A little history: I applied for an Idaho State driver's license on 12-06-2004. I don't have a Social Security number, and Idaho requires a letter from the Social Security Administration confirming this fact before issuing a license. After many hours of the comedy of errors that is the SSA, I left the building with said letter.
Upon actual application, I presented my valid out-of-state license and the SSA letter confirming my lack of a Social Security number to the nice lady staffing the office. The letter, being hand-written by a Social Security employee, was my only expected point of failure in the whole process. The examiner didn't even blink at it, but accepted it at face value.
This is where the story starts to get interesting, because only after the one non-certified document was accepted did things start to go horribly, horribly wrong. Slowly, at first, and then with stunning rapidity.
The license I was surrendering was a brand new 2004 model. The examiner's book of out-of-state licenses was last updated in 2002, and my previous home state changed their license format in 2004.
After much rummaging, the pady put a call in to the central office in Boise. After several minutes talking (quite clearly) in hushed tones, she described the license and they agreed that it seemed to be authentic.
Apparently accepted, I was handed the written examination (the easiest I've ever taken), and left shortly thereafter with my new soon-to-be-national-ID card.
Three days after getting my new license, I left Idaho to visit my fiancee through New Year. A couple days later I get a call saying that mail has arrived for me from my insurance company and from the DMV. Having titled my truck the same day I got my license, I figured they were sending me the title. Pretty snappy service, huh?
So I ask for the DMV envelope to be opened, and lo-and-behold it's a notice saying I have one month to appear with proof of legal presence or have my license cancelled. Apparently the visa (??) I used didn't give me the right to apply for a license. Visa? Where the hell did they get the idea I was an alien?
Oh, wait, I don't have a Social Security number, that means I must not be a US citizen. Makes perfect sense, I get that all the time.
So, I ask my father to take my certified US birth certificate and my US passport down to the licensing office to get the question of my citizenship straightened out. Should be pretty simple, as unless you're a spook it's fairly difficult to get a US passport. Should be good enough for a lowly DMV clerk in Idaho, right?
<ranting starts somewhere around this area>
My birth certificate is one of those old ones that's hand written. Actually, it's a photocopy of a handwritten birth certificate. However, it's also embossed (physically imprinted) with the State Seal of the state I was born in. Good enough for the State Department, should be good enough for Idaho State, right?
While he's at the DMV, the clerk tells my father that, because of the 9/11 attacks, and the fact that my previous state DMV didn't absolutely require a birth certificate to obtain a license, they have to verify that I'm a US citizen.
That's all fine and well, but my valid US passport isn't good enough. It has to be a certified US birth certificate. That's there too! Apparently my birth certificate was no good either because, even though it was certified with the State Seal, it was hand-written. What else can you expect with someone who was born at home in the era before computerization?!
That's alright, you can get a new birth certificate from your state of birth! How long will it take? 4-14 weeks! How much will it cost? An arm and a leg! What proof is required? 2 utility bills (or US passport, or valid driver's license)!
What? 2 utility bills is all that stands in my way of absolute "proof" of my identity? Do you know how easy it is to get a utility in a false name? And they still won't accept a US passport, one of the most secure documents available to your average US citizen! Welcome to the USA, land of bureaucratic ignorance!
So let's break this down: I have a valid license from Idaho, because they haven't cancelled it yet (there's an extension till this is resolved). They want a birth certificate to prove I'm a US citizen. I can get a birth certificate with a copy of the Idaho license, the one that's not "really" valid until I show a copy of a birth certificate, which I can get with ... ad nauseam.
Do you see a problem with the logic here? This logic was even pointed out to the lady at the DMV. May I recommend NEVER attempting logic with a government official regarding regulations. There is no logic in regulations, and they tend to be very offended when you point things like this out.
Fortunately, my father can request a copy of my birth certificate, and so I don't have to leave the state I'm in to deal with this (yet). We'll see how they handle being told the absolute earliest (according to the state of my birth) I can get a "new" birth certificate to them is another month. Wouldn't surprise me if the cancel my license, sticking me in another state with my vehicle and without a valid license.
Crack monkies, I tell you!