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R and L

Getting a CA driving license after owing a european DL for years.

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I was curious to know how many times my VJ friends had to do their behind the wheel driving exam before passing?

I'm so embarrassed as have had my European driving license FOR YEARS and now when I did my "behind the wheel" driving test - the first try - I failed!! :bonk: Thankfully passed the written the first time, but humiliating that failed the driving portion!!

So now I'm trying to drive more and once got some more confidence back after my first fail will try my second time (and third, fourth...if needed :wacko:)

But what I did realize that the mistakes I made would probably not have been so crucial in my driving test in Finland and that was such an eye opener that the next time I'll try to show my driving skills I got to be super super smooth and conscious!

How many times did it take to you guys to pass? What were your experiences? (I think my driving instructor was a crazy woman who yelled immediately if I hesitated the next move even for a second!!! :lol: And now I'll bet I get the same crazy woman again next time and I'm already preparing my tough butt attitude to be prepared with her :ranting: totally terrified!! :lol: )


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Our case accepted at USCIS 6/6/2011
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NOA2 10/6/2011

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Interview
Interview first assigned for 1/4/2012, but then rescheduled to 2/22/2012 as my hubby and I went on vacation.
2/22/2012 interview done and approved smile.png
2/28/12 My visa pick up from the embassy.
3/25/12 POE JFK

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Honduras
Timeline

My husband failed his first written (he was so mad!), the questions are tricky though, and all he had to study was the little pamphlet. He passed on his first try driving, I drilled him on complete stops, checking mirrors, and that what matters is not that he does it, but that the instructor sees him do it right. Also, in order to get a quicker date, we made his appt waaay out in the country. He drove 45 minutes out to the bmv and was all comfortable when we got there.

However! the same lady tested his driving that saw him pass the written the morning after he failed the first time. He says he ran over a cone and she told him to try again lol! He also had no idea what she was asking when she said 'honk'.

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passed on first try for both writing and driving tests with 99 and 92 points respectively :). not sure if the rule has changed but back then, if you scored more than 90 pts on the driving test, you were allowed to teach others. i taught my brother and sister and they both passed on the first try a few weeks later. we had never driven before arriving in the us.

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I had been driving for almost 20 years in Africa (on the left) and was nervous about driving in CA. But I passed both the written and behind the wheel test on my first attempt. I spent hours online, using practice tests for the written exam (there are so many free ones online - some really good) and then for my behind the wheel test, I looked at You Tube videos. Again, there are so many online and some specific to the California test. I then booked 3 driving lessons and told my driving instructor that all I really wanted was specific advise on the behind the wheel test, so my instructor took me along the test route, and highlighted stuff to me as we drove - what to look out for, what to be careful of etc.

Good luck!


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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: United Kingdom
Timeline

R and L, did you take driving lessons before your test? I have been driving here on my UK license and renting cars, driven a 480 mile round trip a few times and driven in Manhattan too.

I had a lesson yesterday and the instructor gave me a few pointers on using Stop signs properly (I know that sounds kind of dumb, but on back roads, with restricted views for right turns, I would do as I did in the UK, which was stop and creep forwards, not really stopping a second time) and also we did a lot of parallel parking so I could get over the differences of being on the other side of the car when parking.

I realize I'm in a different state (in fact I'm closer to London than I am to San Francisco!), but I understand your pain of driving for so long and not being able to just get the license exchanged!

My friend at work is in the same situation as me, but she didn't take any lessons, just went for the 5 hour class and then went for the test, she failed. I was amazed that the test is only 10 minutes though!


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Haven't taken the test yet, but all the Europeans I met here in CA told me I should expect to fail at least once.

They advised me to look for videos online that point out what the examiner will be paying attention to exactly: checking above your shoulder before changing lanes, getting in the bike lane before turning right, turning right on red light, etc...

They want to check if you're following specific rules, the fact that you're an experienced driver doesn't seem to be taken into account at all.


USCIS STAGE: 16 days No expedite request but USC residing abroad

NVC STAGE: 19 days from case # to case complete

EMBASSY STAGE
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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Sweden
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I took the tests in Florida (Orlando) and I was amazed at how easy it was. We never drove onto any road with traffic on it. The entire test was carried out on the parking lot outside the DMV and an adjacent road with no traffic on it. The test consisted of

Parking in the parking lot

Telling the examiner what to consider when parking on a hill/incline.

Stopping at a stop sign.

Using turn signals etc when turning.

Accelerating to 20mph and breaking hard without skidding.

Making a three-point-turn

Backing up (Make sure to keep a hand on the seat and look out the back when doing this). They will be looking to see if you swerve while doing this

Driving back to the parking lot. While obeying relevant rules.

Getting a license in Florida is about $48. Getting a license in Sweden will cost you no less then about $700 (mandatory fees). The average amount spent is about $2000.

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I took the tests in Florida (Orlando) and I was amazed at how easy it was. We never drove onto any road with traffic on it. The entire test was carried out on the parking lot outside the DMV and an adjacent road with no traffic on it. The test consisted of

Parking in the parking lot

Telling the examiner what to consider when parking on a hill/incline.

Stopping at a stop sign.

Using turn signals etc when turning.

Accelerating to 20mph and breaking hard without skidding.

Making a three-point-turn

Backing up (Make sure to keep a hand on the seat and look out the back when doing this). They will be looking to see if you swerve while doing this

Driving back to the parking lot. While obeying relevant rules.

