Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Some things are all the same... matter where you are in the world.  Yesterday, I spent from 8:30 AM to nearly 3 PM at the DVLA (Driver & Vehicle Licensing Authority) aka the Ghanaian DMV.  If you thought the American DMV was...irritating, then I'm not sure what word to use for the DVLA.

Let's get the play by play:

* Arrive at DVLA and pick up "instruction pamphlet" from receptionist (8:30 AM)
- Foreign License Conversion Requirements:
* Valid foreign driver's license
* Photocopy of license
* Letter of introduction from employer
* Pay 1 cedi (about 63 cents) to get driver's license photocopied (8:40)
* Enter line to verify documentation - number 7 in the queue (8:45)
* Enter office of the "big boss" to get documentation verified (9:15)

* Leave DVLA office to go to "the bank" to pay for the license, eye test, and various fees (9:30)
* Enter bank, wait in line, pay 34 cedis (about 20 bucks), and receive driver's license application (9:40)
* Return to DVLA office to fill out documentation and wait in new line (9:45)

* Enter new office with an assistant of the "big boss" to review filled out application (10:30)
* Get told that I need to have 4 passport photos made to complete application (10:33)
* Get hissed at and told to "listen" when I explained to him that passport photos are not one of the requirements to convert a foreign driver's license to a Ghanaian one according to his pamphlet (10:34)

* Leave DVLA office to pay for overpriced passport photos just outside of DVLA office (10:35)
* Pay 10 cedis (about $6.25) for some random dude in a shack to take a 4-shot polaroid and cut them up (10:50)
* Re-enter line to get application re-verified (11:00)
* Re-enter office of assistant who hissed at me earlier and get application verified (11:30)
* Leave Mr. Hisser's office after telling me to come back tomorrow to have "big boss" approve my application (I negotiated for 1:30 PM same day) (11:35)

* Return to DVLA to check on status of application (1:30 PM)
* Enter office of Mr. Hisser to be told it is still on the big boss' desk (1:35)
* Stand (not sit) in line outside of big boss' office until I obtain signed application (2:25)
* Return to Mr. Hisser's office to talk to different assistant about next step (2:30)
* Make friends with different really helpful assistant by giving him my pen which leads to next step facilitation (2:35)
* Enter back door of next office and drop name of Mr. Helpful to get new digital photo made for license (not the passport photos) (2:40)
* Leave last office with temporary license (2:45)

So, as a result, I leave you with this video:


  1. Some things never change, Ben. I think I met Mr. Hisser when I was there too! Get excited for when you get the real license. It's pretty cool. =)

  2. Hi Hun, tired to post a couple of times, hope this one makes it through. You are a patient guy...hope the real license is cool... love Dad