Thursday, February 6, 2014

The saga was not quite finished

The driving license saga was not quite finished.
When we went to get Cate’s license on Saturday we had to produce an existing out of state license.  We tried to use her Austrian license but were told that it was not acceptable because it was in German. 
Well actually it is and it isn’t – it says ‘driving license’ on the front in German – and in English – and in 17 other languages. 
It also has no expiry date – for some reason Austrian licenses do not have this feature – and the BMV were simply incapable of comprehending this.
We were told we could use it only if we had it translated into English and were able to confirm that there was no expiry date on the license. Well if we did this the translation would say ‘driving license’ in English 19 times.
This had us stumped for a while – we were reeling at the task of finding official translators for each of the 18 non-English languages on the front of the license and having them certify that ‘the words on the front of the license in Turkish (or whatever) say ‘driving license’.
As far as the expiry date was concerned we were simply at a total loss. Who would we get to look at the license and certify that ‘there is no expiry date on this license’. Perhaps an official and authorized ‘driving license expiry date examiner’?
Many people in the BMV were consulted – including the branch manager. A call was made to ‘downtown’. All this had predictable and inevitable outcome. Rules are rules.
But where were the rules when I got my license and used an Austrian driving license – without any problems at all? 
Then we were told that we could use an international driving license. Terrific – we had one. We hurtled home to get it and the examiner kindly let Cate take the exam – even though she was well outside her allotted time slot.
So on Wednesday this week Cate got a call from the BMV. They wanted a copy of her Austrian driving license – without translation.
Go figure.
We had nine inches of snow yesterday.

Molly and Gaston and Biggles have arrived and have settled in nicely.


  1. The Driver License Saga is all too confusing!
    "They" better call "uptown" next time, I'd say.

    I have a proper Austrian license now, but when I was still living in the States, I was stopped by Austrian police during a visit here. The policeman was at a loss to understand why my American license would have an expiration date, even though I was not on probation or such. ;-)

    When we moved here, it was a nice surprise to find out that holders of American driver licenses simply have to apply for an Austrian one, no tests, no bother.

  2. You should get points for trying, eXtra points for trying reaLLy hard. They just don't understand their role as public servants, especiaLLy considering Cate has been legally driving somewhere for decades.

  3. So pleased to hear that government departments are the same world-wide.

  4. Merisi: Ye it was much harder here than when we went to Austria.

    esbboston: I guess it is not supposed to make sense.

    Sandy; Ah Yes...they all work from the same instruction manuals.