Real ID sufficient to verify residency - Albuquerque Journal

Real ID sufficient to verify residency

IS MY REAL ID ENHANCED? Ken Wolfe of Rio Rancho emails, “I recently updated my license to a Real ID driver’s license – the process was easy for me – and I went to update my global entry profile with my new information. One of the questions they ask is if you have an enhanced driver’s license (EDL).

“I thought that’s what Real ID licenses are, but if you hover over the description on the GOES (which replaced the Trusted Traveler) website it says ‘An enhanced driver’s license is a driver’s license that denotes both identity and citizenship. An EDL will include a flag icon identifying the license-holder’s citizenship.’

“Well, I just have a five-pointed star on mine. Is the customs and border protection site outdated, or does N.M. need to do something else to comply with the trusted traveler program?”

No on the first; it has chosen not to on the second.

Benjamin Cloutier, who handles information for the state Taxation and Revenue Department, which oversees the Motor Vehicle Division, says, “New Mexico does not issue an Enhanced Driver’s License,” which verifies citizenship.

He says our Real ID licenses, which double as a federal ID and have the Department of Homeland Security gold star, and Driver Authorization cards verify residency.

DO I NEED AN EMISSION CHECK? In New Mexico it’s a question only Bernalillo County vehicle owners have to ask themselves every two years. And so Dave emails, “Has the MVD discontinued notifying vehicle inspections due?”

Cloutier says the department had switched over to a new auto-mailing computer system that gives vehicle owners 90-day notice of the need for an emissions check.

A “glitch” meant not all notices went out; now that notice is included on the renewal-reminder postcards MVD sends as a courtesy to vehicle owners.

As for those residents of Sandoval County who have gotten emissions notices in error, Cloutier explains that the computer sorts by ZIP code, not county, so some Corrales folks who share a ZIP code with Bernalillo County residents got an emissions reminder in error.

And he says they should just toss it.

AND WHAT ABOUT A LATE FEE? Thomas Barrow emails, “Did I dream it or did you have an entry that the Motor Vehicle Division had waived the $30 penalty for not sending ABQ Air Care (emissions certificates in) with registration?

“I have the proper paperwork, only good for 90 days, so the ‘suspended vehicle registration’ will be cleared up.”

Cloutier explained in a column last year that “emissions testing is required by Bernalillo County, but Bernalillo County does not send out a reminder notice. As a courtesy to customers, MVD sends (notice) to drivers informing them they have … to renew emissions. … If a customer can provide documentation showing they were affected by this issue, we will refund the ($30) registration reinstatement fee.”

CAN A WIDOW/WIDOWER USE THE PERMANENT VETERAN’S PLATE? MJG emails: “Is the widow or widower of a veteran allowed to keep the free (disabled) veteran’s plate after their spouse’s death?”

Cloutier says no, “only the disabled veteran” can legally use the plates, which carry no fees. He recounts a driver in Española drove for 10 years on a plate that belonged to his deceased father.

Surviving spouses and children are expected to “re-register the vehicle” in their own name, and MVD relies on an honor system, as well as the public, to report scofflaws.

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858;; or P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, N.M. 87103.


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