I hate driving. In fact, I was sitting on my restricted licence for about five years and only got my full licence only one week before arriving in the Solomons.
Because the traffic here is so bad, after only seven months of being here, I have spent more hours driving in the Solomon Islands, than I have spent driving in my own home country. The traffic is so bad I once spent four hours 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. Most of the time I’m at a standstill waiting for the right stars to align before the traffic starts moving. And when it does 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 one year.
Here’s how you too, can become a qualified Solomon Islands drivers licence holder.
Note: If you have a full New Zealand Driver’s Licence, you can drive in Solomon Islands for four months of arriving without a Solomon Islands driver’s licence.
Getting a Solomon Islands Driver’s Licence
- Full Driver’s Licence
- This form filled out
- SBD 103 or SBD 278 or SBD 438 (depending on the length of licence holding)
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 will 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 people you should stand behind. Hint: It’s the counter that says “Drivers Licensing”.
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, fill it out on the spot.
Step 4: Pay the fee
Show the counter man your current and full licence, pose for your new photo, and pay the man the fee: SBD 103 for one year, SBD 278 for three years, SBD 438 for five years. Your licence will be issued within a minute. Check for spelling mistakes, they happen.
Next… How to licence a car.