Driving License Transfer – Time to make a Will…

A trip to the mailbox brought mixed feelings. I finally got my Canadian Drivers License, I can now legally join the majority of the population in dodging death on the highway! I’m sure it’s not that bad, it’s just that fatalities resulting from Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs) occur on an almost daily basis. I’m sure my confidence will increase as a direct result of my newspaper subscription ending.

I’m legal!

Is there a universal law that the picture on your license must show you in the most unflattering light? I have the dispassionate stare and round face of an over-fed serial killer. Did they maliciously photo-shop me at the test centre or is that how everyone sees me? Either way, I’ve given up, as you can see from this “charmingly make-up free” shot!

Down at the test centre, transferring my British Driving License to a Canadian one was simple enough. As a licensed driver with more than 2 years experience I was eligible for full class licence privileges without taking a knowledge or road test. I filled out some forms, took a sight test, had my mug shot taken, and, the worst part, handed over my British license – both parts. When K, transferred his license six months ago he got to keep the paper part of his British one. I was not so lucky. Apparently they have tightened things up, I was told, and it is now a clear requirement that BOTH parts of the license be handed in. They are then returned to the DVLA back in the UK. After relieving me of $75, the clerk issued me with a temporary license, assuring me that the real one would arrive in the mail within 3 weeks.

DriveTest Ontario

By Aisha Ashraf

An autistic Irish immigrant in a cross-cultural marriage, Aisha Ashraf is the archetypal outlander, writing to root herself through place and perspective. Published in The Rumpus, The Maine Review, River Teeth, HuffPost and elsewhere, her work explores the legacy of trauma, the nature of being an outsider and the narrow confines of belonging. She currently lives in Canada.


  1. My eyes darted down to your license photo and immediately thought ‘oh yeah, they’re taking the old police line-up style photo’. Mind you, this is BEFORE I read the words ‘over-fed serial killer’! Seriously, do they take courses on the various ways in which they can make us look even more terrible than we look upon waking up? My photo ID for Daughter’s school is a cross between scary and grotesque. It’s ONLY redeeming feature is that I cannot possibly look that hideous.

    1. I miss my European style license with the little passport snap I took when I’d just got my hair done, plus I was a good six years younger in that!! I love what you call your photo IDs “only redeeming feature”, so true, if we REALLY looked like that we would be on Jerry Springer having catfights.

  2. The staff who populate these sort of centres are the creepiest sort – I have a theory that they take their frustration out on us through the photos. Some of them are not only rude – they’re just plain moronic; like the one I encountered at the British High Commission in Belgium: http://wp.me/ppqxP-T

    1. The one in your post sounded like the power-junkie variety. They’re attracted to this job because it gives them a small amount of authority which they wield in an indiscriminate, inappropriate and, very often, incompetent manner in revenge for any and every slight their oversensitve nature has perceived to have been directed at them. The young girl in the drive test centre was very sweet and informative – obviously as yet uncorrupted by any employees with agendas!

  3. I was lucky enough to keep my paper version of the UK licence but they cut up the card version in front of me. So much for sending it back to the DVLA in England. In BC, I very nearly had to do the full-blown test but, thankfully, we moved province just before the deadline was up for my ‘international’ licence (a temporary thing). Previously, the missus had to take a test in the UK upon arrival from down under – but she ended up spending 30 minutes chatting away to the examiner as she drove along (he obviously realised how ridiculous it was that a driver with 10 years history was having to do a test again – so they had a good ole chinwag instead!).

    Nice mug shot by the way and I agree with hubby… God help all people currently living in Ontario 😉

    1. You cheeky b*****d!!! You know as well as I do that the roads are wide enough here to accommodate traffic AND me driving on the wrong side of the road, no problem! And as for cutting your license up before your very eyes… that’s sadistic!

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