A personal update on the Driving licence Fiasco

Dear Sir,
This actually started a couple of weeks or so ago with lots of conflicting information about the situation regarding foreign driving licences.
I do a lot of late night driving, frequently get spot-checked and really don’t have time to be the guinea pig in the test case that the Citizens Advice Bureau seem itching to bring.
Therefore, a visit to Calvia Town Hall to find out more information on the driving licence situation was in order.
I was advised, very definitely advised, that I wouldn’t have to renew my licence, but would have to register it. They made an appointment for me for this week, thank you very much, sorted.
So I turned up at Traffico 15 minutes early for my appointment on the first floor.
Surprisingly, I was the only customer in the room, and even more surprisingly, having been told I had to wait till my number came up on the screen, so I had to wait 5 minutes for the girl to press the button to call me to her desk. She told me I needed to go to the next floor up.
On the next floor I saw a young lady who looked at my licence and told me that, due to the fact that the time between the start date on my licence and the expiry of some of the sections was more than 15 years, I had to replace my licence with a Spanish one.
This meant getting a medical, there were several medical centres nearby who would do it more or less straight away.
This medical is not exactly stringent. I saw one poor old guy shamble out of the doctor’s room and thought, “By heck, if he can pass, anyone can.” It turned out, he was the doctor!
Forty five minutes, and sixty euros later, armed with a piece of paper that basically said I was able to fog a mirror, I returned to Traffico and remade my appointment.
A further twenty minutes of, “Your appointment is on the first floor.” “They sent me up here.” “You don’t have an appointment.” “This is my appointment.” “That is for the first floor.” “I’ve just been there, they sent me up here,” a different guy finally agreed to look at my licence again.
His exact words when he did were, in English, “This is a European licence, it has an end date, you don’t have to do anything. Go home, drive your car, be happy, Bye Bye.”
Even by Spanish bureaucracy standards this was shocking.
A few rounds of, “I have just paid 60€  for a medical that you now say I don’t need, “*Shrug*” If I don’t need this, why was I told I did?” “Shrug*”
 Eventually the woman who had told me I needed it came over; they walked away and started arguing.
Then a third person joined in the arguing.  After 5 minutes of heated conversation and pointing at my original licence, he came back and started filling in forms.
He was obviously angry; no-one needs to use rubber stamps that forcefully! Smile emotion 10 minutes and another 23€ later it was done.
They still have my licence, I have a stamped photocopy to show the police while I’m waiting 4 to 8 weeks for my shiny new Spanish licence to arrive.
“What happens if I have to go to the UK in the meantime and need to hire a car?” “Shrug*”.
So, what are the conclusions?
Did I need to get my licence renewed, or even registered?
Did the guy who told me I didn’t need it doing just want to finish early, safe in the knowledge that there wouldn’t be any repercussions on him personally if I got fined?
To be honest, I have no idea.
I do know that, given the option to start the whole thing again, I wouldn’t.
Total cost of licence, medical, car parking and petrol, over €90.00, not to mention the time and the hassle, against what I believe is a possible 200€ fine, I’d take my chances.

Andy Charlton

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