In this post I’ll tell you about the DMV, my experience there and how to get an Nebraskan state ID. The reason I wanted to get an Nebraskan State ID is so I wouldn’t have to carry around my passport whenever I wanted to buy a beer or go to a bar. I’d rather loose my $7.50 state ID than breaking or loosing my passport.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is according to Wikipedia a “state-level government agency that administers vehicle registration and driver licensing.” Since the US doesn’t have a national identification card, and driver’s licenses are the de facto (as wikipedia puts it) identification card for many purposes, the DMV also are responsible for giving out State ID’s.
The DMV is infamous in the US for having long waiting times, so I came prepared by bringing my laptop so that I could do homework while waiting (in reality, I just watched a movie). The cliche at a DMV is that you’ve stood in line for hours just to get to know that you are in the wrong line (or that they are closing).
When arriving at the DMV, you have to make sure you take the right line. If you wan’t to get an state ID, you’ll have to take the same line as you would take if you would get a drivers license. Make sure you have everything with you before that though.
As a foreign exchange student you need:
- Your passport/other ID
- Your DS-20
- Two proofs of address (stuff that has been mailed to you, e.g. bills, packages, letter etc.)
- Your I-94 (which you can get here)
More info about the requirements here
The rest is quite simple; you just hand over the papers, get a photo taken of you and sign your name on an electronic pad. That’s what I had to do at least. The ID cost me $7.50 (you can also check other prices for documents in Nebraska here)
NOTE: They only accept cash, you can’t pay with your credit/debit card
The process of getting the state ID wasn’t hard at all. However it takes a long time. As I didn’t have a car it took even longer, since I had to wait for a bus that only went once per hour. You can see the picture for how long the DMV estimated my waiting time to be. The wait becomes even longer if you notice that you didn’t bring one of the document and you have to find a free wifi spot, download the document, find some random store in the neighborhood that can print that document for you and then finally go to stand in line again (not that this would have happened to me).
So in short: be prepared with all documents and to wait in line for a long time.
My temporary State ID was just a printed piece of paper. The real one is posted to me in a couple of days.
- Don’t plan anything important for the next 3 hours
- Make sure you have all documents
- Bring something to do while you are waiting (e.g. class literature)
- Bring cash (you can’t pay with your credit/debit card)
- Avoid peak busy times at the Driver Licensing offices, which are:
1) after 3:00 p.m. each work day,
2) when schools are not in session
3) the day before and after a holiday.