Gefilte Fish Out of Water

Getting Driver’s License – Parts 3 & 4
January 16, 2010, 11:03 am
Filed under: Friends, Official Immigrant Stuff | Tags: ,

"Ministry of Licensing"

First, quick whine that I totes had a better lead pic for this post – of me being cute & smiling holding my paperwork in front of the processing window, wearing my “fashion risk” retro glasses, which always get props and I’m not often photographed in – [whew! mouthful], but I accidentally deleted it by mistake.  #FAIL

Anyway, so we’re back to the continuing saga of Israeli bureaucracy and how it relates to getting one’s driver’s license here.

Part 3 actually happened a couple of weeks ago.  I took my official green form to my primary care physician, so he could complete and sign off on the medical portion of it.  I take some prescription meds, and he asked me one question regarding these – Do you ever get sleepy during the day? I’m like, Well, sometimes I like to take a midday naps, but no, it’s not like I’ve got narcolepsy and pass out during a game of yahtzee or anything. He wrote some shiz on there, signed it and that was it.

My friend Yoda Jeremy was also in the same boat as me, so we coordinated and went to do Part 4 together.  That was surprisingly painless.  I visited a bunch of websites, found out the exact branch of the licensing place we had to go that was closest to us and even coordinated our bus route.  At 7:30 a.m. Jeremy and I met at my office so we could make photocopies of our American & Canadian licenses (my boo is from Toronto), and we walked over to Dizengoff to take the # 1 or # 2 (whichever one came first) to the Misrad HaRishuey (Ministry of Licensing).  Both of them stopped exactly at our destination.

We were both armed with:

  1. Official Green Form (with eyesight test filled in by optometrist and medical part filled in by doctor).
  2. Teudat Oleh (proof we are new immigrants, in Israel for less than one year – otherwise, we’d have to take a written exam, too – that’s the whole reason I’m taking care of this now. I don’t really plan to drive a lot, but this process would be even harder if I waited, so I’m just getting the license to have it.
  3. Teudat Zehut (official government I.D.)
  4. Foreign Passport
  5. Valid foreign driver’s license
  6. Photocopy of same

Except – uh-uh, Israel…not so fast.  I know how you work.  I’m not shlepping out on this bus at the crack of dawn (really just to a suburb south of Tel Aviv called Holon, not far at all; and more like 7:30 a.m. – but who’s counting), only get to the window and be asked, But where’s [such & such document]? I’ve been burned before, and so this time, I took extra precautions, and also brought my Israeli passport, which wasn’t even on the list and a stool sample.

So, we get there, and Jeremy cracks up when he sees this area outside where all the people are on motor scooters taking their tests to get licenses for them.  He’s like, LOL, they actually take tests so they can all drive like maniacs !?!

We go inside, and realize that is not just the Israeli equivalent of the DMV; it’s for lots of other kinds of license, too.  The driver’s license window is window # 8.  We go up and take numbers, then sit down.  They were on, like, # 514 and we had #s 524 & 525, so we had a little while to wait, but not too long.

Just enough, in fact, for us to sort of check in with each other and reassess how we’re doing, becoming established in Israel after both being here nearly a year; what we think is ahead for us next year, our fears, what is working out, what isn’t, yada yada yada.  I snap some BBery pics for G-Fish, and Jeremy gets a little nervous about my doing so.

Our turn comes, and we go up together.  Jeremy goes first, forks over his docs, the lady punches some shiz into a computer, and he gets his green form back with the official stamp he needs to go on to Step 5.

My turn.  I do the same thing, lady does the same procedure, it’s all going very smoothly and then –

Roadblock.  She tells me, Yours, we have to keep for one week.  You take some medications, and a doctor must look at this form and initial it. Nice redundant step in the bureaucracy, Israel!  A doctor has already signed off on this once, and now you’re going to have a doctor sit with me and ask me about/verify what’s on the form…no, you’re just gonna have him sign his initials next to the other doctor’s , without having even met me or anything.  Masterful redundancy, Israel, gotta hand it to you!

Anyway, so no big deal, she’ll call me back this coming week (I hope).

Jeremy proceeds to Step 5.  There’s all these shisters driving instructors that hang outside the Misrad (ministry).  We call this one guy Raffi that my friend Johnny (who’s been through this last year) used, but Jeremy says there’s really loud music playing in the background and he can’t deal, and so we hang up.  He sees a guy approaching us holding a bunch of the green forms and just asks him, Are you a driving instructor? He is.  His name’s Avi.  Jeremy and he exchange numbers, he takes Jeremy’s green form, and says he’ll call next week and give him an appointment time for his driving test.

We had heard that these vultures instructors insist you take a driving lesson from them first and that you’re supposed to say yes.  (Then, when you take your driving exam, it has to be in the same instructor’s car, for whatever reason.)  Then, they offer you a second “mini-lesson” for the same day as your exam, and you’re supposed to decline it.  Well, Avi was slightly less vulturistic than the rest I guess, b/c when we asked about this, he’s like, Nah! You don’t have to take a lesson!  Look, if you want one, we can do it, but…. Just to be safe (since, look – this is a different country, and there might be some nuances or tips it’d be good to get from someone who knows before you actually have your test), Jeremy makes an appointment for a lesson the same day as his test.

That’s kinda it.  He takes his test on Wednesday.  I’m still waiting to hear back from the Misrad Lady.  I’m optimistic that I will.  It’s kinda Classic Israel that I did everything right and still got an unexpected surprise/delay that added an extra step into things.  But I’m just rolling with it.  It made for a better post anyway.


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[…] me & Jeremy were waiting our turn at the Misrad HaRishuey for Step 4 of getting our Israeli driver’s licenses, we had some time to shoot the shit.  J talked about his dog care business and exploring plans to […]

Pingback by “But dude, you’re already doing it!” « Gefilte Fish Out of Water

[…] working so hard to get my green form, I was a little nervous about leaving it behind with the woman behind the counter, who told me I had to have a doctor sign-off that the medications […]

Pingback by Getting Driver’s License – Part 4.5 « Gefilte Fish Out of Water

[…] that’s it, huh?  The whole beaurocratic process is finito?  That wasn’t so bad.  HaHaHaHa, Silly wabbit – this is Israel !   No, it […]

Pingback by Getting Driver’s License – Parts 5, 6 & 6.5 « Gefilte Fish Out of Water

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