I’m surfacing again after a long communication hiatus to let you all know about a prayer request we’ll be offering up for the next few weeks.

While driving outside of Tallinn with a friend of ours two weeks ago I came upon a police check point. They warned me about a broken tail light but in checing my papers they doubted the validity of my intenational drivers license. They gave me a temporary suspension of the license until the issue could be clarified so I’m currently relegated to the passenger seat – a minor inconvenience.

What is much more worrisome is that we’ve discovered that while the document normally expires a year from issue, in Estonia it is only valid for a year from issue of the holder’s residence permit. After this point, an Estonian driver’s license is necessary. Since my residence permit was issued in January of 2008, I was essentially caught driving without a license. While the situation seems understandable enough, we are quite worried because the police have been leveling large fines in order to make up for budget shortfalls. The largest this ticket could be is roughly 1,500 USD.

Please pray that the ticket will be as small as possible and that my preparations for the Estonian driver’s test will go quickly.

3 thoughts on “International Trafficking

  1. Well, the decision came in and it’s much less than it could have been but painful nonetheless. If you happen to be an expat in Estonia, take note! You have one year FROM YOUR DATE OF ENTRY to exchange your US license for an Estonian one. During that year you MUST have an international drivers license (though many police have never seen it and don’t know what to do with it). After that year, obtaining an Estonian license means passing both theoretical and driving tests and paying roughly 2500 for the whole deal. Driving without an Estonian license in hand after that first year translates to “no license” and a significant fine. Take my word for it, ignorance is no excuse.

  2. Ouch!

    AS painful as this experience was (is), there is some comfort that they are following a ‘rule of law’ and it not just capricious harrassment and bribes to fix it. It COULD be worse!

    ———- Jon

    1. @Jon That’s a very good point. It could indeed be worse and, in that case, far more frustrating and disturbing. Given that the laws are there in writing, I suppose I can be grateful that they have a process for hearing my side of the story and issuing a commensurate fine.

Let me know what you think!

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