Thursday, November 15, 2012
Getting A Drivers License In Argentina
1. Patience. Everything in Argentina requires lots and lots of patience. You will stand in line for hours and go to several different offices. Getting pissy with the person behind the counter will prove to be unproductive. He/she is a government employee and gets paid whether you get what you need or not. A smile goes a long ways. But so does being persistent about getting what you need.
2. When seeking advice from your Argentine friends ignore all of it as it will most likely be false.
3. When someone says you can obtain a license in one day that person is full of shit. It's not going to happen. Plan on at least 3 days if you are fortunate. Buy a bit of extra wine that week to relax yourself in the evenings...
In the city of Esquel, which lies in Central Patagonia, the requirements are more or less straight forward (by Argentina standards).
First, you must go to the REPAT (San Martin 1129) in order to get a certificate of antecedentes del transito...they will certify that you are free of any outstanding traffic violation fines. The office will run a report, you will pay for it and they will give you a receipt. You will then take your paper to a "Pago Facil" station, the national bank or post office and pay a small amount. Then you will return with your pay stub and receive your report.
Secondly, you will head to your local "Tribunal Municipal De Faltas Jusgado Unico Municipatlidad De Esquel" (819 Av. Avlear) , No, I am not shitting you, that is the name of this place. They will certify that you have no outstanding debt on your vehicle. They will run the report, give you a receipt after you pay your 10 pesos. It is one of the few places you can pay directly without going to the post office or national bank.
Thirdly, if you don't have a current license which indicates your blood type you will need to go to an analytic laboratory and pay them to take your blood and analyze your blood type. This cost me 60 pesos. I went to Dr. Omar Daher at 25 de Mayo 372. They were very friendly and quick.
Next, make copies of the first and second pages of your DNI which have all of the important data. Also, bring your actual DNI.
When you bring all of your documents they will schedule you for two exams. The first will be a medical and psychological exam and the other will be a theoretical exam. They will, of course, take place on different days and locations. The first takes place at municipal building. The doctor will take you into a room after you have filled out a health questionnaire. He will ask you a series of question and out you go. Mine took less than 2 minutes. The theoretical exam takes place at the bus terminal in Esquel. The 'exam' is an oral one of 20 questions, of which you are allow to answer incorrectly only 2. Not to worry though, if you don't know the answer they will "steer" you into it. When that is finished he will take you to your automobile and ask you to to a loop around town. It seemed to me that it was more a formality than anything.
After going through all of this horse shit you will be required to present your exam papers to the municipal office where you began. At this point they may attempt to take and destroy your current drivers license. This law only applies to Argentines, so politely tell them to kiss your ass because you will need the license in your home country. They will make a copy of your license and return it if you are adamant about it.
When you present your exam results they will hand you a bill that you must pay at the office next door. You will almost certainly encounter a long line there but, by then, you will be accustomed to waiting in line. 30-40 minutes later you will have paid your $80 pesos, returned to the DMV office, presented your receipt and they will have handed you your newly issued National Argentine Drivers License. This license entitles you to drive anywhere in the country.
All of this for a drivers license. To the uninitiated this may seem like an insane number of things to deal with in order to drive a car legally. It is and it's just a way of life here in Argentina.
I welcome your comments....