Since Ohio only states the date that you renew your drivers license and not the date that you first got a drivers license, I had to prove to the Swiss that I have been driving longer than three years. If I hadn’t I would have been considered a new driver which required me to take 16 hours of driving lessons setting us back about one thousand dollars. I would have only had one year to complete these classes and the first had to be completed within six months of my temporary Swiss license issue date. Basically, I would have had to let the temporary Swiss driving license expire without taking the classes because we do not have the money to spend on it.
However, I was able to get proof from the Ohio BMV to successfully prove that I was a licensed driver before my last Ohio drivers license was issued in 2006. I ordered my drivers license history which was no help. It only showed a speeding ticket. It did not state that I was a licensed driver when I got the speeding ticket in 2002. So, I called the Ohio BMV and explained that I needed solid proof that I was a licensed driver longer than three years.
I was told to order my drivers license application from before the one in 2006. I did that and it was the proof I needed. I got an official copy of my drivers license application from year 2002. The application shows the date of issuance as 2002 which proves I was a licensed driver for longer than three years.
I am no longer considered a new driver!
At first we were told by the vehicle department in the Jura that we may have to translate the Ohio documents. He took the documents along with my temporary Swiss driving license and told us they would examine the documents and make a decision within ten business days.
Today, I got my new Permis de conduire in the mail and it has no expiration date! The Swiss get their license for life with no renewal. In France, it is the same as the Swiss but there has been debate over a new European drivers license which would need to replaced every ten or fifteen years.
I have a driving category B which means I can only drive a car.
Vilay has a driving category of A1 and B which means he can drive motorcycles that don’t exceed 11Kw as well as a car. He exchanged his French driving license which must give him this extra category that my Ohio drivers license does not.
Two of the Swiss mothers compared my drivers license to theirs to see if they were the same. They are not. Both of the mothers are able to drive cars pulling a small trailer, motorcycles and even larger vehicles such as a bus.
If Vilay and I ever want to pull a small trailer for luggage while we are on vacation we will have to get that added to our permits.
I think we will manage without. :)
I am so happy to FINALLY exchange my Ohio drivers license for one that is good in Europe. I had no such luck in France and caution all those moving country to research this information BEFORE you move. Then, you can make sure you have all the CORRECT information (do not rely on the other country’s authorities) and documents you will need to successfully exchange your current license for one in your new country without going through what I have.
I had decided that it wouldn’t work out and I would not be able to drive until we could afford to send me to driving school in a few years which is unbelievably expensive. Therefore, I was prepared to take the train and bus everywhere I needed to go without Vilay. Now, I don’t HAVE to even if I most likely still will when I work and we buy a car. I like reading on the train and bus and I hate dealing with traffic.
However, I CAN drive!!!
Wait a second that was just NOT loud enough.
I CAN DRIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Believe me when I tell you that I have a HUGE smile on my face.
Things are looking up and it is about time.