as will a certificate of naturalization. Noncitizens may use a permanent resident card or resident alien card.

I could have sent for my birth certificate to Augusta or the town of my birth, but the late date suggested to me it was time to get the show on the road, so to speak. Visiting with my mom on a weekend when my license was a mere 12 days past due, I wrote down what I needed and asked her to stop by the appropriate town office for me.

When I got home, I remembered to call and tell her the rest, which mothers have been hearing for years: “I forgot to give you money, but I’ll send it to you later. And could you mail the birth certificate, right away?”

She did, which left me with part two of the requirements for renewal. Bring proof of Maine residence — an electric bill, water bill, telephone bill, cable TV or satellite TV bill, lease, deed, tax return or paycheck stub, for example.

If your renewal was triggered by your birthday, you may have received a postcard reminder in the mail, but you don’t need to bring that with you. I do suggest bringing your current or most recent driver’s license, whether from Maine or somewhere else.

I took the necessary documents to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles at the Airport Mall in Bangor at 11 a.m. on a weekday. My wait was just a half-hour.

If you have previously provided documentation proving residency in Maine and legal presence in the United States, you may be able to save a trip to the BMV by renewing your driver’s license online.

Secretary of State Charles E. Summers Jr. has announced that the military and veteran driver’s license designation is now available at all BMV locations. The license, which is mailed from Augusta after the renewal is completed, features a Field of Stars backdrop for the ID photo.

To obtain the designation from any BMV branch office, applicants must be serving in the United States Armed Forces; or provide verification of honorable discharge from the United States military (DD Form 214), a certification from U.S. Veterans Affairs or other appropriate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces verifying service and honorable discharge.

For more information on driver’s licenses, visit http://www.maine.gov/bmv/dlr/ or call 624-9000.

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