New Normality – Driving License in Spain

Jeff passed his drivers license practical exam back at the end of January. His temporary license was good for 90 days. In that time, he was supposed to receive his actual card – but pandemic being what it was – that didn’t happen. He was driving without a valid license to take me to appointments. We didn’t have mail service for a huge portion of lock down so he had no idea when to expect it. We did hear that the police would be understanding.

Drum roll, please! He’s got his license. The one with the picture taken all that time ago in the Metro station in late 2019, which seems like 100 years right about now. And just in time, too. According to authorities in our local paper, the DGT system (Department of Motor Vehicles, to you and me) is collapsing with a backlog of over 42,000 drivers license tests. I can’t imagine wading through that!

‘You’re welcome’ I told Jeff, as he examined the card. Pro Tip: Sometimes when your wife nags you about something, you might want to listen to her and do what she says. It could pay off. Just sayin’.

They’re advising people in Valencia who want to start the process of getting their driving license completed to wait until next year. In Phase II they can only take 50% of those to sit the exam at any given time. That means the test goes from 70 participants to 35 per exam session. To maintain social distancing. And the practical driving tests can’t start up until Phase III – which we’ve yet to enter. Even then, they’ll only allow a reduced number per examiner to limit exposure.

Something I didn’t know is that they usually close down testing in summer, but this year they will keep it going. So hopefully, that will help with the backlog.

NOTE: I’ve updated the information on my Lessons Learned page for getting a Spanish Driving license for Americans and non-EU residents.

Yesterday, I got a message from the guy who sold us our car. Yes. That guy who was hospitalized with pneumonia 15 minutes after we last saw him and shook his hands 20 times with no hand sanitizer, and then went and had a coffee. I think it was our first contact with the virus. Like us, he’s recovered now and, while still on unemployment and not been brought back to work, he texted me to let me know that the official registration/title of our car is available at the dealership, since we’re in Phase II – ready when we are. Now that is service! I can’t recommend purchasing a car from these people highly enough. Seriously.

Our temporary registration/title has been expired since March 30. So we’ve been driving illegally without that, too. Yup – just how we like to do it. Flying without a net all the way around, for months now. You can say it – we’re mavericks.

While getting our licenses is in our rear view mirror, this one thing demonstrates in a small way, just how many areas of all our lives will be impacted for a long time to come. Things we wouldn’t have even considered a few months ago, will now require a great deal more patience and understanding as we navigate the world. And I’m sure we haven’t identified many of them yet, but they will appear from the fog of deescalation. The Spanish government couldn’t have been more correct when they called it ‘The New Normality.’ Each of us will have to take a deep breath and adjust.

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