Licensed again

As Backside’s fan already knows, it’s a big day for me next Saturday – the daunting seven-oh experience, drawing attention to the unavoidable truth that most of my future is now in the rear-view mirror. But am I down-hearted? No, no, no. Well, not now I have renewed my driving licence, as I was obliged to do.

First I had to have the medical, which I had been preparing for. The anti-dement test is to remember three words which the doctor is obliged to specify – his or her choice – and which I should recall at the end of the test period. Luckily for me I was at the mercy of a fragrant young Swedish lady trainee who clearly took pity on me as soon as I wrote 2012 in the date box. She also agreed that I should read the eye chart in English because neither of us could differentiate between the Danish sounds for a, e or æ, let alone ø or å!

The final step was to deliver my form to the local council office – which now deals with the whole process via screens; I had to sign on a hand-held one and my form and photo were eaten by another. The kind lady said I shouldn’t leave the country – if I intended to drive there – because I was temporarily banned (except in Denmark) until my new plastic licence materialised.

Which it has now done! I’m legal again for four years, when  I have to repeat the process. But I’ll be ready for them – remembering three words for 20 minutes every day, learning what year we’re in and practising my vowels. Meanwhile Mrs J and I do plan to leave the country – for a holiday – but more of that later.


Author: Janus

Hey! I'm back ...... and front

23 thoughts on “Licensed again”

  1. I’m licenseless too. The UK one ran out, the name is wrong, the address is wrong, oops I never noticed!
    I never bothered with a Washington license because they all drive so badly here. Like indicators? Wot they for? I always reckoned that they got them free from cracker boxes! Somehow I’m still insured through spousal unit, I make him own all the cars as I can’t be bothered with the paperwork.
    I suppose I’ll have to do something about it, fortunately I’ll be in Swansea not a mile down the road from the DVA in August so may swan in there with appropriate documents. The paper bit is still valid so I suppose they can’t be too difficult, (famous last words!!!)

  2. Interesting, CO regarding the renewal of your UK license. A friend from overseas had the same problem. Be aware that unless you can prove you have a UK address, you may find it difficult to renew your license.

  3. I have a California driving license although I do not drive in Minnesota. Too much bloody ice on the roads and people seem to think having a large vehicle makes them immune from the laws of physics.

  4. Oh ah! interesting Ara! Well I still have the flat in Brum, but certainly no utility bills from there. Thanks for the heads up, must look at their site. How did your friend manage? Or did they refuse her point blank?

  5. Chris, can’t say I blame you! I wonder if they ever get the chains off their tyres. But I suppose most have studded winter tyres these days.

  6. Yes, Tina they did!

    Also, if you can sort out an address, then take a couple of passport photos for your photocard, and of course your British passport.

    Good luck!

  7. Afternoon Mrs O.
    Technically you have 60 days after entering the State to get yourself licensed if you wish to drive, fines and penalties vary by State. I have just permanently relocated from Delaware to Maryland with the resulting change of vehicle registration and exchange of drivers license. It seems that I was the first person ever to attempt this in the two hundred year history of the two states, at least the response from the Maryland MVA (Motor vehicle Authority) and the Delaware DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) suggested that. Get the idea? They do not share a name or a policy even though they are two miles apart by road.

    First, vehicle registration (or certificate of Title in MD). One needs a valid Maryland inspection certificate less than thirty days old (got one) then proof of ownership of the vehicles, (the Delaware certificates of title for the two vehicles sufficed) AND proof of insurance (for which the two Delaware insurance cards were deemed insufficient in the State of Maryland), so I called my insurance company then and there from the MVA and was told that they could not insure my vehicles in Maryland without a Maryland title, mmmm could be a problem here. I do have a third vehicle, a truck, which I happened to be driving that day and, joy of joys, it is titled and insured in Maryland, so I ask my insurance company when they insure my cars in Maryland could they put them on the same policy as my truck? “Of course” they said so I duck back to the counter and offer my truck insurance policy number as my Maryland insurance…. accepted. Ten minutes and almost two thousand dollars later (there is a 5% Maryland use tax on vehicles) I have two new Maryland title documents and head over to the drivers license section………take a number ….wait.

    There are FOUR paperwork requirements to obtain a replacement drivers license (even in the SAME state) since Homeland Security was birthed.

