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LouiseH
06-08-2012, 06:02 PM
Our residency applications were granted last month so after organising the shipping of our household goods we have now made the move to Bonaire.

We are in the process of looking to buy a pick up truck to save the rental cost and have been told we need to apply for Driving licenses on Bonaire. I have been unable to find any information on line though. As so many rules have changed over the past few years does anyone know the current position about driving licenses?

Thanks for any help.

MikeTruesdell
06-08-2012, 08:22 PM
Dont know aboout the license. We have a friend on the island and we insured him with his american license. We did purchase a truck 4 months ago from Scott over a AB rental. We had a gentleman do some grinding on the underside. So far so good. They did paint the unit before picked it up . Hope your move went smooth. We will be down in 3 weeks.

petri hausmann
06-09-2012, 10:47 AM
technically, if you plan on living on Bonaire as a resident you are required to get a local license. There is a grace period and a trip to the license office (Ribjewijs) located on Kaya Korona will get you the correct information. It requires a lot of papers, medical appointment, lessons and both a written and road exam. You should have plenty of time for this after your move, but attend to it. When i moved here nearly 30 years ago, i was not even allowed to own a car until i had the license. Now, you may own a vehicle and buy insurance and plates/tags if you possess any valid license. Generally most people ignore getting their local license , but it is a law and if you are caught driving without one after your grace period, the vehicle is confiscated and kept until you can provide one which takes weeks to get. I do not know the grace period for sure, 6 months I believe.

smits
06-09-2012, 04:27 PM
When I came to Curacao I could just exchange my Dutch drivers licence for a licence on Curacao.

hank
06-09-2012, 11:21 PM
My last trip to the "bureau" was in 2009..... prior to 10-10-10..... so some things might have changed.
As Petri says go to the licence office..... they should give you in English a list of places to go and fees to pay and lines to wait in.
Plan on this taking some time.
As for physical and written/driving tests I dont know..... they may simply rubber stamp everything...... then again??????
Thats the bad news.
The good news is you will have 5 years to prepare for your next renewal or 5 years to recover from your previous attempt.
I renewed my Massachusetts licence by clicking the mouse on the computer.

LouiseH
06-12-2012, 10:21 AM
Thanks for the advise, have scheduled a day trip to the licence office!

AlbertA
06-13-2012, 08:55 AM
A bonairian driver's license costs 16,66 USD. Get it at Burgerzaken. Go there in your lunchbreak - no bonairian will go there at that time.
A dutch licence can be changed into a bonairian without a new exam. You'll only need a doctor's report. You can get this report without the doctor actually seeing you. It costs 12 USD.
I don't know about licenses from other countries, but if you would have to redo the exam, it will probably be just as easy as getting the US license. You'll have to pass a theory exam, and then you can do the practical exam. This costs 50 USD per category. Category B is the normal passenger car (up to 8 passengers, vehicle not heavier then 3.500 kg). For this exam you'll need again the doctor's report.

Taking a lesson here (there's two schools, if i remember correctly) will set you back appr. 45 USD per hour, and 15 USD for the theory booklet.

petri hausmann
06-13-2012, 10:26 AM
the ribjewis office is never busy..... doing the exam is not easy..... if you do have to do it the theory and practical lessons are required and the names of the"acceptable" instructors are usually given to you at the time of application. Be prepared, the driving (road test lesson) is usually only one. the theory requires several lessons. Rules of the road and some driving skills ( filtering at corners)are very different from the USA and it is required that you know the international driving signs . Hopefully, USA licenses are acceptable, but I have my doubts. It's Holland now.

hank
06-21-2012, 09:46 PM
There seems to be a kinda laissez-faire attitude towards using seatbelts on Bonaire.
I dont know what the law is regarding this.
If you have to take the driving test, insist that all occupants be buckled up before you move the vehicle..... this includes the inspector/examiner person.
As the driver you are responsible for the safety of all passengers...... act accordingly.
In the US if you move the vehicle and someone is not strapped in you get pink-slipped on the spot.

AlbertA
06-22-2012, 09:44 AM
Bonaire is not the US. Seat belt is not required by law (unfortunately, I might add).

