Ever let your driver’s license lapse? It can be a mild pain renewing it; sitting in the DMV, paying fees and fines. Grumble, grumble. Same goes for renewing your expired passport. But you know what turns out to be a real pain? Trying to renew either once both have expired. Hubs messed up, messed up BIG time by letting both slip and is now stuck without any proper identification! We’ve been struggling to get it corrected for years, but it seems to be nearly impossible for him. Yup, that’s right, YEARS.
So, the reason Hubs is having such a problem is because he is an immigrant. He was born in Latvia and moved to the US when he was 10. His mother married a US citizen and he was adopted by his step father. He himself became a citizen. His Latvian passport lapsed, but hey, he was an American now and wouldn’t need it, right? When he was a teen he got a US passport for a trip to visit Latvia (his only visit back). Then life happened, he grew up, yadda yadda. I met him when he was 26 (yes, passport had just expired, he talked about getting it renewed, but never considered it an urgent matter since he really didn’t think he’d leave the country for any reason any time soon.) We got married, and he decided he’d change his last name to mine since he’d already had his name changed several times during his childhood and I had no intention on changing mine. Shortly after we were married he discovered he had a kid from a previous relationship! (Yeah, we still don’t know why she never brought it up until the child was almost 2 years old.) After going through the courts, we began paying child support. I had also given birth at about this time to our first. I was offered a job, so we moved from FL to CT because at the time (2009) the unemployment rate was insane and pay was lousy in FL. Still, by the time I was pregnant with our second, we realized our best laid plans weren’t working out as well as we thought they would. We started with nothing and well, had pretty much gained nothing but debt and were falling behind. Child support payments slipped here and there in favor of rent or utility bills. We tried to scrimp, we tried to save, we tried to pay off and get caught up (never mind ahead), but absolutely nothing worked for us financially. Before we knew it he was simply too far behind in support payments and the state of FL suspended his driving license.
1. It was his fault for not having immediately gotten a CT license when we moved. (He thought it would be easier to change his name and get the ID at the same time.)
2. It was his fault for not going through the name change process when we got married (he waited almost a year and a half)
3. It is totally our fault for falling behind in support payments – though of course we did feel that the amount should have reflected his income and dependants, cost of living, etc…but that’s another rant.
So, here he was in CT with an expired passport, a suspended FL ID that had a different last name from his SS card, and piles of debt and back support payments to catch up on. To removed the suspension we had to pay extra; the current month due as well as much as we could in arrears. Needless to say it took awhile (as well as a lot of tears, extra hours, and side jobs) to get it current, but he FINALLY did it…just after the license had expired!
In CT you cannot get a driver’s license or even a state ID with an expired out of state ID or passports (despite what the Website says about expired passports being a valid form of ID). You cannot renew a passport with expired documentation. Hubs has spoken to office managers at both the DMV and passport agencies, met with state representatives, and had special meetings, but no one has been able to find a solution to our problem. He carries around a large zipper binder of stuff to try and prove who he is in case he ever gets stopped: 3 bills with his current address, his expired ID, his expired US passport, his birth certificate and English translation, our marriage license, adoption papers, Social Security card, citizenship paperwork, as well as various documents and certificates he’s recieved through his job and the fire department. The passport agency insisted he mail all of these originals almost a month ago along with a check ($271 after all the fees and taxes to pay the tax to get the passport…) After they recieved his documents they told him
1. The birth certificate is no good since it hasn’t been translated by an approved company. (Funny, there has never been a problem with the translation since 1993!)
2. They need a state ID with his married last name in order to process the paperwork and get him a passport. (ROAR! THAT’S WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO!) (And no, he can’t even legally change his name back to his “maiden name” for continuity sake since none of the documents will be accepted in that application either.)
3. He has 90 days to get the new ID in before they close his case. And they are keeping the funds.
Right now we *think* that if we drive to FL (yup, all 1260 miles with 3 kids!) and go to the DMV there he may be able to renew his ID, drive back to CT and get a new one (and finally get his truck registered and on the road!). Due to his job (as well as our financial situation) he has a narrow window on when he could pull off such trip – the two days before Christmas. But the passport agency still has all of his original documents and will hold them for 90 days. We could order new documents (again, more fees!) but of course those won’t arrive any faster. Oh, I’m also 28 weeks pregnant as a surrrogate, so I only have two more weeks of free travel time left before I am contractually obligated to stay in my home state!
THIS IS THE WORST MESS EVER! Even though he has a mountain of paperwork proving who he is, neither department is willing to accept any of it because either the passport or the ID is expired. And they won’t let him start all over as if he were a kid getting a license for the first time. He’s allowed to pay taxes. He’s allowed to pay child support. He’s allowed to pay fees and fines. He’s not allowed to drive, fly, vote, open a bank accout, register a vehicle, or do anything else that requires valid identification. Because of his mistake, he’s not allowed to even get a valid identification.
It is frustrating and terrifying that all these government agencies are coming up with reasons left and right to NOT let him have an ID. It is making life even more difficult and expensive. We are *trying* so hard to do the right thing, to get it fixed, to have all the ducks in a row, but it seems as if it is a hopeless situation. This has got to be the most exasperating check mate situation ever.
Moral of the story: Wear condoms and keep ahead of expiration dates!