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DMV gets stricter on proof of identity.

Byline: MARK BAKER The Register-Guard

The state is making it harder to get a driver's license these days.

Same goes if you lose your original and need a replacement.

And good luck if you don't know where your birth certificate is.

"Our main concerns surround customers proving that they are who they say they are and proving residence in Oregon," Lorna Youngs, deputy director of the Driver and Motor Vehicles Services Division, said Friday.

DMV officials hope that by tightening the rules, they can reduce identity thefts and illegal car registrations, agency spokesman David House said. Some of the moves were prompted by a new state law, and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks only heightened interest, House said.

Second, and sometimes third, trips to the DMV are becoming much more common, House said, because people aren't bringing the necessary documentation to meet the new standards.

The DMV has been exploring the issues surrounding identity and residency as part of an internal review and an audit by the state Transportation Department. Auditors reviewed current DMV practices, visited more than a dozen DMV field offices, studied returned licenses and interviewed a variety of people, including agency workers, employers and representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The DMV began requiring stronger proof of identity for a replacement license in response to a law approved by the 2001 Legislature, House said.

To get a replacement license, the DMV now requires that people show such items as a birth certificate, passport or military identification, House said. Those without any of the ID will be directed to check with the hospital where they were born and request a birth certificate.

DMV employees also are trying to guard against out-of-state residents who try to register their vehicles in Oregon, which has one of the least expensive fees in the country, House said.

At one time, people registering their vehicles could offer rent receipts and mail as proof of residence, but they now must provide stronger proof, such as in-state checking accounts or utility bills, he said.

The DMV is also examining new technologies such as ultraviolet inks and other tamper-resistant materials offered by its card vendor, Digimarc, House said. "Things that are hard to duplicate or forge (when making a fake ID card)," he said.

The agency is also looking at how it deals with foreign documents.

One of the Transportation Department's internal audit recommendations was that the DMV no longer accept birth certificates from outside the United States, and that the agency continue to accept passports and consular documents as proof of identity.

"DMV is not equipped to verify foreign birth certificates," Youngs said. "At the same time, DMV cannot set barriers so high that foreign-born residents can't obtain a driver's license."

The DMV cannot require proof of legal immigration status under current state law, Youngs said.

The new rules on foreign documents have not been instituted yet, but the DMV is considering it, House said.

House encouraged people to check DMV's Web site, www.oregondmv.com, to see what is required when getting a license.

"They need to be prepared when they go to the DMV," he said.
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Title Annotation:Driver's license: To battle identity theft and fraudulent car registrations, tougher documentation rules are taking effect.; Transportation
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jul 6, 2002
Words:525
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