Marji
07-01-2012, 08:58 AM
I just got my Bonaire License in February. I did not need to take the written exam. I had/have a US license. (They do not take it away btw).
A few things - I took a road practice (with the security guard from the driving place who introduced himself to me after I booked my test). He did a very good job and without his help there is NO WAY I would have passed the exam. You must take at least one driving practice. The reason is that there are rules for the exam that you have no way of knowing before the exam. Mainly it's that when the examiner tells you to go left you go left. Otherwise you go right. You are supposed to know before the exam to go right at any intersection where it's not possible to go straight or you are told otherwise. This is super confusing unless you've practiced it with an instructor. You will need to be able to back into parking spaces with equal distance between the lines, drive straight backwards along a line, etc. You also must wear pants/skirt that cover your knees and no sandals/flip flops. They don't tell you that. The appointment is out two months from when you make it and if you show up in inappropriate clothes they will automatically cancel your appointment and book you in two months time - they will not let you go home to change, even if you show up 15 minutes early and have time to do so. My impression was that had I not done the practice drive I would have automatically failed.

petri hausmann
07-01-2012, 12:38 PM
are you still required to take the test in a stick shift vehicle with the shift on the floor and the car must pass the road safety requirements? Back in the day and perhaps now .. no automatic transmissions. The left hand turn is to test your abilty and knowledge of the required technique of "filtering "on left turns and to be tricky it is at a t-intersection which also has it's own rules. Know your international signs as that can be road tested as well. back "in the day" we all expected a first time fail, so you take and pay for a few more lessons. Turning on the radio and saluting your friends during the test is high on the NO list. Dressing in an appropiate manner is expected at all government facilities. Too causal dress and you will not be served. observe the locals when banking or at immigration, the police station etc.

scottg
07-04-2012, 09:11 PM
Hi! I'm a Brit, living in Holland and a Bonaire home owner. Recently I had to obtain a Dutch driving license in Holland as I couldnt renew my Brit one (the photo -not the license- was expiring, and I no longer have a UK address).

The switch was easy... BUT, and this is why I'm posting ..

While I didnt have to do the written test, and got my Dutch license quickly, I had to surrender my UK license (never to be retrieved) and was then told I was now only licensed for a car..and my qualification to tow a trailer or caravan, or drive an RV or minibus (all of which my UK license permitted) was no longer valid -until I take a medical and go back and reapply.

OK, you are saying, that's UK to Holland, whats that got to do with me? Well here's the rub..come Jan 2013, the whole EU will require a separate test for trailers, RVs, caravans etc..and I'm betting, given current circumstances, that may well apply in Bonaire.

Guess what I'm saying..is this is a heads up..if its on your bucket list to rent an RV someplace other than the US, or tow a boat.. dont delay until 2013! (Unless you're expert reversing a trailer around a corner and happy taking the test..I'm not, and dont want to)!

Hope this helps...be interested to hear how you get on.

S

scottg
07-04-2012, 09:38 PM
PS ..just to clarify what Petri said about filtering...its not that difficult..basically anyone coming into your road from the right has priority..unless they have a give way sign or are joining a major road from a very minor one..

It applies in supermarket parking lots as well..they tend not to stop if they are coming from your right!

:cool:

petri hausmann
07-05-2012, 09:46 AM
in the 30 -plus years I have lived on bonaire, there have always been 4 types of driving licenses-passenger car being number 2. One rules test is good for all the categories, but you must take and pass a road rest for each category. .must also provide the proper vehicle for each test as well.

benny
02-27-2013, 03:56 PM
does anyone know the hours the driver license office is open? or their phone number? i assume a website is too much to ask :bk:

scubaliz
04-03-2013, 08:54 AM
If you are now on Bonaire, just go to the office on Kaya Korona (#84, I believe). As a new resident of the island, you will find it much easier to just go visit the office you need in person to get the information you require. This is not the US or Canada or Europe...where finding the answers online is oh-so-easy. Besides, part of the fun of living in another country (certainly one that is less developed than what you are used to), is taking the bull by the horns and getting to know the local customs and culture. One of the cultural nuances here is that it is easier to get things done in person.

