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New law makes important documents available at Department of Motor Vehicles

By Tim Saunders, tsaunders@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jul 09 2013 02:24:49 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 09 2013 07:23:48 PM EDT

Starting this year, the DMV can access birth records from 29 states and the District of Columbia

LYNCHBURG, Va. -

Moving from one state to another usually involves a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

When Gary Cressler relocated to Lynchburg, he assumed the visit would be complicated, because he needed to show a birth certificate.

"I have no clue as to where my birth certificate would be," said Cressler, who moved to Virginia from Delaware. "None whatsoever."

Cressler is not alone. People show up at the DMV all the time without the documents they need to prove their identification.

"If a customer comes in and they don't have a document to prove their legal presence, we have to send them away," said Rick Holcomb, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

People shouldn't be sent away as often now, thanks to a new law.

Starting this year, the DMV can access birth records from 29 states and the District of Columbia. If you were born in one of the participating locations, you won't need to present a birth certificate to get a driver's license.

"It's going to be a quick, thorough, secure transaction," Holcomb said Tuesday.

Beginning next March, people born in Virginia will also be able to get a copy of their birth certificate at the DMV..

"You certainly had to go to Richmond to get these documents taken care of, or you had to wait many weeks to get it done," said State Senator Steve Newman, who helped craft the new law.

He wants the DMV to be a one stop shop for government services.

Along with birth certificates, customers will one day be able to get divorce records, marriage and death certificates, in the same place they come to renew license plates.

The new law could increase demand for the DMV's services, but state officials say don't expect longer lines. They believe their offices will now be more efficient.

That was the case for Cressler. The DMV was able to look up his birth information and send him out with a new driver's license.

"It's quick," Cressler said. "They verified it within a couple of seconds."

Virginia birth certificates will be available at the DMV beginning March 1st of next year. Marriage and death certificates, and divorce records will be available beginning in 2015.