September 13, 2006
UK Driving License Marathon, etc.
Here in England, my United States Driver's License is good for one year after officially moving into the country. That means I have until August 11th, 2007 to finish pursuing the complicated process of getting a UK Driving License. The process involves:
- driving 30 minutes from our house to the DVLA (DMV equivalent) in Reading (a city to which I've never been so far)
- having them sign the back of my photo because I haven't yet lived in the country for two years (otherwise I could do this at a local post office nearby)
- surrendering my U.S. Passport to them, and letting them mail it (along with a signed form & the photo) to the DVLA in Swansea which processes applications for Provisional Driving Licenses
- not seeing my passport for 3 weeks while in a foreign country (this makes me nervous, not to mention my passport wandering around the country in the mail)
- receiving a Provisional Driving License, which enables me to apply for the Theory Test
- booking a time slot for the Theory Test online, which usually has a 2-3 week wait
- studying the British Highway Code so I can pass the test (must get 30/35 correct, and without any studying I got 28/35 on a mock test, so I don't imagine it will be too hard with a little studying)
- passing the theory test (including a special section of that called the "Hazard Perception" test), which enables me to apply for the Practical Test
- booking a time slot for the Practical Test, which can have a wait time of 4-8 weeks
- booking some driving lessons, which have a wait time of 2 weeks or so in my town
- taking the driving lessons and learning to drive the particular British way they require for the tests
- taking the Practical Test
- passing the Practical Test (I hear it's not easy), which then enables me to send in my Provisional License, my Theory Test certification, and my Practical Test certification to the DVLA Swansea, and wait a few more weeks until they send me my Full License.
I think I'd better get started, eh? All those wait times add up to about 17 weeks or so - 4 months?). So far, I've:
a) figured out this much of the process (if I'm wrong about anything, please let me know; I'd love to hear they'll just send me a license if I wish it hard enough)
b) bought the official DVD/CD-Rom set to prepare me for the theory test, the "hazard perception" test, and the practical test (to know what to expect)
c) taken the shrink-wrap off the item mentioned in b)
d) talked to a local post office, the central post office answer line, the DVLA in Swansea, and the driving instructor
e) booked two driving lessons for 2 and 3 weeks from now
f) filled out the provisional license application form and found a passport photo and clipped it slightly to be the right size
g) prayed to ask God to help me get the license, to take away my anxiety, and help me trust Him with the whole process (I'm just a little worried...)
In the meantime, I also somehow took on being the Room Parent for my son's 7th Grade class (mostly an email responsibility, which is why I agreed), so I spent all day sending welcome emails to class parents asking them to verify all their contact information, typing up a class list, and devising a class Emergency Telephone Pyramid. Now this is right up my alley - organizing information on paper/computer and chasing down details. Just don't ask me to recruit people or get people to give money.
And a new friend lent me a 474-page novel which I want to read quickly as a gesture of growing the friendship. I'm on page 46.
And my desk has still NEVER been truly cleared off since we moved into this house 2 months ago. I REALLY want to get that done.
And I have six scheduled events tomorrow:
- take kids to school
- go to the first meeting of a women's interchurch Bible Study
- go to a Room Parent meeting to learn how to do that
- go to a sweat-producing meeting with all three principals of the school (Lower School, Middle School, High School) and 5 parents about the miserable French program at the school (that's another saga - I'm still trying to find a French tutor for my kids)
- pick up son at school
- pick up daughter at friend's house
I hope to get back to posting regularly sometime this year.
September 13, 2006 | Permalink
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Take five deep breaths, ask God for strength, and trust in Him completely, as He is up to it.
Posted by: Patricia Taylor | Sep 14, 2006 2:08:32 AM
Good luck & Godspeed.
And thanks for answering an unasked question about obtaining a driver's licenses in the UK. The thought has been bouncing around in my mind for a couple of months now. Go figure.
Posted by: Jennifer Knighton | Sep 14, 2006 7:32:05 AM
I remember when Heather and I passed the UK driving test - it was a HUGE sense of accomplishment!
It makes the US tests look like kindergarden.
Those driving lessons will be a big help in giving you the tools you'll need to know (never let the hands cross over each other on the steering wheel, etc.)
You'll do fine!
Posted by: paul merrill | Sep 14, 2006 10:20:36 AM
Sounds like a pain, but you'll get there, one step at a time. You'll have to have a "get UK license" party when you're done!
Posted by: Helen | Sep 14, 2006 11:14:06 PM
While I was waiting for my friend from Munich, Brigitte to get through customs (two hours) on Tuesday, a lady from Ireland told me a similar horror story of how she had to know all the Presidents of the United States, dates of treaties, etc. etc. to become a naturalized US citizen years ago. "Now," she said, "You just need to slip over the border in the middle of the night." Hurdle jumping is what life is --- I know how good you are at that, Katherine. It's all about being refined like silver. God bless you. Aunt Willow
Posted by: Willow | Sep 15, 2006 4:23:44 AM