So anyways, I’ve had a Saipan driver’s license before, well, actually I’ve had a Saipan driver’s permit before. I was 16 at the time and I had to have a permit for a few months before they allowed me to take the test for my license. Unfortunately I didn’t stay on-island long enough to graduate from a simple permit holder to a proud license holder. I had to go back to Florida for my Senior year at Winter Park High School.
(By the way, that permit could be anywhere now. That was in 1995. Since then, my Mom has moved our home twice, well three times if you count moving to Costa Rica, and I’ve lived in several different dorms, houses, and apartments in Virginia, Florida, and Japan.)
But I’m getting off the subject. So like I was saying before, I’ve been to the Saipan DMV before (in 1995) and I had a vague recollection that it was near the court house.
So I drove to the courthouse.
There was a large sign on Beach Road near the courthouse that read Department of Public Safety (or something like that). It had a subheading that read Department of Motor Vehicles (or something like that).
I turned in, but didn’t see the DMV.
I asked a guy riding a bike on the side of the road if he knew where it was. He knew where it was on Guam, but had no idea where it was on Saipan.
I decided to run into the courthouse and ask if anybody in there knew where it was. I parked the car and ran inside, telling Emily to follow me in if I didn’t come back after 3 minutes.
I went in and asked the two guards where it was and they told me that it was the blue and white building right behind the courthouse. Then they told me that if I went there that the good people at the DMV would just send me back to the courthouse to get a license clearance. They suggested that I get the license clearance and then head over to the DMV.
I followed their advice. Getting the license clearance was very simple. All you have to do to is to pay for it in advance at the cashier behind door #5 and then go to door #1 to have it printed. It costs 50 cents.
I like those kinds of prices and I like that kind of simplicity. And, oh yeah, Emily came inside after three minutes.
License clearances in hand, we strode over to the DMV to get our licenses. Inside the blue and white building there was a sign listing the three steps for obtaining a new license. The first step was to get a license clearance, which we already had. We were on a roll.
The next step was to pay the license fee at the DMV cashier. No problem. We got in the cashier queue and paid $15 each.
Like I said, I like those kinds of prices.
Finally, all we had to do was to fill out a one-page application form at window #1, show our receipts from the DMV and the courthouse, and get our pictures taken. We had to show are Florida driver’s licenses, too.
A few minutes later they handed us two freshly laminated CNMI driver’s licenses. That was it.
On a side not:
I noticed that on Saipan the DMV is in charge of issuing driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations. I don’t know how they do it in other states, but in Florida the DMV only handles driver’s licenses. The Florida Tag Agency handles vehicle registrations.
Whatever. I’m not trying to suggest that one system is superior to the other. I just noticed that they were different.