2005/07/03

Driver's License

I got my driver's license today. All the non-Americans at work told me how lucky I am that it was so easy to get. Let me tell you how "easy" it was.

First, it is true that because I have a driver's licence from the US that I did not have to take the driving test or sign test. So two co-workers and I (one an Emirati who was helping us through the maze of bureaucracy, one an American who was trying to get her license too) went to the license bureau, taking copies and the original of our current license and passports with residence visas, four passport photos, and cash.

The first person at the license bureau told us that it mattered which state that our license was from, and directed us to a different part of the complex (which is huge, with three large buildings). That person told us that that was completely wrong and that the first person didn't know what he was talking about. But we were told that we had to get a legal translation of our license, and go to the hospital to get a blood test to determine what our blood type was (despite the fact that both of us had American Red Cross donor cards showing our blood type). So, we had to leave, go to another part of town to get our license translated.

After trying a couple of places, we found a place that could do it, though it would take an hour or so. So, while they worked on that, we went to a thid part of town to the hospital to get the blood test. After being directed to several different places, we found the lab. Sure enough, it confirmed what our ARC cards said. That form completed, we went back and picked up our translations for only 40 dirhams each.

Then back to the license bureau. We waited in line for the eye test. Luckily for us and unfairly for the others who were waiting, as Westerners we got to jump to the front of the queue. The eye test was not exactly rigorous - just cover one eye, say which way one E was pointing, then the other eye, repeat.

That form completed, we went back to the first window. Now we had to turn in the blood test form, eye test form, copy of visa and passport, copy of license and translation, four photos, and 200 dirhams. Then wait so more. Then have our photo taken. Then wait some more. Then finally pick up our license. Total time, only about three and a half hours. (Oh, and they still misspelled my co-worker's name on her license.) But the good news is that I'm all set for the next ten years.

6 comments:

Bu3askoor said...

Compared to the pain south asians go through to get a driver license, yes you are lucky :)

But i am surprised on how long the process was, i know in Dubai it takes less than an hour.

Like you said.. you don't have to worry for the next 10 years, and maybe now it is easier to get a car.

ml said...

it is always better to call the concerned dept. ,inquire about the procedure and documents required give them full details then proceed to avoid going to and forth, reason they asked you which state your license from is: only the 47 states that allow emirati citizens to change their local uae license right away when they are in the usa will be treated the same.I think mass.state ( not sure) is one of those three others.

birdie said...

it`s not about nationality , it boils down to similar treatment of countries ,states, ,,etc. that allow emirati citizens to change their local licenses directly in their prospective countries.

desertrose said...

yep, it matters which state in the USA your license is from as you can change only if that state does the same for emiratis holding UAE license`s.Fair enough ain`t it.

Good luck with the manic driving habits here.

David & Iris Saint-Hilaire said...

Hey, Brian. Hope you're doing well. It's July 4th here and we're still waiting to have the baby. We've been reading your emails and it's interesting to learn about your experience in another country. We wanted to wish you a happy birthday and hope that all goes well with your new job. Take care and God Bless.

The Saint-Hilaire Family

Brn said...

Well, I agree that it is fair to give the same rights as we give to Emiratis in America. But the information is not filtering down to the employees of the agency consistently. And, since we had to get a form from the license agency in order to go have the blood test at the hospital, I don't think that there really was a faster way to get everything done.