And take your patience with you...it will help immensely. :)

alevcrab
08-27-2014, 01:58 PM
Here is fresh info as I went to the driver license office (Kaya Corona) today (8/27/2014):
1) You pay $53.03 at the Registrar's office (on Kaya Neerlandia)
2) Go back to the driver license office and make an appointment for the practice test
3) Take a practical class (ask at the license office). The person giving the class (Ramon) is also working at the driver license office. He seems to be giving the lessons on the side as his private business.

Hours of the driver license office on Kaya Corona:
Mon - Thurs 7:45-11:45, 13:45-16:45
Friday: 7:45-11:45, 13:45-16:00
Location: Coming from down town, going North on Kaya Corona, go past the Zhong Kong Chinese market. The office will be on your left eventually. (Sorry I do not remember the next closest thing to the office as I was following someone showing me the way).

alevcrab
08-27-2014, 04:10 PM
Here is an updated version:
1) You pay $53.03 at the Registrar's office (on Kaya Neerlandia), they will give you a receipt.
2) Go back to the driver license office with the receipt and make an appointment for the practice test. They will give you a health form to be filled out by your doctor and also explain you the dress code for the exam: a) T-shirt (not cut off at the shoulders, no tank tops), b) Pants, c) Shoes (no flip flops)
3) Make an appointment to see your doctor 1 week before the exam and have him fill out the form.
4) Make an appointment to take a practical class (ask at the license office). The person giving the class (Ramon) is also working at the driver license office. He seems to be giving the lessons on the side as his private business.
Here is the rate we got from Ramon: $25 for 1 hour of lesson if you use your car. $32.50 if you use his car.

kob
08-28-2014, 08:14 AM
Thanks, great info. We have our residency, but first US drivers license doesn't expire until next year, so plenty of time. How far into the future was the practical class with Ramon?

petri hausmann
08-28-2014, 08:23 AM
it is Kaya Korona and the grocery store is Progresso ..the other store is in Hato ..also ... it is not when your license expires ..there is a limited period time allowed to change based on how long you are living here ..after that you are breaking the law and of course there are varying consequences - Best check it out.

alevcrab
08-29-2014, 12:52 PM
Kob, when I called Ramon he asked me for our driver's license practical exam date... which is in early Oct. He then said to call him back around Sept.20th. I guess it was too soon to setup something.
On a different note, I was telling a Dutch friend about the process I outlined above. He said it is "bull****" and that we should not have to take the exam but instead go to the Registrar's Office and just show our US license and get a Bonairean one. I have not tried this but I have to go to the Registrar's office for another reason next week so I might give this a shot too.

Gmichael
08-29-2014, 01:28 PM
He is correct...you do not have to take the written test. You would never pass it on the first rounc in any event. for the road test however I strongly urge you to call Sydney St. Jago for one "lesson" Remember, I told you so...

kob
10-21-2014, 07:36 AM
OK, another hurdle completed ... took a "lesson" from Sidney Sint Jago on Tuesday Oct 7 in preparation for the official driving test on Wednesday Oct 15 ... Michael Gaynor is absolutely right, the hour spent with Sidney was invaluable and essential to being successful ... he takes you on the actual route you'll drive (more or less) and to the exact place where you'll do your reverse parking (a school parking lot). Unless you have a lot of experience backiing a car into a small angled parking place, you will want to practice this skill before your test. Your car also needs to be in good working order (brake lights, turn signals, etc.) ... they will check before starting the test.

To avoid any chance of not getting the reverse parking right, I rented the smallest car I could get (a Chevy Spark from Hertz) for the test & practiced with it the day before. Mine was a stick shift because I have been driving stick since 1968, but there were plenty of automatics, which I would suggest renting if you are not proficient with a stick shift. Result = nailed the reverse parking. The rest of the test is reasonably easy & straightforward ... you do need to back up on a street for about 50 yards and also do what is called a U-turn without having your tires go off the road (in actuality, more like what we called a 3-point turn when I learned to drive in the 60s).

