I’m happy to report that the Buenos Aires Registro del AutoMotor (the Argentine version of the DMV) is pretty much the same as its American counterpart – slow and inefficient. On the positive side, the Argentine DMV in Olivos had shorter lines than the NYC one. On the negative side, nothing is computerized and we had to go three times to get what we needed.
The first time that we went, I guess it was really not their fault that we had to come back. We went just after Buenos Aires had been hit with a major hail storm, and the roof of the DMV offices had been completely destroyed. The workers were sitting outside the office drinking their maté and told us no one could go inside. I asked if there was a different office, but as nothing here is completely computerized, we needed the actual papers of the car, which only existed inside this office’s filing shelves. They assured us that all the records were still safe and under plastic covers (reassuring) and that we should come back in a few weeks when the new roof was completed.
When we returned, the new roof was finished and the lines were not that bad. We were here to obtain a “Cédula de identificación para autorizado a conducir (Cédula azul),” or more simply “blue card.” This card basically shows that I am allowed to drive Laura’s car when she is not with me. (The car owner has a “Cédula verde” or “green card,” that they carry which shows they are the owner.) These cards are required whenever you are driving someone else’s vehicle and were intended to allow police to more easily find people driving stolen cars. We had to present my DNI and all the papers of the car including the title as well as Laura’s DNI. They looked over the paperwork and then went to the back to pull her car’s file.
I thought this process would take forever because you could see rows and rows of shelves with green folders for each car. The files looked completely disorganized and like they were basically ready to fall off the shelves, but surprisingly, the woman returned within a couple of minutes with her file. We paid the $95 peso fee and she told us to return the next day to pick up the card. When we returned the following day, we walked in and walked out with the card within 10 minutes. Not too bad…
In addition to this card, you need an international driving permit to drive in Buenos Aires. I picked up mine at AAA while I was in the States though it is possible to obtain one in Buenos Aires as well. (you must get one in your home country)
Look for a future post with some of my observations on driving in Buenos Aires. All I can say for now is, driving here is an experience.