I’ll be honest—I’d rather get a tooth pulled than spend an afternoon at the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). Most people who have been through the process of getting their driver’s license will agree. So, I wasn’t excited when I headed to our closest DPS office with my son, Stephen, the week after his 16th birthday.
Two years earlier, I had made this same trip with my older son, Jason. It took us two trips because we didn’t have the correct documents the first time around. We waited three hours for his number to be called. Finally, we walked out with Jason’s temporary driver’s license. Now it was Stephen’s turn.
This time would be a little different. Stephen was getting an ID card. Stephen doesn’t have the skills needed to drive, so a photo ID is a good option for him. There are many situations today—from flying to getting a library card—where a photo ID is needed. And having a photo ID is an important step toward becoming an adult.
There are a few documents that you must have in order to get an ID. They include a birth certificate, social security card, and proof of school enrollment. Before heading to DPS, we gathered these papers. We downloaded the ID application form from the DPS website. We completed it ahead of time. Upon arrival, an employee at the front desk reviewed our documents. As an accommodation, we were put in an express line. A half-hour later, Stephen proudly walked out with his temporary ID!
If your teen or young adult needs accommodations, ask a DPS employee for help as soon as you arrive. If your child has a disability that makes it difficult to wait in line, call your local DPS office. You can request an appointment for an agent to come to your house. They can process the application there and even take a photo. Many offices also offer the “Get in Line, Online” option for making appointments.
Don’t let past experiences of long waits keep you from helping your teen get their photo ID. The process will be much easier if you check the DPS website ahead of time and know that accommodations are available.
Before you head out to the DPS, visit their website at http://www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/applyforID.htm. Here you can find a list of documents you will need, fees, methods of payment, and office locations.
Working toward your child’s independence prepares them for the transition to adulthood and a successful future.