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How did you obtain your driver's license??

I've been in Recife almost 4 years now and never felt the desire to drive here (wild insecure driving here) but now I'm in a situation where I'll have no choice but to drive. I waste too much time getting from point A to point B on the bus. I have  a valid California DL. I went to ONE detran to get info and they were so clueless, they said they had never issued a foreigner a DL so they dont know what is required. I know. So stupid. To think we complain about the DMV back in the States. Does anyone know what I have to do?

Tell the lazy louts just to check their own website, it explains exactly what is necessary in PE to exchange your foreign Driver's License for a Brazilian Carteira Nacional de Habilitação - CNH.

http://www.detran.pe.gov.br/index.php?o … Itemid=154

You need to submit an original and a copy of the following:

a)  Your Cédula de Identidade Estrangeiro (CIE/RNE) or the protocol along with your SINCRE from the DPF.
b)  CPF
c)  Passport
d)  Valid foreign Driver's License (expired licenses WILL NOT BE RECOGNIZED)
e)  Sworn translation of your foreign Driver's License (done in Brazil by a Tradutor Juramentado)
f)   Proof of address in Pernambuco

You will also need to take medical, psychological, vision and practical (written) tests.

Hope this helps you get things sorted out.

Cheers,
James      Expat-blog Experts Team

I don't know, guess that I'm just getting too old... but the TOTAL INCOMPETENCE of people in this country who are supposed to know what they're doing (because it's their freakin' job) really gets me angry. Brazilians put up with this crap simply because they don't know any better and it has always been this way. Also they've never seen other countries where things actually WORK they way they're supposed to.

Well, I have got very fresh experience of dealing with DETRAN...just this morning. After a few years in Brazil, I decided also that it would be good indeed to get my Brazilian CNH instead of the French one. So I looked at Ceara DETRAN website and it listed exact same information than Pernambuco's one. Just to highlight than it seems that only one DETRAN in Ceara is managing this request so I believe it is why small local DETRAN offices do not have a clue about it (and Pernambuco is like Ceara, not much expats to deal with; this is not Rio or SP).
Arrived today at 10:30am in the DETRAN offices (more like a park) in Fortelaza "Metropolitan" area. Gave my papers and copies to one desk. Went to next building to pay R$230. Back to first building, went to desk to sign some stuff and fill a personal questionary (If I had accident, disease, medication, operation, am I drinking to much, etc...). Went to a doc who asked me if I had any disease/medication; checked my eyes sight; all done in 2 min. Back to the desk then send me to "aptitude/psy test. In a room with four other candidates. Firstly a "concentration" test. You need to identify quickly four direction arrows (turn left, turn right, straigh, right) in a page full of direction arrows. Second test, draw a house, then a three then a person. Waited 5 min. Told me I passed and I should receive my CNH in the next 10 days. All done by midday.
Bonus: I kept my french driving licence. I was thinking DETRAN will keep it.
So this was quite smooth; DETRAN workers were polite and helpfull; well organized; no much queue, (longuest was 30 min to pay at Banco do Brazil but I can't blame DETRAN for than). Well it is officially the first time, I praise Brazilian administration. Hope I continue to get lucky and receive my CNH in the next 10 days...

Namekeeper :

I've been in Recife almost 4 years now and never felt the desire to drive here (wild insecure driving here) but now I'm in a situation where I'll have no choice but to drive. I waste too much time getting from point A to point B on the bus. I have  a valid California DL. I went to ONE detran to get info and they were so clueless, they said they had never issued a foreigner a DL so they dont know what is required. I know. So stupid. To think we complain about the DMV back in the States. Does anyone know what I have to do?

That's not surprise me, in others cities that Rio ou SP, they don't know because no one need.
Even in the capital Brasilia, where I'm linving, I pass by that most of time...

James :

I don't know, guess that I'm just getting too old... but the TOTAL INCOMPETENCE of people in this country who are supposed to know what they're doing (because it's their freakin' job) really gets me angry. Brazilians put up with this crap simply because they don't know any better and it has always been this way. Also they've never seen other countries where things actually WORK they way they're supposed to.

James...it's NOT because you're too old. "The TOTAL INCOMPETENCE of people in this country who are supposed to know what they're doing (because it's their freakin' job)" also gets me very angry. I spent months dealing with Brazilian bureaucracy to get all my paperwork in order and time and time again, I was misdirected and misinformed by people who were supposed to be FREAKIN' PROFESSIONALS. :mad: 

Honestly, I'd guess that on about 75% of my visits to the Cartório, Polícia Federal, DETRAN, and other bureaucratic agencies, somebody somewhere screwed up on something. I'm not exaggerating. So much time was wasted going back to the same office the following day to correct someone's mistake (someone forgot a signature or a stamp, or someone told me to go "there" when I should have gone "here," or sometimes, the people behind the desk just had no clue what they were doing).

