renewing Wyoming driver’s license now as annoying as in other states

Sample license from the good ol’ days.

Got a birthday coming up? Woohoo! Driver’s license about to expire on that day? Boooooo.

It used to be that obtaining or renewing a driver’s license in Wyoming was a breeze compared to other states, where a trip to the DMV is synonymous with a root canal.

Now, thanks to a combination of federal and state regulations, be prepared to have everything shy of a vial of your mother’s blood when heading to WyDOT.

It had been four years since my last trip through this process, and days before my license was to expire, I learned that a valid U.S. passport (in addition to my current license) was not enough to prove my identity. I also had to bring my original social security card and two proofs of residency.

WyDOT gave me the option of renewing in advance by mail, which I declined because 1) who does this sort of thing in advance; and 2) it’s always a good idea to mail such documents.

The agency gives several options for proof of residency, including copies of utility bills listing physical address. But in this age of automatic or online bill pay, 1) who has a copy of such a bill lying around; and 2) most of us in western Wyoming have no home mail delivery, so bills usually have P.O. box address, which is not accepted.

Before I headed down to the WyDOT office, I wrote state Sen. Leland Christensen and Rep. Ruth Ann Petroff to vent about the cumbersome requirements. Again, this was just to renew my valid license, which I’ve held for 20 years.

I brought with me the aforementioned documents, along with a car registration and hunting/fishing licenses to prove my residency. After waiting in line for a half-hour (there was only one clerk on duty to answer calls and serve everybody, with three empty desks beside her), I handed over my paperwork.

There was a problem, I was told — she could not accept my hunting/fishing licenses because they did not list my physical address. At that point I had nothing else, so I put down the only other piece of photo identification and proof of residency I could find: my town council ID. The clerk said I would hear from Cheyenne if they had a problem with it.

The woman in front of me was 66 years old and had spent her entire life in Wyoming, and she was having a hell of a time renewing her license, too. So many people are snagged by the requirements that WyDOT has posted the phone number of Lower Valley Energy on the counter so applicants can call and request a copy of their utility bill be faxed to the WyDOT office. This has become a standard procedure, although in this woman’s case, the bill was in her husband’s name and there were further complications. Everyone had to stand in line waiting for the fax to come in.

Sen. Christensen called before I even left the WyDOT building. Turns out he has his own horror story: His wife was denied and went through many, many hoops because her social security card had her maiden name. Rep. Petroff wrote back, saying she, too, had a nightmare experience. The rigamarole stems from new Homeland Security regulations, she said, and if Wyoming didn’t comply, our driver’s licenses would not be valid for boarding planes.

Ironically, Christensen joked, if I had just stepped off a plane from Bulgaria I probably would have had an easier time getting a license. He has spoken with WyDOT officials and the chairman of the Senate Travel Committee about streamlining the renewal process.

All of this wouldn’t be so annoying if, once it is issued, a Wyoming driver’s license were a bulletproof form of identity and proof of residency, given the many requirements met to obtain it. But wait until it’s time to renew a post office box! We’ll be told a license is not enough, and again we’ll have to jump through more of the same hoops, year after year.

Just go ahead and implant a chip in our heads already.


Posted under Politics, Wyoming, Wyoming Legislature

35 Comments so far

  1. Tinted Windows July 30, 2013 5:24 pm


    Just like your cell phone ban idea, the license & PO BS is the result of the Govt thinking it needs to have more control over your life – and know more about you. It needs to be reined in. Perhaps you should go to the Dark Side and join the Tea Party.

    The Post Office has turned into the gestapo.

    I can renew a passport with less paperwork than a DL or POBox renewal requires. I like a secure ID but this sort of stuff is just a royal PITA.

    Wyoming could have acted like some other states and not joined the Feds in their effort to drag us through hell just to renew a DL but it choose the opposite route fro the Real ID Act.

  2. murph July 30, 2013 5:54 pm

    all this to keep the mexicans from having a license.f@*#k DHS.and be careful what you wish for.

  3. Dave July 30, 2013 10:16 pm

    Same problems when I renewed just after the law went into affect. One more easy way to get “proof” of residency is to re-register to vote and bring the card in.

    The silly thing is that both proofs of residency I used, voter reg and hunting license, all you have to do is tell the issuing agent “yup, I live here”.


  4. joe July 31, 2013 8:49 am

    yea but thats what they do “back east”

  5. JWL July 31, 2013 10:21 am

    Just like going through airport security, I say to myself, “The terrorists have won”.

