Driver’s License Conversion in South Africa – 2021
What an experience! Not a bad one though. I was honestly expecting a horrible experience, but it wasn’t bad at all.
I went last year as soon as my ID came out. That was not a pleasant experience at all, but I am glad that is sorted. Glad that I don’t have to renew it unlike the Botswana one… yep, every 10 years! I think next time I will try renew it at the embassy instead of going to Botswana to renew it.
Anyway, this is not about my ID woes.
So, last year I got my ID and straight after decided to get the license converted. When I got to the traffic department I was told I needed a letter from the embassy. I initially thought I would need to go into the embassy for this letter so I delayed doing anything. And then covid hit and we went into lockdown.
This year I started the process again. Called the embassy and got details of the person who could assist me. Emailed them my details and they got me a letter from the Transport department in Botswana as well as a letter from the embassy. Now the first mistake I made was assuming I could simply print out the copies the embassy sent me.
So with the print out, I went back to the Traffic Department. I get there and they ask me if I have been to Dorp street. 🙂 Of course I had not. So they gave me a print out with the details of who to call so back home I went. I wasn’t at the traffic department long so I didn’t mind.
Got home and called Dorp Street. Asked if copies are okay and they said nope, originals. So I had to ask for the originals. That wasn’t a problem. 2 days later I had the originals. Then off to Dorp street I went. Of course I got lost. But a quick phone call to the help desk and they pointed me to the right place. I was there for 15-20 minutes.
I have always believed in going super early to places. Like way early before everyone is there.. just so I can be first in line. For the traffic department, people online were saying they were helped quicker mid morning or right before closing time. So I did not go to the traffic department too early. For Dorp street, I simply don’t like getting stuck in traffic going in and out of town so I went midday. Paid off. Now I am not saying don’t go early, in fact, when you need to go in to home affairs, you need to go in super early.
Back to the license conversion…
So I went back to the Traffic Department. Sadly I arrived on the day that more than half the staff had called in sick so the queue was moving extremely slow. I knew it was going to take at most 2 hours so I stayed. Managed to get in and get my eyes tested. Then I was told I needed someone who does license conversions to verify my documents. She was extremely busy but I got an appointment for a few days later. Went back and she assisted me and I went in to pay and got my temporary license. And now I am waiting for the license to come out. Happiness all around.
Seems long, but it wasn’t that long and most of all it wasn’t painful. Traffic department is at most 9 km from my house. And they are super friendly, helpful and efficient.