License Renewal

My California driver’s license is up for renewal. In the past, I was able to go to the DMV website and renew online. But it seems that California drivers who are 70 or older must physically go to the DMV and take the written test and an eye test.

Seriously, I’ve been driving for 60 years and I fucking know the rules of the road. But that apparently counts for nothing. My appointment at the local DMV office is set for this coming Tuesday. So now I have to spend the next five days reading the driver’s handbook and memorizing a bunch of numbers and useless facts in order to demonstrate that my septuagenarian mind is still sound enough to permit me to drive a car and that my aged eyes can still read road signs and see other vehicles on the road.

While I’m there, I’m upgrading my driver’s license to serve as a REAL ID. A REAL ID is a driver’s license that is also a federally accepted form of identification. It can be used to board a domestic flight within the U.S. and enter secure federal facilities, such as military bases, federal courthouses, and other secure federal locations. Without a REAL ID, a regular state driver’s licence will not be sufficient to board domestic U.S. flights as of May 7, 2025.

To get a Real ID, you need to present documents to the DMV proving that you actually are who you say you are. You need to validate your name, Social Security number, and show proof that you reside in California. That generally means bringing a birth certificate or passport, a Social Security card or tax forms such as a W-2, and two proofs of address.

The problems start with middle names. My birth certificate has my middle name, but some of my “proof” documents have my middle initial (versus full middle name), and some have just my first and last names. It’s even worse for a married woman who has changed her last name to her husband’s last name. Then a marriage certificate is required.

You can apply for a REAL ID online, but you have to attach images of these proof documents and it took us multiple attempts and more than a week to finally get a verification that the docs submitted were acceptable. And once verified online, you still have to bring originals of these proof documents with you when you go to the DMV.

So, between now and Tuesday I have to make sure I study, memorize, and ready myself for the written driver’s license test, polish up my eyeballs so that I can pass the vision test, and remember to gather up all of the necessary proof documentation to bring with me to the DMV.

Does life get any better than this?

39 thoughts on “License Renewal

  1. Taswegian1957 April 6, 2023 / 3:44 am

    Thanks for the explanation of “real ID’s” . That has always puzzled me. I am sure that you will do fine with your testing. I’m sure it is a nuisance but I guess they have to test older people more often. A lot do lose some of their skills over time and may not realise it if it is gradual.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango April 6, 2023 / 12:47 pm

      You mean the state of confusion? I think I’m already there.


  2. photobyjohnbo April 6, 2023 / 5:33 am

    Someone else I know had some of the same issues as you when she applied for a passport a few years ago. Once she had the passport, she didn’t need anything else to verify her license for real ID in her state, admittedly not California.
    Good luck on your tests!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango April 6, 2023 / 12:48 pm

      Sadly, I let my passport expire last year.


  3. Paula Light April 6, 2023 / 5:55 am

    It’s insane. I didn’t have my marriage certificate only my divorce certificate and I almost couldn’t get a REAL ID at all. I went back 3x with all kinds of documents, none of which sufficed, yet they give fucking illegal aliens drivers licenses. Finally, a supervisor signed off on it and I got one. It was the most fucking ridiculous thing ever!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ganga1996 April 6, 2023 / 6:40 am

    Ok now I learnt what a real id is!!! All the best. This is lot of work for a person my age let alone yours!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Roy April 6, 2023 / 6:53 am

    Since it’s been awhile, you need to know the test questions have been modified for the newer generation of drivers.

    Question 7 is now: What is the proper way to parallel park? and the answer is: none of the above–it is wrong to try to parallel park.

    Question 22: What is the gear right after “second gear”? and the correct response is: Gears? We don got no gears. We don gottu show you no stinkin’ gears.

    Question 37: Is driving a “right,” or a “privilege?” Answer: I will sue your ass off.

    As always, nobody has the slightest idea of the answer for question 47: What is the weight limit for a vehicle over 4 axles carrying nuclear waste up a grade in excess of 6%? Just eat that one and go on. Don’t even guess.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango April 6, 2023 / 12:56 pm

      Isn’t the answer to question 47 the number 42? Isn’t that the answer for everything?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. puppy1952 April 6, 2023 / 7:14 am

    It makes me feel a tad better that some things elsewhere are worse than in Africa! We have to have both driver’s licenses and Identity cards. For almost everything we need ‘proof of address’. We renew our driver’s licenses every five years but only need to have an eye test for this regardless of our age. Good luck with yours!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. sandyjwhite April 6, 2023 / 8:01 am

    And meanwhile, as they examine us old folks upside down and backwards, the distracted teens and 20 somethings texting away continue to kill us all (lol!).

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Carol anne April 6, 2023 / 8:56 am

    Life sure doesnt get any better than that! I know all about documentation and proof of who you are etc! I have a rent review, and a review of one of my state benefits, and I need documentatation too to prove that I am who I say I am.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Michelle April 6, 2023 / 9:22 am

    Driver’s Licenses aren’t real id in the US? Okay.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Geoff Stamper April 6, 2023 / 10:30 am

    I have gone by my middle name my whole life but now have my birth certificate name on my license after going through the exact same ritual you are doing. I was worried about the eye test but that was no problem. As for a written test, I flunked one when I was 50 and moving back to my home state. They had added so many alcohol questions. I knew you can’t drive drunk but had no idea how many beers equal a glass of wine etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango April 6, 2023 / 3:19 pm

      I would have no idea either.


  11. rugby843 April 6, 2023 / 10:38 am

    It’s important, especially here where there’s older drivers that can barely see over the steering wheel or able to even get out of the car. I saw an old woman that took about five minutes literally getting out of her car. Do you think that you should be driving? I don’t.

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango April 6, 2023 / 4:16 pm

      You’ve got a point.


  12. JT Twissel April 6, 2023 / 1:45 pm

    We just renewed our driver’s licenses a few months ago and we’re both over seventy. The test was really stupid. It’s more of a logic test.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango April 6, 2023 / 5:49 pm

      I hope you’re right. I’m very logical.


  13. Lolsy's Library April 7, 2023 / 3:25 am

    Do you know what’s wrong with the current drivers license? That’s a bit weird that it’s not a good enough ID? Good luck as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango April 7, 2023 / 6:50 am

      Nothing’s wrong with the current licenses, but as of May 7, 2025, you’ll need with a passport or a REAL ID to board a domestic flight in the U.S. A traditional license won’t be accepted as a valid ID for that purpose. I guess too many states are lax when it comes to issuing driver’s licenses without thorough proof of identity.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. leigha66 April 17, 2023 / 8:36 pm

    Getting the Real ID is kind of a pain, but I hope once you have one you don’t have to go through that again.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.