  6. Melissa P July 31, 2013 6:47 pm

    Politicians often get elected by scaring us about the boogie man – either their election opponent or some security threat that only they can defeat with some convoluted legislation. It’s called over-reaching.

    Blame yourselves for electing theses cranks.

  7. murph July 31, 2013 7:35 pm

    ya jackson is catching up to the nanny state faster than i had hoped. and when DHS wants the police take a bradley tank. JIM please tell me you would vote it down if that gets to the council.its coming

  8. Chad July 31, 2013 7:49 pm

    My libertarian parts shudder when I say this, but a national ID is the only solution. I know many pragmatic conservatives who acknowledge this, and I think its time to give up the ghost on whatever fears we have in this regard. The feds can’t be both so incompetent (w/health care, regulation, etc.) and yet deviously capable of an Orwellian takeover. They’re somewhere in between, so relax, and lets help our own 21st century system by making the process of identification a little more simple, uniform, and secure.

    Cue retaliation and free-flow use of terms like ‘freedom’, ‘liberty’, ‘Nazi (and/or ‘Hitler’), ‘slippery slope’, ‘tracking’, ‘founders’, and ‘constitution’.

  9. Sarah Palin July 31, 2013 10:00 pm


    I’m sure they’d like one and would take one if offered.


    Secure ID is one thing, BS to renew is another.

    Try getting a hazmat endorsement – after Federal Background check, take a day off from work & travel to Idaho and pay $100 for fingerprints in Soda Springs. Lost wages + fees.

    Govt is incompetent and that’s Jim’s point. And because it’s so incompetent, the Orwellian nature of the beast is all the more troubling.

  10. steve July 31, 2013 10:09 pm

    Here’s another suggestion, its a mind blower….. lets build ONE building that contains DMV, county treasure and vin inspection!! The process is ridiculous!

  11. Sarah Palin July 31, 2013 11:04 pm

    Great idea Steve. Never happen.

    The Post Office asks the DMV to provide proof of address.

    Obamacare doesn’t include dental care.

    We’re 17 trillion dollars in debt.

    The people running the show are dumb.

    Never happen. But great idea.

  12. Jerkey Schmilikis August 1, 2013 1:49 pm

    And here is another crazy idea: one police force for town and county.

    How many town and county cop cars drive through Jackson every day? Idiotic.

    And, while we are all ranting, those of you who live in a subdivision and the subdivison’s rules don’t allow you to park your boat or rv near your surburban home so you just park it on the street in Jackson, I’ve contacted both the town and county police and they are now going to ticket and tow each and every one of those vehicles. You should know that those things need to be either parked in your back yard or in Alpine.

  13. Chad August 1, 2013 10:15 pm

    Jerkey, you had me at one police force, but lost me in your world where the streets become a clutter of big boy toys.

  14. KB August 1, 2013 11:36 pm

    I happened to look at the registraion requirements before it was too late to do it through the mail. If I remember correctly, it actually required less proof of who you were through the mail than it did in person.

  15. skip August 2, 2013 11:22 am

    Add to it the issue of when you need to get your kids’ licenses renewed when their temporary license expires. They’re supposed to come in with a proof of residency as well, but name a 17-year-old high school student whose name is on a utility bill. My wife called the DOT in advance to avoid the wasted trip from town down there to ask “a quick question” about proof of residency yesterday, and after telling her what she needed to know along with a bunch of stuff she didn’t need to know, the “customer service representative” on the other end scolded her, stating, “Ma’am, that’s not a ‘quick question'”. She responded that had he simply told her what she needed to know and not what she didn’t need to know, the question would’ve been quick.

    And we’re to believe that this ridiculousness won’t amount to voter suppression if those who shall remain nameless get their way and push through the picture ID requirement for the polls?

  16. Ronald August 2, 2013 8:24 pm

    Blame your elected officials who didn’t have the guts to stand up to the feds like those in other states did.

    Blame yourself for voting for these folks.

    Blame yourself for wanting uncle sam to tuck you in at night and keep the monsters away.

    Blame Republican representative James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, the author of the original Real ID Act), and GWB for backing it. The postal regulations are simply a by-product of this law.

  17. Brad August 5, 2013 3:22 am

    Ronald – name the states that “had the guts to stand up to the feds”. Like Jim said, if Wyoming didn’t heel on this one, our driver’s licenses would be invalid as photo IDs. No one had a choice here.

  18. Danno August 5, 2013 5:28 am

    Soon going to your doctor’s office will be like going to DMV, once Obamacare is fully in place. Experienced doctors who earned a good living are leaving and retiring and soon being a doctor will be just another civil service job. Do you want ambitious driven people attracted to medicine or people just looking for a steady government gig? They will probably unionize.

