1. Apply for a temporary parking permit----this gives a person 15 days to park without getting a ticket; you then have to apply for another one if you haven't gotten DC plates after 15 days, but you can only apply for 2 permits within 12 months.
2. Get the car inspected at a vehicle inspection station, at which time a sticker is placed on your front windshield...only the beginning of the many stickers that will litter your car!
3. If car title is not in your name, get it transferred----this means you also need new car insurance.
4. Go to a local DMV where the fun really begins. Required documents: current drivers license, passport, social security card, bill with local address, car registration, car title, proof of vehicle inspection, proof of DC insurance, and DC car registration forms.....and reading material cause the lines are loooooooong!
5. Wait, wait, and wait for your number to be called. Then present all the paperwork to a gruff worker who mumbles and gets upset when you ask her to repeat what she just said. Then take a driving eye exam by placing your forehead on a disgusting eye machine used by who knows how many people (and get a mean look from the worker when you ask to clean the machine first).
6. Pull out your credit card and watch as the worker maliciously grins as she adds up the total cost of your visit, which consists of: drivers license (included in the cost is a driver education fund fee despite the fact that I never took a class in DC and don't care to pay for others to take the class), car registration fee, car inspection fee, residential parking permit fee, car title fee, and a title excise fee based on the total value of the car (which is significant unless you're driving a vespa!)
7. And finally, wait to get your picture taken for the drivers license....and wait for it to be printed.
So, I am a Washingtonian today, but not by choice. I was perfectly happy retaining my Ohio drivers license and Ohio license plates.