New York State DMV

"I HAVE had a green card for four years. I have spent time on and off between here and Ireland, but now I'm back in New York for good, and plan on getting my citizenship at the earliest opportunity. I have a question about my driver's license. I have an Irish one which I know is valid for use here. Can I continue to use it? Or do I need to get a new license in New York? I do not own a car and have no plans to, but perhaps someday." THE New York State DMV says that residents of the state must possess a New York driver's license. How to define resident? Here's what DMV says:

"A person who lives in New York state with the intent to make the state a 'fixed and permanent' place to live. To live in a house, a home, an apartment, a room or other similar place in New York state for 90 days is considered "presumptive evidence" that you are a resident of the state."

Now that you've declared your intent to remain in New York, you'll have to go through the process of getting yourself a license if you wish to drive. (Even if you don't, a state-issued license is always an acceptable form of ID in addition to your green card.)

Those who have foreign licenses must start the process of obtaining a New York license pretty much from scratch (Canadian license holders being the only exception.)

When the time comes for you to apply, you'll have to pass a written test, complete a five hour

driver ed class and pass a road test. You can find information on all the requirements at

Passport Waiting

FEARING the negative impact on the foreign travel plans made by U.S. citizens in the summer months ahead, the State Department last week offered some temporary relief for those waiting for new and renewed American passports. Now, travel to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean will be allowed without a passport, provided that the traveler can prove that the document has been applied for.

If your travel plans include Ireland or any other foreign country, though, be prepared to wait . . . and wait and wait. (I've got first hand experience of the backlog, having applied for a renewal at the beginning of April, only to have my check cashed last week.) The backlog in passport activity stems from the new requirement as of January that U.S. citizens must use passports when traveling by air between Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The State Department is bound to be even more overwhelmed in the months ahead, though, as the passport requirement will, as of next January, extend to not only air travel, but land and sea crossings into the aforementioned nations as well.

On Tuesday, the State Department offered a bit more relief for disgruntled passport customers as well. It plans on issuing refunds for those who paid the $60 fee for expedited service, but did not receive it.

While they're at it, the Department should also get a handle on its tracking method for customers to check the status of their passport applications. There's an online feature on the homepage, that supposedly allows for customers to do so, but in my instance anyway, it doesn't work, even though, according to the website, "customers may track the progress of their applications within one week of applying."


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