Using your passport as a valid ID
By John Newton
The PASOs (Perinatal Awareness for Successful Outcomes) program, pioneered in Columbia, S.C., is designed to provide Latina women with the educational programs and resources needed to ensure successful pregnancies and healthy babies. The PASOs Program is considered a trusted source for information on reproductive health and for referrals to health resources.
While prenatal healthcare for Hispanic expectant mothers remains the primary goal of PASOs, this agency has also proven itself to be a source of vital information to South Carolina Hispanics in general.
Last month, Romina McCandless, the PASOs Program Coordinator for Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties issued an email warning about the problems Hispanic residents in South Carolina have encountered while trying to register new titles or renew old titles for their vehicles and mobile homes.
“As you are all likely aware, many of our clients have been coming back with stories about problems they have had at the DMV,” McCandless wrote. “The DMV has not allowed people to register and obtain new titles for their cars or trailers and the DMV has not allowed people to transfer old titles to a new owner. In both cases this has been due to the person not have a valid US-issued ID.”
McCandless says that a US-issued ID is not the only document the DMV can accept for vehicle registration.
“Many of you may be aware that a US-issued ID is NOT needed to do these transactions...but I just wanted to send this email out to clarify in case you had any doubts,” she wrote. “I have spoken with Susan Dunn from the ACLU and Tammy Besherse from the Appleseed Justice Center. They have all been in contact with the DMV in Columbia. Both the director of vehicle services and the legal advisor to the state DMV have sent them written correspondence stating that in order to prove identity to obtain vehicle or trailer title/registration, the person can show a current PASSPORT from their country of origin.”
McCandless stated the passport does NOT need to have a visa, it just needs to be current. Also, to prove SC residence, the applicant can provide a utility bill such as a water, electric, cable or phone bill in their name.
“In addition, if someone goes to a DMV anywhere in SC and is denied vehicle registration because their passport does not have a visa or their passport is not accepted as legal ID, they are to immediately report it to the DMV at this number: 803-896-5000,” she wrote. “If they feel like they have received discriminatory service, they should also report it to this number, or they can call us at PASOs and we can help them file the complaint. The DMV director will deal with any DMV inappropriately
denying services directly.”
According to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles website (http://www.scdmvonline.com ) effective January 1, 2012, each vehicle owner must provide acceptable identification when you apply for a title and/or vehicle registration. Acceptable identification includes a valid South Carolina credential, a valid/unexpired out-of-state credential, a valid/unexpired passport, valid/unexpired Employment Authorization Document (EAD), or a valid/unexpired permanent residency card.
In closing, McCandless said it is important people are aware that matriculas, credenciales, or other documents may not be accepted by the DMV but any valid passport from a foreign country should be accepted.
Editor's note: According to a spokesperson with the Savannah office of the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicle Safety, Georgia residents must present either a Georgia Driver's License or an official Georgia ID when registering new titles or renewing old titles for their vehicles and mobile homes.