Rule Britannia (Bureaucracy)

Whereas it is probably too simple to obtain a driver’s licence in the States; it seems nearly impossible here. I will not even get to into all the mishaps I’ve had so far (and I have not even been able to apply for the test yet!).
Several weeks ago I called the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) to find out what I needed to do to obtain a licence; fill out these forms and take them to your local Post Office—you’ll also need to show your passport for verification. Okay, simple enough. I fill out the forms and go to a specific kind of post office that can verify my documents. However, the woman there says she can’t verify a foreign passport. The guidelines say “If you have a digital UK passport you can register online…if you do not have a digital UK passport your local post office can verify your documents.” This means if you do not have a digital UK passport but have a older paper UK passport, not that you have a passport from another country. So, okay, what do I need to do? I find out that I’ll need to go to a DVLA office and they can verify the passport there.

On Monday morning, I went to the Edinburgh DVLA. The Edinburgh DVLA is on the periphery of the city in a business park…far away from everything. I went in, filled out the form again since my address has changed since the last attempt, and went to speak with the clerk.

“Yes, yes, here are all the documents.”
“Oh, but we can’t verify your documents here, we have to send them to England.”
“But, but, I was told…”
“No, we just don’t do it here.”
“Uurgh! Okay, alright, how long will you hold my passport?”
“Well, it’s supposed to be fifteen days—but sometimes it can take two months.”
“Oh and you’ll need to give us a pre-stamped registered mail envelope or we’ll just send your passport regular first class.”
“Where can I get that?”
“There is no post office out here; you’ll have to go back into town.”
“Okay, forget it; I have to go to a meeting and don’t have time for this today!”

I would have been upset; but the whole situation is becoming so ludicrous, that I find it silly. I can’t wait to see what happens after I actually apply and try to take the tests!

The easiest thing so far was obtaining my National Insurance Number; I have a job and they want me to pay taxes.