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wpcoe

Getting & maintaining a "Real ID" USA drivers license

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For long-time/permanent residents of Thailand from the USA, do you maintain a USA drivers license? If so, how?

 

Earlier this month my wallet, with my Hawaii drivers license in it, was stolen. It was issued pre-"Real ID" gold star licenses. They will only mail a duplicate of the old license to their last address on file for me (which is no longer valid.)

 

They only issue "Real ID" licenses now, and said at renewal time next year I would have had my license taken because I would not be able to provide a current local address with two forms of verifying ID (rental contract/property deed, utility bills, etc, all in my name).

 

How have you maintained your USA license, and how will you with this REAL ID cr@p?

 

In case someone jumps on the "Rah, Rah, South Dakota" bandwagon to apply/renew a SD drivers license you now also need two forms of ID, and "If you use a PO Box, one of your address documents can show that address; however, your other address document MUST show your physical/residential address."

 

Edited by wpcoe
formatting & censorship

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Some states interpret the maintenance of a driver's license as indicative of an "intent to return" to reside in the state thereby making the holder liable for state income tax.  It would be one factor among others.

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2 hours ago, wpcoe said:

and how will you with this REAL ID cr@p?

 

A passport, passport card and Global Entry card are all RealID-compliant.

 

You'll need a RealID-compliant ID for domestic air ravel in the U.S.A. as of Oct. 1. 2020.

 

My state offers both a RealID-compliant DL and a non-RealID-compliant DL. I chose the latter, upon renewal, owing to the "easier" document requirements.

 

 

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A Real ID valid for air travel is your passport, thats the gold standard, and you can travel at will within the US

 

Now if you want to maintain a Real ID Drivers license, thats a different issue.

 

In that case you have no option but to establish residency in one of the more lenient States, Florida, South Dakota & Texas are the usual suspects.

 

I'll fess up I am a South Dakotan, but the rules for all those 'lenient' States are similar I believe. 

In SD you need to spend one night every 5 years in the State to qualify as a resident. You take the hotel receipt, your passport to DMV and you're done.

 

But in all cases you will have no option but to travel to whatever State you choose, this isn't something that's done online, you gotta show up in person. 

 

This FAQ may help

 

https://americasmailbox.com/tips_and_tricks/30/Drivers-Licenses

Edited by GinBoy2
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Florida made me show up in person, with two recent within 30 days bills (utility, phone or whatever) with my US address on it.  And I had to schedule an appointment as they were not taking walk ins for that.  And bring in proof of citizenship, and ID.  I highly doubt one can get a Real ID Driver License with an out of USA address.  That is a variation I am not aware of, assuming that is what you are trying to do.  Even if a foreign address was allowed, you would still have to get back to some USA state to apply for the license so it does not sound doable from abroad.

 

California does not seem to allow a foreign address and their site says:  "To prove that you live in California, you must present TWO documents that contain your California mailing address. "

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On a related note, while I am a Florida resident, I do maintain a home there, pay bills there, etc.  I frequently am on the road in another state working as a contractor.  And when it came time for my License renewal, I had to fly back to Florida from California where I was working, and show up in person with my paperwork.  So while not quite the same as being abroad, I list it because in a somewhat similar way I was not in my home state when it was time for my new license.

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I agree with the use of Passport. If you want to drive in the USA after your license has expired, obtain an International driver's license based on your Thai driver's license.

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Texas required 2 pieces of mail with an address on it, proof of an SSN (I used a convenient 1099) and a valid ID.  Unbelievably, they wouldn't accept a one week ago expired passport with a photo, biometrics and my travel history, but they would accept a 62 year old birth certificate with absolutely no way to prove it was actually me.

 

They already had all my info in the system, including SSN from years ago.  But I had to present it all in person because my TXDL was over 2 years expired.


It's definitely not the same USA (or Texas) that I left 20 years ago to work overseas.

