Sunday, March 11, 2012
Jumping Through Hoops
I didn't realize that my license had a restriction. I don't wear glasses and that is the only restriction I am familiar with from the U.S. However, Uruguay also has medical restrictions, among them high blood pressure. So if you, like me, have hypertension, and it is reported when you apply for the license, you will have a number "2" restriction. The complete rules and regulations are laid out here.
Not knowing this, however, I went to a clinica for the medical test, that I was expecting. After the doctor filled out all the paperwork and I paid ($560 pesos), he slid another form across the desk and let me know that as soon as my doctor filled that out, we could proceed. Since my Medico Uruguaya membership doesn't start until next month, I was stuck. I went to several hospitals, 3-4 clinics and walked around all morning, trying to get a general examination and medical diagnosis for hypertension. Finally, completely defeated, I returned to the clinica and told them I would just have to get my money back and try another day. The assistant said that the doctor could take me on as a "patient" and sign the paperwork. Obviously this was not something that was done regularly.
After some discussion, and a brief examination (and a $300 peso fee), the doctor filled out the paperwork and I was able to show up 20 minutes before my appointment at the Intendencia (city hall). You can make an appointment online, here, or go the the Intendencia in person, as I had. I went into the room about 10 minutes before my appointment, and was curtly told to wait outside until my appointment, at which time I could come in and wait for my name to be called. When my name was finally called, I showed them the paperwork and the lady told me to go upstairs and pay first. She said most people forget, anyway. That was when I found out I could not get the 10 year license. With medical restrictions, you are limited to a 3-5 year license (so they can check your progress, no doubt). So I paid the $371 pesos and after that, I returned, handed over my paperwork, was electronically fingerprinted, photographed and within 10 minutes, walked with a brand new license, good for another 3 years. Coincidentally, it will expire right after the new cedula expires, so that will be a convenient reminder.
So, another hoop jumped through. Uruguay is the land of hoops, so you better get used to it. Now, the next hoop is getting a matricula (auto registration card) in my name and new plates. I can hardly wait.