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Exchanging a GB driving licence
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erehwon
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 3:00 pm 
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Thought I'd throw my two penn'th of experiences into the ring..

I tried to exchange my driving licence using my BG permanent residency card but was told that the address was not valid on the obshtinata/MBR database. The migration dept denied this and said it was good, but no one else (who counted) agreed. Then proceeded to visit various scenic places, such as our village Mayor and the local cadastre office.

Hmmmmm...As often 'appens, (see above) my main residence is in an unregulated villa zone and it seems that the MBR migration dept simply plucked an address out of the air when creating my residency card 10 years ago. (Was I surprised? - not really)

So I've already had the cadastre 'survey boys' out to remedy that and already have the deeds book which will 'get us all official' with the obshtinata and others... But the wheels of government do turn exceedingly slow and anything achieved would be far too late for Theresa May's (possible) impending bullet and my licence exchange.

So I transferred my residency to a flat I also (hem-hem) 'happen to own' Smile ... Great stuff and express processing for a new (10-year) residency card took the usual 3 working days. So I am now a city slicker and not a country bumpkin..

Next stop KAT!!... Went there with all the bits needed, including a medical certificate for a Category B only licence. But here I rather suspect that some misinformation crept in. I have quite an old licence from the early 1970's - a photocard certainly now, as I am a modern man, but it's still full of different categories, like they used to give you in those days so that you could jump into assorted categories of vehicle as a 'provisional' and drive off and kill yourself (and others).

Here KAT told me that they couldn't do just a category B licence for me and if that's what I really wanted, then I would have to send my licence back to the UK to get all the 'extras' removed and then go back to them, whereupon they would 'oblige me' with just a Category B licence...

Or.... KAT could do me a full Category C licence!.. Simply upgrade my medical certificate to the all-singing, all-dancing 20-stamps-and-signatures version (no medical questions or examination involved whatsoever) and Robert will soon be your mother's brother!!

Having lived here for some years now, I am a great believer in the line-of-least-resistance theory... So that's exactly what I did... Smile

I'll know the outcome in about a month, as no express processing option was offered to me because KAT said that they will have to talk to their pals at the DVLA (and good luck to them!)
  
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Seedy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:53 pm 
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Good luck with all that - and do keep us posted, even if the "Cancel Article 50" petition is eventually signed by everyone in the UK and LINO still refuses to acknowledge it.... Cool
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tonytg806
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:19 pm 
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Reading Erewhon's experience of trying to exchange his driving licence makes me feel that I was fortunate with no real hiccups. Now my new licence is on my wallet, needless to say no one wants to see it!

I was stopped at a road check by the police a couple of weeks ago near Kavarna and although it seemed that they wanted to check all my documents, but not my driving licence!!!! Figure that one out Rolling Eyes
  
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erehwon
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:28 pm 
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tonytg806 wrote:
Reading Erewhon's experience of trying to exchange his driving licence makes me feel that I was fortunate with no real hiccups. Now my new licence is on my wallet, needless to say no one wants to see it!

I was stopped at a road check by the police a couple of weeks ago near Kavarna and although it seemed that they wanted to check all my documents, but not my driving licence!!!! Figure that one out Rolling Eyes

Yeah - but maybe they might be a bit more keen on seeing your licence in the event of the UK actually leaving the EU, as and when they stop you, and find that you are from the UK....

Currently there's probably little/no potential money to be made from it... UK-registered vehicles, many of which abound in BG, driven round by both 'Englanders' and BG-ers, might also get a bit of extra attention if the UK leaves the EU...

As you'll know, it's pretty random here in BG - Whereas in the event of a police-stop in the UK (not that I can remember as I've not lived there for so long), even if the computer says 'yes' to you having all the correct documents, they'll still be climbing all over the car trying to find the slightest thing wrong with it, in order to dish you out some points/a fine.

Much more 'refreshing' here, I feel... but even so, I still try to follow the rules Smile
  
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erehwon
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 3:26 pm 
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My final entry on this thread for now... But let's do it all again in 5 years time!!

As posted above, the due date for collection of my spanking new Bulgarian licence was slated as the 19th of April. However 1) I've been busy and 2) I sort-of-knew it wouldn't be ready on that date - call it a gut feeling, if you like...

Anyway - I went to KAT this morning - the waiting time for the 'B' prefix queue tickets (collecting licence) isn't as long as for 'A' tickets (submitting paperwork), so I 'only' had to queue for an hour. In fact, I went across the road and had a pleasant cup of coffee in the business centre to pass the time...

My turn came... but the lady couldn't find my new licence and associated paperwork! After quite a bit of tut-tutting, she disappeared into a back room but returned, several times, for some more tutting at her computer screen. Squinting through at her screen I could see lots of writing in red, which seemed a bit ominous. 3 or 4 of her colleagues came, first individually, then all together as a pack, to look at her monitor with her.

She closed the window and disappeared into the backroom again. By this time I had been standing at the counter for about 40 minutes waiting for news, or, perhaps, even to be arrested for reasons unknown.. Smile

But finally she emerged triumphant with a "I've found it!!"... Profuse thanks all round for her perseverance, a couple of quick signatures and I exited left, with my new licence held (mentally) aloft in exultant celebration...

For those interested, the categories I was granted were AM, B1, B, C1, BE, and TkT. Not as many as I had on my old UK licence but they'll do to be going on with for now.... Smile
  
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Seedy
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2019 2:55 am 
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Glad to hear it eventually panned out okay Cool
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Cliff
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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2019 8:05 pm 
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Did you also get a blue card Erehwon? Not sure what its for but have been told to look after it.  
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erehwon
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2019 6:07 am 
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Yes I did, Cliff.

As you say, you must carry both the plastic driving licence and the blue card at all times when you are driving. I keep all my various car documents in a separate wallet from my other personal documents, so it's easy to produce everything on demand.

The blue card is to record penalties you might incur by breaking BG driving laws. Unlike the UK where you start with zero and getting 12 penalty points is the magic number which could cause you to be banned, in BG you start off with 39 points and these are subtracted as appropriate for the offence committed - Hit zero points and you will lose your licence for a while. On the front of my blue card it says that I currently have the maximum 39 points (and long may it stay that way) Smile

Here's a rough translation of what is written on the back of the card.

1) This control ticket is an integral part of the licence and confirms its validity.

2) If the number of control points reaches a level of zero, then the driving licence may be taken away on the spot by KAT.

3) Reinstatement of the licence may be granted after a review - but only after a period of no less 6 months from when the licence was either surrendered or withdrawn by the MBR.
  
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