July 18, 2008

Bureaucracy In Brazil

We are in the process of renewing our drivers licenses, and the bureaucracy here in Brazil is amazing. Any government process here in Brazil is very complicated, even for Brazilians, and it is even more so for "estrangeiros" (foreigners). In the US it takes one trip to the license bureau, maybe 30-60 minutes, and a small fee. Unfortunately the process here is not as simple and is much more expensive (about US $140 each). We needed to visit the tranportation department 5 times before we were done with the initial process, because they are not very helpful and they do not seem to know much. Here are some of the other things we needed to get or do: go to a couple of places to get several government documents; go to a special place for"authenticated" copies of other documents; go to a photographer to get small photos of each of us; go to a specific bank to pay the government fee for license renewal; go to a government approved doctor to get an eye test and physical exam. Until now we have had to go to 7 different places to get 9 different things, and it took 2 days. Now we are waiting for the paperwork to clear, and then we have to go to one more government place to take a written test to get the renewal. 8 different places + 10 different documents or things to do + 3 days = new license.

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