In case you haven't been to the Department of Motor Vehicles recently, the state has made it harder - and more expensive - to renew your driver license or identification card.

Driver license and ID card fees increased $4.50 per card July 1 to cover the costs of new issuing systems and standards. We have no argument with that. The costs should be borne by those who use the system, Oregon's drivers.

But no matter how long it may be before your driver license or ID card expires, DMV officials urge you to prepare for your next renewal - or in case your card is lost or stolen.

As of July 1, everyone who applies for a new, renewal or replacement driver license, instruction permit or ID card needs to meet stricter requirements. The new requirements are a result of a law the Oregon Legislature passed in February.

DMV Administrator Tom McClellan says most Oregonians will need at least two additional documents to renew their licenses. And those with name changes during their lifetime will need a third document to provide a link between a citizenship document and the legal name, such as a marriage certificate.

These requirements are new, but the old ones still are in effect, such as showing proof of an Oregon address, passing tests and paying fees.

The new law applies to everyone, no matter how long you've had a license or how long you've lived in the state. That's why the DMV is making an effort this summer to alert Oregonians to the new law, because some of these documents can take weeks to obtain.

The more strict requirements became effective barely five months after the DMV began electronic verification of applicants' Social Security numbers. Previously, DMV workers verified the numbers for commercial drivers only.

In another Big-Brotherish effort this year, DMV is phasing in facial-recognition software to prevent individuals from obtaining a license or ID card under more than one name. The Oregon Legislature also directed this fraud-prevention program.

So be prepared for your next visit to DMV. You can expect your transaction to take longer and DMV workers might even turn you away if you don't have all the necessary documentation. That could result in an interruption of your driving privileges or your ability to carry a current ID card.

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