Namekeeper, after getting my American DL translated, we utilized a despachante (a forwarding agent) who helped me to obtain my Brazilian DL. Long story short, I had a small issue with my American DL, so my husband felt it was best to use a despachante. I still had to go to the DETRAN office on a couple of occasions to take my picture and sign some papers, but basically, the despachante took care of submitting the application along with all my necessary paperwork. I also had to take a very simple physical exam (other than the eye exam, the rest of it was pretty pointless) and a psychological exam which was also pretty pointless, imho.  I think we paid the despachante 250 reais which included any fees paid to DETRAN. Not cheap but for me, it was worth it. We also paid for the physical and psychological exams separately.

I hear ya bigtime Victoria. Funny how we North Americans (Canadians and Americans alike) bellyache and complain about government back home. It's only when we come to countries like Brazil that we learn how truly blessed (and spoiled) we've been to have government and infrastructure that really works the way it's supposed to and when we get information from government agents it is accurate.

Braziians that I know fight tooth and nail to get something that's supposed to be their right, they've earned. Their jaws hit the floor when I tell them that I arranged for start-up of my Canadian retirement pension online, without leaving the comfort of my livingroom, and that any problem I have with anything remotely involved with the Canadian government I can resolve over the telephone and they accept the call COLLECT! They actually think I'm lying.

Cheers,
James

Just be thankful you aren't Irish in this situation!!! I have to do the 25 driving lessons, the CFC (40 hours), the theory exam and everything else that you can think of!!  :o

Well Connorzinho that same applies to Brazilian citizens applying for an Irish drivers license. As the old saying goes, what goes round comes around pet!

It isn't exactly the same though. Ireland doesn't have 40 hours CFC or have to do 25 driving lessons or the written Portuguese part. So what goes around comes around doesn't really apply in this case, pet!

Trust me pet, I lived there for 5 years and know exactly how the Irish government makes hard for the so called 'bloody foreigners' as some of your people refer to us, are targeted when it comes to get a drivers license. And so many other things that are just as bad as in here. But let's stick to the drivers license for now, otherwise I could go on about many things that don't work as efficient as they should in the so called 'land of a thousand welcomes'( a myth carried by the Irish society which in reality isn't so) :)

I agree with you 100%. NO country is 100% welcoming. I know exactly how the Irish gov works also. My point was only comparing the amount of lessons and the CFC course compared to Ireland. And that being Irish in Brazil I have to start from scratch. I cannot or won't be involved in what other people from other countries have to do in Ireland to get documents as I have no experiance in that area. I am also sorry that you didn't have the thousand welcomes as most people do have a nice time. Do you mind me asking where did you live in Ireland for the 5 years?

Eons ago in Belo Horizonte I had to have my Minnesota license translated by an Official Translator and then took the psycho-motor skills test to get a license. But this was almost 30 years ago.

That's fine by me Connor, I'm a tough cookie and can easily adjust to different environment I put myself into. I was in Waterford City. Did a degree there in WIT and been back home since August 2013. I do have three life long friends from Ireland, none from county Waterford unfortunetely but county Tipp and Wexford. I love the time I spent there but I cannot forget some incidents that happened to me Like being shout at on my way to uni. to go back home, or f[at]k off to the Middle East. I've never even been to the Middle East myself, but because I'm tanned I was associated with that area ( nothing against the Middle East, in fact I love my skin complexion and have been admired by many of my mates).
But I suppose life is what you make. And I made sure I had the best time of my life there while at uni. Irish guys are really hot ( yes I like you guys a lot, the dark hair, blue/green eyes and the whole accent set you people apart from the other Anglo countries).
As they would say over there, if life throws you lemon, make a lemonade. I had a tequila with it instead and boy it was fun!

There is another resolution to this problem for people coming from the US =

Go to AAA and get an "International Driver's License" for $15, good for a year
Of course if you are not going back to the states it would run out
Don't know if it can be done via the mail or not
I've been stopped before and handed this paper doc over to the cops and they looked at it with a blank stare, they had NO idea what it was and just let me go

I believe you can drive on your US license for 6 months or a year too

The other thing,  what happens if you DO get stopped and hand over your US license ?
NOT A THING
They have no way to process it plus they have no idea how long you've been in BR
For the first 5 years that is all I had and it never presented a problem.
The police are more concerned the docs for your car are correct because of all the auto theft.  They'll just give it back to you and wave you off.

Another driving tip - If you're going to be driving on the BR's (highways) and longer distances, TAKE YOUR RADAR DETECTOR !   Many states have the cops out there on the high speed roads with RADAR.  I got a ticket coming out of SP with the first car I ever bought in Brasil.  After that I never went anywhere WITHOUT my radar detector.

Sure Sure , not a thing can happen , the cops won't catch me  ....but how about this :
You are driving down the highway and you are involved in a terrible car crash - not your fault
Somebody dies and the whole accident is investigated and you are found to not be in pocession of a valid drivers license in Brazil .
You could very quickly find yourself on trial for some sort of manslaughter , even murder and facing 5 years in a Brazilian jail .

I'm from Roscommon.  Married and living in Ribeirão Preto.

Lol , no offense but reading back on this , you realize you basically paid the dispanche R$150 to hand the papers in at a counter window , because you did everything else the process requires yourself....there literally is nothing else to it than signing the papers and handing it in.

If you do not know how to use the Site of Detran PE, you can learn the link below: http://www.detran-ipva.com

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