for expats interested in obtaining a local driver’s license, click here for a great article for technical info.
i found all of the technical aspects of the above article to be accurate, but there’s nothing here that goes quite like it sounds on paper. this is a break down of what i jumped through to get my license done. i started on 12/27/2010 and finished on 1/27/2011.
- dec. 27 – hopped on a bus to the local immigration office to get my texas license authenticated and i eventually found myself on the 4th floor in a small corner with two officers who handle this kind of stuff. they asked for lots of paperwork that was not listed on the website, but since i have plenty of bureaucratic experiences i took every original document that i could conceivably think of and copies of each – much to the officer’s dismay. they said come back in 2 days with additional paperwork that was inconceivable. cost = free.
- 2 days later the office was closed for holiday. it reopened on january 3. so upon reopening i went with the additional incoceivable paperwork and retrieved my locally-authenticated texas driver’s license without ever having to show the paperwork and went out to the boon docks – a village translated “8 trees.” cost = $5 taxi ride.
- jan. 3 – i was at the driver’s bureau. the only problem was that there was no building! upon arriving all i saw was a ubiquitous parking lot. eventually i noticed people in the distant corner. there i found a small staircase that led down into the woods… i followed it like alice followed the rabbit and eventually found hundreds and hundreds of people and many buildings.
- this step was the driving test registration. in short it went like this: at the 4th building i went into, i found a man at a small help desk who said i needed pictures and a health screening. i wondered around until i found a small building that said “picture.” “organized chaos” was a good way to describe this part. a man told me to sit down, and the above picture was taken. the lady in front of me got her’s taken, but didn’t want one and they tried to give me hers. i eventually ended up with mine. i was then shoved into the medical room where I received a simple exam and took my stamped forms back to the man at the desk. cost = $5.
- i went back to the man at the small desk, and he said i need my license translated. so i had to go back to the front gate and across the street. i found a small shop and there i translated my own passport and license, and they stamped it. (yes, you read the above sentence correctly.) cost = $30. ouch and i did all the work!
- i went back to the man at the desk, and he said go to desk 21, who said go to desk 11 to pay for the test, who said go back to desk 21, who said got to desk 4 to get study materials, who said go back to desk 21 who scheduled my test for jan. 20 the best part is it all done before lunch which was at 11:30 am! cost = $9.
- i took the 158 bus home. cost = about 25 cents.
- jan. 3-20 – lots and lots of visitors. study time was hard to find. all study materials were in the local language.
- jan 20 – go back to “8 trees” and registration lady tells me to take it in english. result = 86 out of 100 = failure = jarod not happy. i didn’t even understand what a dozen questions were trying to ask. it looked as though the original questions were uploaded into google translator and put straight into the test. incomprehesible. go back to desk 21 and reschedule for 2nd test on jan. 25. go home. cost = 2 bus rides, about 50 cents.
- jan. 20-25 – i memorized every possible question and answer to the test until i could guess the answer after reading the first 3 words – in asianese .
- jan 25 – go back to “8 trees” and make a 100 in the local language, and get the paper that proves it! go to desk 21 who makes me pay a fee, then on to desk 23 to arrange mailing of my license. cost = $6 + bus fare.
- jan. 27 – get license in the mail!!!
so the total cost was more in time than money, but i got to learn lots of rules that nobody follows…J