Getting a license in Florida is about $48. Getting a license in Sweden will cost you no less then about $700 (mandatory fees). The average amount spent is about $2000.

The question here was about California. Traffic regulations and driving tests are state specific.


USCIS STAGE: 16 days No expedite request but USC residing abroad

NVC STAGE: 19 days from case # to case complete

EMBASSY STAGE
03/27/12: interview - APPROVED

04/12/12: POE San Diego

ROC
12/19/14: received reminder letter from USCIS to file for ROC
01/15/14: sent I-751 application
01/16/14: NOA1/1 year extension
01/21/14: check cashed
01/24/14: received biometrics appointment letter for 02/11

05/14/14: received card production notification by e-mail, approval date 05/13

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Thanks to all for the replies! :)

Well I failed because I turned to right too slow (ok, almost stopped as was checking if there is pedestrians as there was a pedestrian crossing) and the examiner then decided to intervene - which means a fail. I should have driven faster that left turn.

My second mistake I didn't really understand actually. I was doing a left turn in an intersection and when I was in the middle of the intersection ready to turn left she yelled and intervened again. But I don't really understand what I was doing exactly wrong? Hesitating maybe a bit?

Well, I feel a bit relief to hear that almost everyone fails the first attempt here in CA! Thanks Laure&Colin!!!

Haven't done my second attempt yet as was so embarrassed of my first fail that wanted to drive more and improve my skills. But even though I can understand that I could be more assertive in my driving I still think my examiner was also very tough and felt like she expected absolutely perfect driving! I wish I could just have it like EmigratingSwede! Jealous!!

Nylonmac, my driving test was over 20 minutes actually!!! Hmm...driving school wouldn't hurt (my hubby suggested the same) but I'm still being stubborn (and stupidly proud :P ) that I guess it takes a second fail for me to go and knock the driving school's door. Even though true, even one lesson might help me to clarify the CA rules in driving!

Well, I hope I can post here that I passed on my second...fingers crossed!


USCIS
Our case accepted at USCIS 6/6/2011
NOA1 6/7/2011
NOA2 10/6/2011

NVC
Our case arrives finally to NVC 11/2/2011
NVC case number assigned 11/23/2011
NVC case complete 12/8/2011!!! smile.pngsmile.png

Interview
Interview first assigned for 1/4/2012, but then rescheduled to 2/22/2012 as my hubby and I went on vacation.
2/22/2012 interview done and approved smile.png
2/28/12 My visa pick up from the embassy.
3/25/12 POE JFK

ROC

1/10/14 Roc package sent

1/13/14 NOA1 date

1/15/14 check cashed by CSC

2/07/14 Biometrics appointment

6/17/14 Card production ordered (ROC approved)

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Just updating my own topic here...I PASSED yesterday my behind the wheel! YAY! No more sweating about it!

Interesting though was that the first place I tried my examiner was such a tough lady and it felt like she failed me already before staring the whole test. And now, on my second try, my examiner in this other location was so nice! She made me relax and was really kind!

So YAY! (I honestly was saying yesterday over 20 times "I passed" to my hubby!)


USCIS
Our case accepted at USCIS 6/6/2011
NOA1 6/7/2011
NOA2 10/6/2011

NVC
Our case arrives finally to NVC 11/2/2011
NVC case number assigned 11/23/2011
NVC case complete 12/8/2011!!! smile.pngsmile.png

Interview
Interview first assigned for 1/4/2012, but then rescheduled to 2/22/2012 as my hubby and I went on vacation.
2/22/2012 interview done and approved smile.png
2/28/12 My visa pick up from the embassy.
3/25/12 POE JFK

ROC

1/10/14 Roc package sent

1/13/14 NOA1 date

1/15/14 check cashed by CSC

2/07/14 Biometrics appointment

6/17/14 Card production ordered (ROC approved)

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Filed: Other Country: Canada
Timeline

I passed on my first try but my test lasted maybe 10 minutes and the route was basically just around the block and she had me park on the side of the street where there was no cars, so parallel parking was super simple. At the end I was thinking to myself, is that it? :S


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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Japan
Timeline

It depends on the testing officer and the area. My instructor made me take the driving test at the DMV 30 miles away from my house. She said that DMV is very laid back and the course is easy as well. I passed at my first try. The lady who tested me was SO whatever. She kept talking about how she's getting off after me and is very happy. After she saw a dead squirrel on the street though, she just completely lost it. She told me how she loves animals and how sad she is right now so on. She was like "turn right there...o no actually left..." I felt dangerous listening to her direction LOL


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04/16/2012: Additional documents sent

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Filed: Country: United Kingdom
Timeline

I didn't have a license before moving here but I passed my test first time. The test here is very easy, all I had to do was drive around the block. I had to merge into traffic, use turning lanes and adhere to 3 different speed limits, that was it. I can imagine that driving in California is a bit different! Keep trying, you'll get through it! Many people fail the first time, don't be disheartened.

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Slovenia
Timeline

Passed both my written test and behind the wheel test on first try. I got my license in my home country about 10 years ago but I hadn't really been driving before moving to the US so I was kind of terrified of driving here because I was out of practice plus I think people here drive a little crazy. My husband always jokes: "If you can drive in California, you can drive anywhere." :) It took me a while to build up the courage to take the driving test. Now I'm zooming around in my car and loving it. :)


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