    First – One document proving age and identity (US birth certificate or a valid US Passport or permanent resident alien card (it does so too exist… I had one for a while)
    Second – A valid Social Security Card (original, not a copy)
    Third – One Photo ID document proving lawful status in the US (passport no good if used for age and identity above, but naturalization certificate OK if it has a picture)
    Fourth – Two documents attesting to Residency in Maryland . MD vehicle registration card acceptable (saved by the truck again) and one of utility bill, property tax bill, or residential service contract (lawn care, termite inspection etc.) I had my Maryland property tax bill with me but that was deemed unacceptable as it did not have a postal address on it, just a lot number and plot number (not my fault, that is what the State of Maryland sends out) but I did have a copy of my most recent bill for the termite inspector at my Maryland address (accepted)

    As you will have guessed by now I did read up on the requirements before traipsing off to the MVA and ran the rat maze with not one document to spare and only used two swear words in the whole two hours.

    I had less hassle getting a pilot’s license.

  8. Araminta is right, Christina, you have to have a UK address. I lost my licence – physically, not because of some transgression – in Kazakhstan and because I didn’t have a UK address, the DVA wouldn’t issue a replacement, never mind the fact that I had my passport, a copy certified by the Brit Embassy, (a precaution I always take when working abroad 0 carry certified copies of all your documents, never the originals…) proof of my employment with a Brit Company in KZ and proof of my local address – all certified by the Consular Section of the Embassy. The rules sez you gotta have a UK address…

  9. Yes, it could be a problem, Tina, especially as your UK licence is out of date. Normally you can drive almost anywhere for a couple of years and then you can apply for a US licence without taking a test. This would also allow you to drive in the UK when you visit.

    You seem to be in worst of all possible worlds at the moment.

  10. PS. I’m assuming, perhaps wrongly that the US has a similar system. Bilby for example, when she came back from Australia drove here on her Australian licence for some time and then applied for a UK licence. She has to surrender the OZ licence, but then when she goes back to Australia to visit she drives there with her UK docs.

  11. LW: in California one can drive for as long as one wishes to without a California driving license
    so long as one does not declar California as one’s state or residence — then it becomes 10 days.
    And in Minnesota it’s not called the DMV, it’s the DPS. In some states a consular matriculation card counts so no proof of legal residence is needed.

  12. Mmmmm!
    I take your point everyone and thank you!

    Now you see why I leave all the car registration etc. to spousal unit!! I know I am covered in the USA as a driver he permits to use the vehicles. I suspect it is a bit of a fudge because the brokers have three houses, two cars and a partridge in a pear tree insured with the same outfit! And don’t want to lose the business.

    Just in case I will endeavour to acquire a local licence here, would hate to get to the UK and find I had no way to get a rental. Normally a mate chucks me a car for the duration but sod’s law, you can guarantee no one will have a spare if I turn up unlicensed this summer. (People aren’t too fussy in Wales!)
    Definitely will put the thumb screws on my tenant in Brum, I have done various works for her in the flat this spring and haven’t put her rent up for four years so she owes me! Being Eastern European I’m sure she will understand such accommodations!!! Turn up in Swansea DVLA with a zillion documents. If they say no, screw them, as long as I have a WA licence. I suppose I don’t really need one but it just pisses me off that they would be so deliberately unaccommodating to their natives and let any bone through the nose, camel driving outer Mongolian tool around the UK with some joke piece of paper, probably printed on dry camel dung which is what the UK licence is about worth!

    A pox (and murrain) on all governments! Thank you everyone again. Most useful.

  13. Môre Jay

    Well done!

    It seems to be mandatory over here for old elderly drivers over a certain age to wear a hat while driving, is it similar there? Do you have one? Or will your first trip with your new licence be a visit to the local hat shop?

  14. Soutie :

    Oh, and while I’m here why is there an ‘s’ in the post’s title :???:

    Soutie,. licence with a ‘c’ is a noun. License with an ‘s’ is a verb. Janus used the past participle of the verb. The ‘s’ is correct. Quick, delete both our comments before anybody else notices.

  15. Sipu :

    Quick, delete both our comments before anybody else notices.

    Ha ha 🙂

    Thank you

    I’m quite happy to live and learn, what do they say “if you don’t ask …..”

    I also don’t care if people now realise that I don’t know my past participle from my elbow 😉

  16. Soutie, thank you – and I already have a hat to keep out the cold here!

    My learned friend has explained the ‘s’ very nicely – the Yanks can’t learn the rules.

  17. Ladies and gentlemen, Mrs J has had an English licence for 20-ish years. About five years ago she asked the Danish authorities if it was still valid here. No probs, they said, until she is 70 when she’ll have to swap it for a Danish one. Curiouser and curiouser?

  18. Janus :

    My learned friend has explained the ‘s’ very nicely – the Yanks can’t learn the rules.

    Small wonder I had so much trouble getting my license, I was asking for the wrong thing!

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