Saturday, November 17, 2012

My New Driver's License

It was 2 days ago when it dawned on me that my driver's license was expiring, and sure enough the subsequent panic spoiled my composure when it has only less than 24 hours to exist legally. Finding myself jumping out of bed so early in years was the next and most appropriate thing to do. This time I had to leave my larger-than-amoeba Suzuki Alto behind, as trooping to the place where to renew my license could be a hellish experience considering the never-ending excavations in Jeddah's major thoroughfares. I also kept telling myself not to meltdown when confronted with a Guiness-worthy bureaucracy (heard a lot of them and experienced quite a lot too). Sure enough, better be prepared to learn how to read in Arabic as English is not a known thing in that part of the world; yes you had to pay 20 rials minimum to hire someone else to fill out your form.

At first I went to Dallah office where I first got my license only to be told that the renewal is being done another 2 or 3 blocks away in their Muror office. When I went in, there's no queue, in fact, there were hardly any people inside. I thought it would be difficult to renew a driver's license, but it was actually very easy.

I first have to pay SR.200 (a little over $50) through a bank ATM which is located outside their office, then stand in a queue to submit all the necessary papers. They only require a photo copy of my iqama, a passport size photo and my expired driver's license. After giving them my papers, they told me to wait. Unfortunately, their system was down, so I have to comeback in the afternoon. When I returned, I simply asked the person behind the counter about my license and showed my iqama and he simply reached out and gave it to me, just like that.

And so, I've got another 5 years of driving to do around Saudi Arabia, God willing. I thank God for his help. First for reminding me of my license, for the ease of the process of renewing my license and for my friend who helped me through all of these. Thank you Lord Jesus!