Long lines that ensued at DMV locations last month following new driver's license requirements are now plaguing the state Health Department's vital records office, as frustrated residents seek copies of their birth and marriage certificates.
On Monday, wait times at the Punchbowl Street office averaged 60 minutes or more as a line stretched out the door. Before the new driver's license identification requirements began March 5, it took an average of 15 to 20 minutes to obtain a copy of a birth, marriage or death certificate.
"I've never seen the line out the door and wrapped around the sidewalk like this," said Waikiki resident Ann Stevens. "I think people are surprised because it doesn't go as fast as they had expected."
State Registrar Alvin Onaka was forced to open a second vital records booth to handle the additional requests, as fallout from the new driver's license mandate continued. Under the REAL ID Act of 2005, anyone obtaining a driver's license must prove their legal name, date of birth, Social Security number and immigrant status.
Donald McDiarmid III was trying to get a copy of his father's death certificate Monday afternoon when he came upon the unexpected line at the Health Department's downtown location, the only vital records office in the entire state.
I didn't realize that we'd have a line," said McDiarmid III. "I'll probably give it about an hour."
But for those who don't want to get caught waiting in line, Onaka suggests going online. Residents seeking birth, marriage or death certificates can save themselves a lot of hassle by submitting applications through the internet.
"They don't have to stand in line, they don't have to park," said Onaka. "It's a very efficient way that we've developed."
Those who do choose to go online for their vital records are cautioned not to expect immediate results. It takes at least 10 working days to receive the certificate requested, and there is an added $1.50 electronic processing fee on top of $10 DOH charges for a single copy.
Even with the ease of applying for vital records online, some Hawaii residents are having a difficult time complying with the new driver's license requirements. Carmen Perreira of Mililani was married in Trier, Germany in 1968 and needs the official certificate to prove it.
"DMV told me to come down here in person and see if the can help me, and hopefully, I'm praying that they can," said Perreira. "What do people like us do?"
To apply for State of Hawaii vital records online visit www.ehawaii.gov/ohsm