Thursday, July 06, 2006

Another experience

There are two ways that you can change your UK drivng license to a Spanish one. The first is to go to one of the agencies who will do it for you for 50€ or you can do it yourself for 16,50€ (the actual cost of the transfer).

We chose to do the latter with the help of our friends John and Jean. The nearest Trafico office is in Alicante. Rather than try to negotiate the traffic and find somewhere to park we went there on the train from Orihuela. At 4,50€ for a return ticket it was probably cheaper than paying for the diesel and the parking fees and was a damn sight less stressful.

The system is well organised in that you go to the Informacion desk and get the forms you need. Having filled them out you go to the Caja and pay the fees. You are given a numbered ticket which indicates when it is your turn to be seen. You watch the board for your number and when it comes up it shows you which Ventanilla to go to. There you present your documents and if they are all correct come away with a temporary license. As you can see the place was full of people changing licenses, renewing licenses etc etc. The office is only open from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm and deals with hundreds of people in that time.

The English book we have tells us that you need one photograph, your residencia card plus a photocopy along with your old license plus a photocopy to complete the procedure. In fact you need two photographs, your old license plus two photocopies and a photocopy of both sides of your residencia card. In our case because the address on our residencia cards is the plot number rather than our actual address we also had took copies of our Certificado de Empadronamiento (our registration document from the Town Hall in Bigastro). Luckily the lady accepted our documents and gave us each a temporary Permiso de Conduccion. The plastic card licenses will arrive sometime in the future.

The whole process took us two and a half hours. Afterwards went for a drink and then onto a restaurante for a delightful lunch.

Apparently there are two branches of El Corte Ingles in Alicante so we visited both. Then weary but satisfied that we had accomplished what we set out to do we returned to Orihuela on the train.

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