There are also some subtleties to Bonaire driving, such as shading to the center when making a left turn, making crisp wide left turns, etc. which Sidney will explain. In any event, all went well (no written test required). After passing your test, they give you a piece of paper to take to the Civil Office, where you make an appointment to come back and get your drivers licence with photo, etc. My appointment is on Oct 29, so allow about 2 weeks from test date.

petri hausmann
10-21-2014, 08:14 AM
"back in the day" when I went thru this process ..you were required to take the test in a console floor standard shift ..no automatics ! Then, we had to take an exam .. orally ..maybe this shift requirement should be checked out?? And again.. pabien!!!!

bontalkpcom
06-29-2015, 07:26 PM
Now that US Passport holders can apply for admittance by rule of law just like the Dutch, has obtaining a drivers license also changed to just showing your US DL and getting issued a Bonarian DL like the Dutch can without any written or road tests?

kob
06-30-2015, 07:07 AM
Excellent question ... as the law just changed at the beginning of March, I suspect that people are just now getting the new 5-year residency permits and may not have encountered the drivers license process yet. But this is Bonaire, so don't expect that kind of cross-functional coordination ... I'm just sayin'

Anyone ??

petri hausmann
06-30-2015, 03:52 PM
Excellent question ... as the law just changed at the beginning of March, I suspect that people are just now getting the new 5-year residency permits and may not have encountered the drivers license process yet. But this is Bonaire, so don't expect that kind of cross-functional coordination ... I'm just sayin'

Anyone ??
I agree with KOB -- who knows?? The ONLY way to handle ANY matter on Bonaire to is DO IT YOURSELF , IN PERSON at whatever department is required ..and keep in mind that here on Bonaire dress appropriately at ALL government offices .. diver/tourist casual is not acceptable and considered as disrespectful to the government ..so if you are looking for an accurate reply .. I also am "just a sayin" ...30 plus years here and well experienced --

bontalkpcom
01-23-2016, 11:31 PM
I agree with KOB -- who knows?? The ONLY way to handle ANY matter on Bonaire to is DO IT YOURSELF , IN PERSON at whatever department is required ..and keep in mind that here on Bonaire dress appropriately at ALL government offices .. diver/tourist casual is not acceptable and considered as disrespectful to the government ..so if you are looking for an accurate reply .. I also am "just a sayin" ...30 plus years here and well experienced --If you have a US DL with the endorsement for Motorcycle will they issue you a Bonarian DL with category A,B, and do you need to do the road test in a car and motorcycle?

petri hausmann
01-24-2016, 09:01 AM
again -the answer is to do it in person - they will want to see your license anyway -

kob
01-25-2016, 08:52 AM
I had a motorcycle endorsement on my Ohio Drivers License, but when I changed to a Bonaire Drivers License they only did car, not motorcycle. I may not have checked the right boxes or maybe you have to specifically request both ... Petri is right, check with the Drivers License folks IN PERSON, ask very clear questions and confirm that you understand the reply ... this advice applies to any government office.

bontalkpcom
01-25-2016, 02:41 PM
I had a motorcycle endorsement on my Ohio Drivers License, but when I changed to a Bonaire Drivers License they only did car, not motorcycle. I may not have checked the right boxes or maybe you have to specifically request both ... Petri is right, check with the Drivers License folks IN PERSON, ask very clear questions and confirm that you understand the reply ... this advice applies to any government office.Went to check on Bonaire DL today, Lady said I could get a "B" License by just doing the practical test and I would then only be able to drive a car. Cost 50.28 for the EXAM. If I want to keep my Motorcycle or other categories they would cost 50.28 EACH, I would have to take the BOTH the written and the practical tests in each additional category so my total cost for exams would be 201.12. On the bright side the time between scheduling and doing the driving test for the "B" license is only 5 weeks now. There also seems to be an additional charge of 4.75 for a "Bewijs van inschrijving" or Certificate of Registration which you get from the Civil Registry, and she did not mention that I needed any medical certificate. There is also an additional charge for the physical DL license itself. All fees are paid at the Civil Registry and you take proof of payment with you when you the make your appointment for the practical test. I received a paper with the names and phone numbers of 8 driving instructors, but had to ask if there was any way to get instruction before she offered me any information. It is not clear if I need a learners permit and lessons before I take the practical test to get my Motorcycle endorsement back. The lady behind the counter was not able to understand my questions I was not able to understand her answers so I plan to call the "INSTRUCTORS" on the list she gave me and hope they can give me better answers. According to the documents I obtained from http://www.bonairegov.nl/nl/leven/rijbewijs "Persons in possession of a valid driving license whose driving licenses are connected to the Convention of Geneva must do practice exam" They do not have to do the "theorie" or written exam, but she said I had to take both tests for additional categories except "B". Any suggestions ???

