The Omission of Emissions

I successfully completed my car registration today!

I know, who cares, right? It's one of those cultural moments I can't pass up, though: the process is vastly different than in the US.

Proof of vehicle registration here is called a Marbete (a Spanish word meaning "label" or "tag") and comes in the form of a holographic sticker that goes on the righthand side of your car's windshield. Marbetes are purchased from a specific local bank chain for RD$3,000 (a little over $50USD) if your car is newer than 2016. There's no inspection requirement, and certainly no emissions testing! 

Typically, they go on sale October 1. Drivers have until December 31 to purchase them; the longer you wait, the longer the lines get. They're good for one year and must be correctly placed by January 1. You can't remove the prior year's Marbete until December 31, so everyone simply adds the new one to a gradually lengthening lineup down the side of the windshield. As you can see, I'm on #4. 

Everything takes longer in Latin America. My 2021 Marbete took three attempts: 
  1. Early October, when I was told they wouldn't be on sale until the end of the month (which turned out to be November 17). I presume this was somehow pandemic-related. 
  2. Monday, when the teller wouldn't issue it to me because the last digit of the expiration date was cut off on my photocopy of one of the required documents. I honestly had no idea!
  3. Today, when our lifesaver of a secretary, Clarissa, dropped mine off at my house. It turns out I wouldn't have been able to get mine Monday anyway since they're only being issued to people with permanent residency. I gladly handed over my RD$3,000 and accepted her offer to stand in for me!
Until next time, blessings!