Jul 17, 2010

Prefecture in Toulon, Nicer?

Today S and I went to the MD Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA, DMV in other states) so that S could get her driver's license.  She is staying another year and won't be able to use her French license in September.  This is the 3rd time that S has gone and it is very frustrating that they are unable to provide her with the right information.  We called our Au Pair coordinator the last time and they send her a totally useless letter.  The MVA only accepts from a list of documents that are totally unobtainable if you don't have any bills.  There are lots of other useless documents on their list that seem impossible for any normal person to have. So third time's a charm -- NO.  So I asked the woman what else Stephanie can do.  And she gives me the list of totally useless documents again!  Zut Alors.  Why not just have robots run the place.  So I ask her as nicely as possible what can S possibly do to get the right document -- you want to know the secret to establishing MD residency -- buying stamps online.  That's right.  If you buy stamps from the USPS, a government agency, when they send you said stamps in 1st class mail, you are now able to establish MD residency.  What a crock.  Buying something online from Amazon, totally useless, but buying stamps online keep to Driver's License euphoria.

The stupid cop protecting the MVA worker from me, pulled me aside as I was leaving and said that I would have to go through the same thing in France and I just don't know what it is....  I told him actually I did go through the same thing in France and it was easier, since I only had to go once. 

In my French experience, I didn't have the right paperwork the first time either.  But the woman kindly took all of the paperwork that I had and I left.  Then some weeks later I got a letter asking for more paperwork, which I mailed back to the office and then viola, I got my French DL.  I only had to wait one time in the obnoxiously long government agency line of annoyance. Today was the 3rd  time that S has had to go to the MVA and waste another 1 hour in line, just to be told that she doesn't have the right paperwork. 

So if you are foreign living in America and are having trouble establishing residency -- Just buy some stamps.


  1. Sorry to hear that.... I can't blame you for going "postal" at the MVA :P I had terrible experience with them as well - especially the one in the city that deals all day with crackheads and alcoholics who lost their DLs.

  2. Wait, did you exchange and MD license in France?? I'm about to sign up to take the test here, and if I don't need to, that'd be awesome!

    And that's funny that the cop said that. Was he trying to make you feel better or trying to justify the awfulness that is the MVA? I love those moments when people are like "Oh this is how it is in France" having never been there and then you can say "actually, no, it's like this . . ."

  3. I don't know about this. It seems to me to be pretty much the luck of the draw wherever you live- France or US. You can come across a very helpful worker that allows you to get everything handed in correctly, or have to go to five different places because of conflicting information/general unhelpfulness.