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May 13, 2014

Easing the conversion of foreign drivers licenses for new immigrants

Good news for new immigrants, from MK Rabbi Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid).

Lipman was behind a movement to change the policy of the Ministry of Transportation regarding the conversion of foreign drivers licenses by new immigrants.

From the JPost:
New immigrants to Israel have up to three years to take a “control test” – an abbreviated road test to demonstrate control over the vehicle, according to a Transportation Ministry description of the test. The immigrants are permitted, however, to drive in Israel on their foreign drivers’ licenses alone for their first year in the country.
Previously, if immigrants failed the control test twice, they were required to take full theory and practical driving exams.
According to the new regulations, if an immigrant fails two control tests, he or she will only be required to take the full practical driving exam, without the theory exam.
Meanwhile, immigrants who enlisted in the IDF will have more than the allotted three years to complete the conversion process, providing they display a certificate of service to the Licensing Authority, the regulations say.
The Knesset received confirmation that the Transportation Ministry had officially approved the new regulations in the first week of May.
First and foremost, Lipman said he felt that the rule allowing olim to drive in Israel for a year without exchanging their licenses is no less than “ridiculous.”
If they are allowed to drive for that year without an Israeli license, then they clearly do not present a danger to the roads, he argued.
In addition, he told ministry officials that the demand to take a theory test upon failing two control tests was unfair, and presented an obstacle that many olim were unable to overcome.
Upon receiving word that the Transportation Ministry had canceled the necessity for the theory test and allowed for soldiers to convert their licenses beyond the three-year window, Lipman said that he is “proud of these two achievements.”
“It will make a difference in the life of olim who have been struggling with senseless bureaucracy,” he said.
Razbozov thanked Lipman for raising the issue, as well as the Transportation Ministry for following through with the committee’s recommendations.
“We need to remember that even though some of the olim might be new, they are very experienced drivers that have a hard time navigating the bureaucracy,” Razbozov said.
“This decision will benefit these olim, and allow them to be more successful and independent.”  

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  1. Around '78 I came back from a visit to the States (still as an Oleh) with a fresh Connecticut driver's license, and an international endorsement issued by AAA. All I had to do to get my Israeli license was to present those documents. Mafish test.

    1. that was a long time ago.. things have changed a lot since then

  2. Yeah Rafi - the changed the rule in the early 90s when many immigrants from the former Soviet Union brought forged licenses. I made aliya 1 year after the change -- at the time they said they knew American licenses were OK but did not want to discriminate between Russian olim and American olim. Never mind the fact that American olim did not get an absorption basket (sal klita).
    The REAL reason why they have the stupid tests for Western Olim is they WANT your money. The entire industry of driving teachers and driving testers needs captive 'customers.' Or else why can foreign students or tourists drive here with their licenses but Olim not.

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  4. I disagree. As an ANGLO who moved here when I was 14 and learned to drive here (with all 28 lessons) I will tell you that almost every single American driver that I ahve encountered here barely knows what any of the street signs are.
    They do not know the difference between the sign that is a speed limit and the sign that gives a minimum speed for a road. They do not the legal speed limit inside a city, but that does not matter, cause they do not know the sign that tells you that you have now entered a city.

    I think all foreign drivers should be required to do the theory test, just like everyone else.
    I don't think they should have to do the practical test at all.


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