 

FYI, I drove on my Thai DL for almost 90 days while I sorted out getting mail, the 1099, and my birth certificate.  Because of Int'l Treaties and the fact that my Thai DL was in English, I didn't need an IDP.   All an IDP does is translate a valid license into English.  Not necessary if it's already in English.  YMMV.

 

Edited by impulse

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On 2/20/2020 at 11:15 PM, GinBoy2 said:

A Real ID valid for air travel is your passport, thats the gold standard, and you can travel at will within the US

 

Now if you want to maintain a Real ID Drivers license, thats a different issue.

 

In that case you have no option but to establish residency in one of the more lenient States, Florida, South Dakota & Texas are the usual suspects.

 

I'll fess up I am a South Dakotan, but the rules for all those 'lenient' States are similar I believe. 

In SD you need to spend one night every 5 years in the State to qualify as a resident. You take the hotel receipt, your passport to DMV and you're done.

 

But in all cases you will have no option but to travel to whatever State you choose, this isn't something that's done online, you gotta show up in person. 

 

This FAQ may help

 

https://americasmailbox.com/tips_and_tricks/30/Drivers-Licenses

You can remove Texas from your list. no longer easy the comply with real ID

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Connecticut all I needed was mail addressed to me at the Ct address, did not have to be urility bill.

 

And had to be done in pwrsonm

 

But of course need to have friends or family in US whose address you can use.

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On 2/20/2020 at 11:15 PM, GinBoy2 said:

I'll fess up I am a South Dakotan, but the rules for all those 'lenient' States are similar I believe. 

In SD you need to spend one night every 5 years in the State to qualify as a resident. You take the hotel receipt, your passport to DMV and you're done.

 

Assuming you're coming from Asia to the West Coast and transiting thru LA, SF or Seattle, where the heck do you fly to in SD to accomplish that stuff. And what typically the best travel plan for making that trip??

 

Gotta confess, never been anywhere close to SD!  :biggrin:

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On 2/23/2020 at 10:14 AM, pmarlin said:

You can remove Texas from your list. no longer easy the comply with real ID

 

I looked at the TX DL rules in the past couple months for someone who has a TX mailing address with bank accounts, tax returns and other things registered there. It was going to have to be in person for the initial or every other subsequent renewal. But the documentation didn't strike me as being unachieveable.

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AFAIK, as long as you have a valid U.S. passport, having a REAL ID certified driver's license doesn't really provide any additional purpose (other than driving).

 

The different states seemingly have all been doing their own versions of dealing with Real ID in deciding their rules for issuing their own state DLs, as can be seen by the various member reports here coming from different states.

 

For me, there's a definite value to having a U.S. DL for banking and driving purposes. But I could care less if it's REAL ID certified or not, as the whole travel related issue of REAL ID is met equally through having a U.S. passport.

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20 minutes ago, TallGuyJohninBKK said:

 

Assuming you're coming from Asia to the West Coast and transiting thru LA, SF or Seattle, where the heck do you fly to in SD to accomplish that stuff. And what typically the best travel plan for making that trip??

 

Gotta confess, never been anywhere close to SD!  :biggrin:

Not wanting to sound like a travel agent, but...

 

Fly from Narita direct to Denver, then its 40 mins in the air to Rapid City.

 

Or wait until summer, then direct flights from LAX & SFO to RAP

 

...oh and don't forget to visit Mt Rushmore when you are here. Or better still do it in August and you can experience the spectacle of the Sturgis motorcycle rally as well.

Edited by GinBoy2

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12 minutes ago, GinBoy2 said:

Not wanting to sound like a travel agent, but...

 

Fly from Narita direct to Denver, then its 40 mins in the air to Rapid City.

 

Or wait until summer, then direct flights from LAX & SFO to RAP

 

Thanks!  That's exactly what I was looking for. Both helpful options...

 

But I had to look up what the heck RAP means for an airport code.

 

598777260_2020-02-2415_48_20.jpg.5f9d2eeccca257ff4d3f1a377816d0b6.jpg

 

PS - I hope they're not flying C-47s for the trips from Cali into RAP!  :biggrin:

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