kob
01-26-2016, 07:05 AM
You will find that if you take a "lesson" from a local, you are almost guaranteed to pass the driving test ... if you don't, you are almost guaranteed to fail ... just sayin'

petri hausmann
01-26-2016, 07:45 AM
exactly

bonairehomes
01-26-2016, 09:24 AM
You need to take the test from one of the local driving instructors and make sure you get their name. Then when you are taking the real test, make sure to mention to the examiner that you took a lesson from "Jan", or whoever you driving instructor was. This tells the examiners that you followed the local process, rather than just taking the test and thinking you know it all.

Petri is right, skip the lesson at your own peril, and then you will probably fail. Take the lesson and your are almost sure to pass.

just sayin'

bontalkpcom
03-08-2016, 12:25 AM
Update, took two lessons from 2 different instructors, both were good but covered different areas, took driving test, passed in 20 minutes, piece of cake. You MUST take a lesson, if you don't you will fail the test. There are two examiners in the car with you for the test, and the test is about confidence and attitude as well as skill. Next step is to study for the theory (written) test which you must take if you want any category except B (car). Plan on taking category A (motorcycle) next. Wish me luck :-)

EmilyG
04-26-2018, 04:30 PM
Hello,

I read this thread carefully, but my situation is not the same and maybe someone can be confirmed me what is the process for someone like me.
I'm European with European driver license, but Also USA Driver License, and 2 others drivers license from different countries.

Do I need really to take lesson and I have to go through all the exams written and drive ?

I tried to contact the office directly without success.

Thanks to let me know if you know the new rules please.

alevcrab
04-26-2018, 10:15 PM
Hello,

I read this thread carefully, but my situation is not the same and maybe someone can be confirmed me what is the process for someone like me.
I'm European with European driver license, but Also USA Driver License, and 2 others drivers license from different countries.

Do I need really to take lesson and I have to go through all the exams written and drive ?

I tried to contact the office directly without success.

Thanks to let me know if you know the new rules please.

It has been a while since we got our Bonaire driver licenses but the way I remember is that you:
a) either have to submit and give up an existing drivers license - maybe you can spare one of the few you have
or
b) take the driving test (not the written one). If you do take the driving test, I do recommend that you take the lesson. It has nothing to do with your ability to drive, it is about "learning how things are done" in the Bonairean driving test.

Kate B
05-22-2018, 03:57 PM
Hi,

Everyone except those with a Dutch drivers license must take a driving test for a basic driver's license to drive a car. If you are a resident, you are supposed to obtain your Bonaire driver's license within 6 months of getting your residency. It can take a couple of months to schedule the test, so start this process fairly soon after you get residency.

Everyone else who has posted about lessons is exactly right - when you schedule the appointment for the test, ask for a list of instructors and take a lesson about two weeks before your test so you can practice by yourself the last week. For our driver's tests, the tester asked us if we took a lesson and who our instructor was before we even got the car started. You do not take a written test unless you are trying to get a motorcycle or truck or commercial license. They did not ask us to give up our US driver's license, we still have that.

My husband and I have been driving for many years, but we still needed the instruction - not to practice our driving, but to become familiar with the various road signs and the roundabout rules, which are different that roundabout rules we've seen elsewhere. There are also specific rules about making turns out of one way streets, how to do a start on a hill with the emergency brake on, etc. Even if you can do all these things, they have specific ways they want you to do it.

The test itself was easy - less than 20 minutes, with two testers - one in the front seat and one in the back. They were very friendly and put us at ease.

Good luck!
All the best,