16 July 2014

Driving Privileges

I've actually gotten my act together and have an official Dutch driver's license. This might not seem like much, but the requirements for even just getting the paperwork are far more stringent than anything I dealt with in the States, even when I was first going for my road test at 17.

So what made this process so long? The short answer is: several appointments and loads of paperwork. 

First, we had to make an appointment with the Gemeentehuis Tilburg (Tilburg City Hall) to pick up an Eigen Verklaring - a personal statement declaring that we were mentally and physically fit to drive. Once it's completed and mailed it, you wait for the approval letter from the CBR office. We didn't have to, but if you find yourself indicating that you have particular conditions or medications, you'll have to have an additional form filled out by your physician declaring that your condition/medication doesn't interfere with your ability to drive. Once that was out of the way, we called the Belastingdienst (Tax Office) for confirmation that we qualify for the special "30%" tax rules (given to "highly skilled workers" and their partners). 

We took the CBR approval letter, the Belastingdienst confirmation letter, passport-sized photos, and our US licenses to another appointment at the Gemeentehuis for someone to process our requests to exchange our licenses. We waited several weeks for everything to process, and, voila! Dutch licenses! And they're valid for 10 years, which was surprising when you're used to renewing one every 4 years. 

For those that don't come from an country approved for direct exchanges and/or have a 30% tax rule, there's a written test (and potentially a road test) required for your Dutch license. Check the official website, www.rijbewijs.nl, for information related to your particular circumstances. My friend Farrah over at The Three Under has had an interesting time getting her's exchanged - you can follow her on Facebook for the fun details. 

And now for the real challenge of the license process - learning to drive a manual transmission. I'm willing to bet it's going to be one heck of an adventure for the poor kind soul that brings me out the first time. 

Do you have any tips or tricks to getting a Dutch license? Or have you had to exchange a foreign license before?

4 comments:

  1. That seems pretty easy! In Sweden not so easy hence my still not driving!

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  2. Congratulations! It always feels like such an accomplishment to do things that we'd normally consider fairly basic back home. Your post reminded me of our long-winded process to get German driver's licenses. We didn't have get a medical exam, thank goodness! http://wp.me/p13Ig0-vm

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  3. It wasn't too bad, but it was a lot more paperwork and appointments than I expected.

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  4. Thanks! It's really a trip to think about how different the processes are!

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