Did you notice the Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicles locations were closed last week? My driver’s license recently expired, and thankfully the governor issued a peacetime emergency that extended period of time to renew driver’s licenses that have expired from March 13, 2020 through Jan. 31, 2021.  The deadline for the federal REAL ID has been extended to Oct. 1, 2021.

I feel like I’m a frequent visitor of our local license bureau as I register company vehicles, personal vehicles, boats and trailers. More than a year ago the staff at the DMV shared tips about getting the new Real ID. It was outstanding to know about the requirements needed so I could be prepared for my visit. I gathered the documents required, including my Social Security card, birth certificate, passport and two forms of proof of residency. This could be a driver’s license that expired within the peacetime emergency, or a payroll stub or utility bill with your address. I have to say a great big thank you and kudos to our local DMV who has offered ways to continue to get titles transferred, tabs updated, and most recently allowed online appointments so people can get driver’s licenses or REAL ID. On my appointment I made sure I had one extra copy of each required document just to be sure. It was seamless.  

If you need tabs, a title transferred or other services, check out the states website drive.mn.gov.  Normally for renewing tabs you will need your insurance policy number. Write your check for the exact amount, put it with the renewal form in an envelope and drop it off at the DMV drop box at White Bear City Hall. Make sure you indicate the best way to be contacted with your name, address and phone number. On most days they get through the tab renewals, etc. pretty quickly. I found it to be extremely efficient versus a year ago when I waited in line to get tabs. The drop box makes it very easy.  Visit whitebearlake.org for a link to the License Bureau to get all of the details about the services they are offering.

DMV centers across the state have been rolling out a new computer system that is used by many other states. It should be more efficient and streamline the process in the future. The State of Minnesota under Governor Dayton made an enormous mistake with the taxpayers’ money regarding the license and tab system implemented. It was a slap in the face to the taxpayers and even worse, made life extremely difficult for the staff working at the DMV centers throughout the state. The companies involved and the state are both at fault. So the next time you’re at a DMV location or have interaction with them, please make sure you say thank you. If you catch someone having a bad day, give them a pass and be patient. I have found the DMV centers, whether in White Bear Lake, Wabasha or other elsewhere, to be extremely friendly and helpful.  


Carter Johnson is publisher of Press Publications.

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