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A 7-Step Guide to Renewing Your License in Egypt

You thought there would be lines and computers and straightforward procedures? Think again. Here's how to get your driving license renewed in 7 terribly difficult steps.

Don't Drive to the Traffic Department 

Do NOT take your car. You will never find parking and most people there will not understand the irony. Cab it. Tell the cab driver about your venture he will sympathise and therefore not rip you off. First, according to where you reside you must get your traffic certificate. This is your behaviour card. You have nothing to worry about if you have never had a fight with a police officer. If you have been living the life of Fernando Alanso, however, then maybe you need to contact someone who knows someone who knows someone before you go.  

Time For a Medical  

Head to a "medical centre" next to any given traffic department for an eye test and general check up. Kindly note that the medical centre does not resemble a medical centre. Do not be confused nor discouraged. They don’t actually check up on you, not because you’ve slipped them a bribe, but simply because no one can be bothered. If you lose a lot of blood during a car accident do not refer back to your car license for help.

Join the Line 

Next and most importantly, you must make your way into the actual traffic department. This is the final level and the hardest. You will join a group of people crowding around a small window to get your papers stamped. There are NO lines, do NOT attempt to make a line, do NOT call out someone cutting in line and do NOT make faces. The trick is not to intimidate the surrounding environment. Hover around the window until clerk beckons you...otherwise stay put.

Fight, Fight, Fight

It is likely a fight will erupt. A fight between a citizen and a government employee or a fight between a citizen and a citizen. If the fight is between the latter, duck, pivot and use the commotion to get to the window, strike up a conversation about the fight with the employee WHILST handing them the papers. If the fight is between citizen and employee take the side of the employee and once the fight is done, complain about the citizen to the employee, sympathising with his hard knock life WHILST handing him your papers. 

Please Sir, Can You Take My Picture? 

Next you need to have your photo taken. By now, you will have week knees and will be very agitated; you're emotional so don’t make any decisions at this point. Go with the flow. Having just accepted a bribe, the guy whose job it is to take your picture has naturally gone to redeem himself by praying...Prayer will usually take from one to two hours, that is, assuming the employee has not gone home all together. Wait with a smile plastered on your face because, remember: you do not want to intimidate your surroundings. If truly agitated, you may complain to a nearby police officer. He will do something about it and your picture will be taken, but remember, you just complained to a police officer about the guy about to take your picture....But hey, maybe you're beautiful on the inside.

Say Cheese

Whether you have complained about him or not the man to take your picture has probably just had a fight with his wife and is in no mood to set up the right lighting to capture the perfect #Instapicture of you. If the employee is a woman, compliment her with a straight face, if a man, compliment him too. For the perfect picture you will have had to venture through this whole journey all made up. Do NOT assume you still look good at the final stage; you will most probably resemble a dishevelled mountain goat so refer to mirror. There are no bathrooms so you must keep a mirror in your bag. There will be no count down and no ready, steady, go. Sit prepared. Employee may try and distract you and you will be sitting on a broken chair...but you’ve almost made it so do not give up now. After the shot, the employee will tell you you look terrible, do not bother asking to take it again; he will refuse.

The Final Hurdle

You will be bewildered now...should you go to another office to pick up your license? No. Do not intimidate your surroundings and under no circumstance are you to ask employee what is next. Stay put and wait. After a long wait, you will suddenly find a pile of people huddled around one man giving out small cards. Join in the huddle and push forward forcefully with arm stretched before you towards centre of the huddle. You will feel a card slipped into your hands: that is your license. Take it and run. If huddle the disperses and you have not been given anything, go back and wait for next huddle, repeat until handed card.