On August 19th I reviewed with you the steps involved in converting a US Driver’s License to an Israeli license. Here’s our status report:
- 17-Aug-2008 Go to an approved Tel Dor or Marmanet branch (optician’s office). Have photo taken, eyes examined, and pay 40 shekel fee. Receive the coveted green form with the results of your eye exam on the back.
- 20-Aug-2008 Make an appointment with a family doctor and go for a physical. The doctor completes the back of the green form and gives an opinion as to whether or not you are healthy enough to operate a motor vehicle.
- 24-Aug-2008 Take the completed green form to Misrad Harishui (Ministry of Vehicle Licensing), along with teudat zehut, teudat oleh and foreign driver’s license.
- 28-Aug-2008 Make an appointment with a driving instructor, take lesson(s), pay 150 shekels per lesson (NBN’s instructions indicated “A driving lesson costs approximately 95 NIS on a manual car and 110 NIS for an automatic car.” but the instructor told us the prices went up in July). Fortunately we each only needed one lesson.
- After your lesson(s), the instructor schedules your test – which you take on his/her vehicle.
20-Oct-2008 Michael received a call on Monday indicating that his test was scheduled for Wednesday, October 22nd at 10:30 a.m.
13-Nov-2008 I was called on Thursday for a Sunday, November 16th appointment at 1:30 p.m.
- Now it’s time to take your test, well, almost… you first have to go to the Post Office THE MORNING of your test with the Misrad HaRishui paperwork and pay a 60 shekel fee for the driving test (NBN’s instructions indicated this would be 57 shekels but the prices went up in July).
22-Oct-2008 Michael managed to do this all on his own!
16-Nov-2008 I paid mine the morning of the test, and found out this could have been paid in advance.
- Take the test and pay the driving instructor 500 shekels for the use of his/her vehicle (note: NBN reports “You are required to pay a 300 NIS fee for the use of the instructor’s car during the exam. Driving instructors are not allowed to charge more than this amount for the use of their vehicle.”, however, as with everything else the price for this went up in July).
22-Oct-2008Michael took the bus from Ma’aleh Adumim at 11:00 AM to the Central Bus Station and then WAITED for the #21 bus to Talpiot which didn’t come on schedule. The bus was stuck in traffic. When he finally arrived in Talpiot, the directions the driving instructor had given were not completely accurate:
HaUman #3, Talpiot it’s the Old Licensing Authority, not the place where you for the paperwork
#21 bus about 2 or 3 stops after Hadar Mall
In Hebrew it is known as Misrad Harishui HaYeshan and everyone knows where that is. Just ask anyone on the street for directions.
“Just ask anyone on the street” turned out to be disastrous! He arrived 5 minutes after the tester left with 2 other people in the car. When the tester returned, he refused to let Michael take the test!
To add salt to the wound, the driving instructor told him that he would have to pay the 500 shekels for use of the car (even though he didn’t use it) before he would be allowed to take another test – for which he’ll have to pay another 500 shekels! Michael is quite frugal and told me he was only going through this for my amusement, and that I will be the only licensed driver in our home if the instructor insists on an additional fee.
16-Nov-2008 update: Fortunately, after inflicting as much guilt as I could on the instructor, he reported that although his office wants to kill him, he managed to get them to waive the extra fee. Michael is now scheduled for Friday, November 21st at 8:20 a.m. – getting there on time could be a major challenge since the buses don’t start running until 5:30 a.m.
21-Nov-2008 update: Michael made it on time and took his test.
16-Nov-2008 I took my test.
- Receive test results from the driving instructor.
21-Nov-2008 update: Michael was supposed to learn the results by 1 p.m. At 3:30 I phoned Eyal and learned that he passed.
16-Nov-2008 I passed 😀
- If you pass the test, the next step is to take the paperwork back to Misrad HaRishui where they will issue you a temporary driver’s license.
25-Nov-2008 Michael trekked back to Talpiot and picked his up.
18-Nov-2008 I picked mine up.
- Take the temporary license stub and fee (up to 500 NIS) to the post office in order for the processing to begin on your permanent license. The permanent license should be mailed to your home address within 8 weeks.
Note: The NBN site indicates the fee is “359 NIS”, however, our driving instructor told me this morning that the fee varies based on age (hopefully not on weight!) and the computer calculates the amount you owe when you show up at the post office to make the payment. 28-Nov-2008 Michael paid his 377 shekel fee at the post office. Total cost: 1127 shekels.
20-Nov-2008 I paid my 379 shekel fee at the post office. Total cost: 1129 shekels ($283.54 at today’s exchange rate using XE’s Universal Currency Converter)
- Receive official driver’s license in the mail.
Michael is waiting.
8-Dec-2008 I received mine in the mail! Just 2-1/2 weeks from the time I paid the processing fee at the post office – they exceeded my expectations! That made the process from start to finish almost four months (but there were several weeks of holidays in there).
As I told you in August, all prices and rules are subject to change without notice! And that’s what happened in our situation, everything was much higher than we were originally told. Even our worst American experiences (the license/registration costs of moving from NY to West Virginia) didn’t come close to that, most States charge less than $75.
Michael feels this is Israel’s way of gouging us – I think its a major opportunity for improvement… there are too many offices/people involved in the process, it needs to be streamlined. Hmmm, I wonder if I could get a Process Improvement job working for the government – probably not, it’s like the road construction in Ohio providing life-time jobs for the contractors and their family members.