  19. I Was At The DMV When It Was Cool August 5, 2013 9:59 am

    This is too bad. Last time I was at the DMV, a few years ago, there were 5 clerks there just to wait on me. Afterword, I raved to everyone that we must have the best DMV in the country! Sad to hear this has changed.

    The post office, on the other hand, well, that place is one of the nine circles of hell.

  20. janet August 5, 2013 5:06 pm

    The implementation has been delayed several times. Apparently, “half the states have OK’d measures aimed at knocking back the Real ID Act of 2005, which dictates Washington’s requirements for issuing driver’s licenses.”

    On December 20, 2012, the DHS determined that Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming had met the Act’s requirements.

    The Feds overreached and Wyoming played along, lovingly.

    The Feds would never anger so many citizens if states like Wyoming had the guts to join others and reject the Real ID Act. Ronald Reagan’s once said, ”When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”

    Politico July 28, 2013: “The nullification trend in recent years has largely focused on three areas: gun control, health care and national standards for driver’s licenses. It has touched off fierce fights within the states and between the states and the feds, as well as raising questions and court battles over whether any of the activity is legal.”

    It’s my understanding that you could board an airplane without a READ ID, you would just need additional ID.

  21. Jim Stanford August 6, 2013 12:16 am
  22. David August 6, 2013 3:46 pm

    I think that if you invest in Wyoming by buying a home, you should be given a fishing license for free.

    The Post Office gets all this address information but it can’t connect a street address with a po box if someone sends you a package via a street address (or via the UPS/FEDEX handoff to the USPS).

    Customer Service USED to be a highlight at the PO. No more.

  23. D August 7, 2013 8:45 am

    Resident hunting and fishing for FREE? That means everyone who owns a house or land in Wyoming can claim to be a resident??? That’s a great idea… if you want to send the WGAF in to bankruptcy faster than they are currently going. The only people that would benefit from your idea are people wealthy enough to buy a second home. My guess is.. (Like Liz) they can afford out of state fishing and hunting licenses. You are either a resident, or you’re not! You can’t be a resident of multiple states? It goes against the very definition of the word.
    The requirements are not that tough, unless you are trying to fudge your “residency” for some other reason?

  24. Brad August 7, 2013 3:00 pm

    Excellent point, D. For example, how many times have you seen a NaG letter to the editor and below the writer’s name is, for example, “Reston, Va. AND Jackson Hole”. These people want it both ways. Clearly they are writing from their home in Reston, but they have property here, of course, and demand to be known as ‘Cool in the Hole’. And they’ll use that JH home as the source for resdidency to to sign up for all sorts of perks that go with it. Like hunting and fishing licenses. Maybe Game & Fish needs to start looking at voter rolls. My own opinion is that Liz Cheney knew the rules and lied on the fishing license form. It says right there ‘less than one year is a non resident’. And if memory serves, the G&F official at the desk, if you go to the local office, asks you up front, ‘how long have you lived here?’

  25. @D August 7, 2013 4:06 pm


    Wyoming has 17 BILLION in the bank.

    The state can fund WGAF just fine.

    Buying a house is a major investment in a community. It generates a greater economic impact than any fishing fee. You obviously don’t pay property taxes or pay for the upkeep of property.

    Get a clue.

  26. FreeMoney August 7, 2013 4:48 pm


    It’s amazing how poorly you read other comments and how far you stretch the idea you criticize.

    Nothing was said about hunting licenses. Nothing was said about letting someone claim Wyoming citizenship.

    A free fishing license for homeowners would cost the state very little. The Governor probably spends more money on travel. And not everyone cares to fish.

    Very few homeowners in Wyoming are actually second-home owners. Most ARE residents.

    You’re in the Jackson bubble.

    “Hunting, fishing excise taxes deliver 1,100% return”:

    “in 2006, a total of 113,000 resident sportsmen in Wyoming spent $1.8 million a day for an annual total of $676 million.”

  27. murph August 7, 2013 10:25 pm

    since this is the place to rant and sen. Enzi’s is in town. time to find out where he stands with the ACA if congress doesn’t have to eat this shit. i hope he votes again to defund it and liz could use this for fodder :

  28. D August 8, 2013 9:24 am

    Wrong again I do own a home and pay property taxes. Actually in three different counties in Wyoming, so that makes three homes. None of them in Teton County or “Jackson Bubble” Wrong again.

