How to Get a Solomon Islands Driver’s Licence
Anyone who knows me knows that I hate driving. In fact, I was sitting on my restricted licence for about five years and only got my full licence a week before arriving in the Solomons.
After only seven months of being here, I have spent more hours on the road driving in the Solomon Islands, than in New Zealand, the country of where I have spent most of my life. The traffic here is so bad, sometimes I’ve spent four hours in a day trying to navigate the 10 km stretch of road from one side of town to the other. My driving experience has tripled. Quadrupled!
Does all that experience make me a better driver? Pft. Half the time I’m at a standstill waiting for the right stars to align before the traffic starts moving and when I do start moving it’s at an island speed of 10 km an hour. If anything, I have become a better judge of pothole depth.
In any case, 2017 will go down in my life as a huge milestone: the year I got two licences in a year.
Here’s how you too, can become a qualified Solomon Islands licence holder.
Note: If you have a full New Zealand Driver’s Licence, you can drive in country for four months of arriving without a Solomon Islands driver’s licence.
Getting a Solomon Islands Driver’s Licence
- Full New Zealand Driver’s Licence
- This form filled out
- 103 SBD or 278 SBD or 438 SBD
Step 1: Go to IRD
Go to the IRD office. Yes, the Inland Revenue Division; the place that does taxes. The building is on the seaside side of the town-ground roundabout with a blue fence and no signs for clarity. Get there early. Or not. The counter officially opens at 8 am, but no one may show up until 9 am.
Step 2: Find the right counter
There are several counters, all of which are clearly marked (for once). Figure out which line of 20 people you should stand behind (Hint: It’s the counter that says “Driver Licencing”. These were the people that came on time at 8 am and didn’t mind waiting for the counter to open at 9 am. They have earned their right to be at the front of the line.
Step 3: Present form
When it’s finally your turn, present the form, tell the man at the counter that you have an overseas driver’s license and want a Solomon one. If you didn’t print and fill out the form beforehand… go back to step one.
Step 4: Pay fee
Show the counter man your New Zealand license, pose for your new photo, and pay the man the fee: 103 SBD for one year, 278 SBD for three years, 438 SBD for five years. Your licence will be issued within a minute. Check for spelling mistakes, they happen. Congrats!
Next…. How to licence a car.