    It doesn’t matter how much money the state has the G&F is broke. That’s a Fact. I agree the state needs to cover this, but they don’t so that is the reality. —

    @Free Money
    No the law says you are a Resident or Nonresident. Period. So you either get all the benefits or none. It really is that simple. When was the last time the state just gave anyone a licence? Why start now?
    Now you are just coming up with some off the wall idea to CYA for Liz.

  29. rob August 8, 2013 4:50 pm

    any daily reader of this site knows D is one of the most informed and articulate of the commenters. he always has a knack for providing facts and tidbits one otherwise wouldnt conjur up. a stand-up guy id like to meet one day. carry on.

  30. Chuck August 8, 2013 5:19 pm

    The best thing to ever happen to G&F is budget cuts.

    The only reason it isn’t funded (it could be) is because everyone knows it’s got too much on its plate and still wants more. The whole raptor case was a perfect example of misguided priorities.

    As for free fishing, I like Finis Mitchell’s ideas:

    ” What, show people the wilderness that belongs to them and make them pay for it? I want them to come, all of them. Had a couple of hikers from Illinois and when they came down someone had written in the dust on their car, “Go home and stay.” That’s selfish, selfish.”

    Used to be none needed a license to fish.

  31. Samantha August 9, 2013 6:44 am


    “No the law says you are a Resident or Nonresident. Period. … When was the last time the state just gave anyone a licence? ”

    The idea was to change the law.

    If you own three homes and you think that your economic investment in Wyoming doesn’t exceed the fee paid for a fishing licensee, then perhaps you should pay more in taxes and higher fishing fees.

    One of the reasons given for not raising non-resident fees is that it would have a negative economic impact on the state.

    “It doesn’t matter how much money the state has the G&F is broke.”

    Wyoming is G&F. Wyoming isn’t broke. G&F’s method of funding is what’s broke. There’s a difference. Ask your Representative why it isn’t funded.


    The Post Office is annoying but some reasons for the BS are perfectly reasonable like making sure that free box you get is deserved. Or making sure you’re who you say you are in case you were planning to use the address for nefarious purposes. Like using the address to get a driver’s license under false pretenses.

    The Driver’s License hassle has a similar rationale even if some aspects seem, or are, irrational.

  32. Brad August 9, 2013 5:31 pm
  33. @Brad August 10, 2013 9:48 am


    You are incorrect to say that she “lied” since you were not there. The clerk could have made a mistake or whatever.

    “At this point we’re going to follow up on this like any other residency issues,” Nelson said. “It’s at the initial stages of verification.”

    “State law requires residents live in the state 365 consecutive days”. Interesting. Does that mean you can’t take an overnight trip to Idaho?

    I don’t think I have ever been in Wyoming for 365 consecutive days even though I’ve lived here for over 30 years. Work or pleasure, I am traveling out of state every year.

    Anyone know the extent of the law as it pertains to LIVING(?) in the state for 365 CONSECUTIVE days?

    I’m willing to bet ol’ Liz lied and I’m willing to bet she doesn’t stand a chance in Wyoming not matter what she does or says. She would stand a better chance running for the House.

    Once you’re in the Senate, and from Wyoming, the only way you’re leaving is by retiring or dying. Politics in Wyoming is child’s play.

    As for Enzi compared to Cheney, every time I hear him on Wyoming Public Radio, he’s shading the truth, lying, or misleading the public.

    Mike has voted in favor of failed constitutional amendments that suggested banning gay marriage so I don’t expect much support from liberal-bending Jackson. Conservatives may not appreciate his love for tax and fee hikes.

  34. D August 12, 2013 9:22 am

    Finis Mitchell’s idea is great…. Right up to the point where we have to stock those lakes in the mountains like he did. Somehow we have to pay for the staff, equipment, helicopter fuel, and hatchery. You could always give up your livelihood and grab milk jugs and mules to take his place, but something tells me no one is volunteering to do that. He was hero and all around badass no debating that. It’s a different time and we have to use different management strategies.

  35. dsimon August 12, 2013 7:11 pm

    murph: “time to find out where he stands with the ACA if congress doesn’t have to eat this shit.”

    I think that’s a misrepresentation of what’s going on with Congress and the exchanges. By all rights, members of Congress and their staff shouldn’t go on the exchanges at all because, like many employees, they get their insurance through their employer and so would not be eligible for the exchanges. But members of Congress were dared by opponents of the ACA to put themselves and their staff on the exchanges. Contrary to expectations, they accepted that dare. The problem was that their federal health care benefits were taken away, which was in effect a substantial pay cut with no obvious provision for an employer contribution to buy insurance on the exchanges. All the administration has done is provide the equivalent funds that they would have gotten for their federal employee insurance program to buy insurance on the exchanges.

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