Congratulations on your move to the Cayman Islands. If you plan on buying a car, you will need to obtain a Cayman Islands Driver’s License. This is an exciting and equally busy time, and I’m sure your to-do list is exceptionally long. But you want to get this done within the allocated 6-month window of opportunity.
The island of Grand Cayman is only or all of 22 miles long depending on how you look at it. Suffice to say it is small, but not very walkable. The island has a very good public transportation system. However, depending on where you choose to reside, you will probably need a car. So here is my step-by-step guide to obtaining a driver’s license in the Cayman Islands.
This post is for people who already know how to drive and possess a driver’s license in the country from which you are relocating.
Driving in Cayman
There are no special permits required to drive in the Cayman Islands. In fact, you can drive immediately on arrival with a valid driver’s license from North America, Europe, or the Caribbean. However, if you plan to reside in the Cayman Islands for longer than six months, you will be classified as a new resident. New residents require a locally issued driver’s license to legally drive in the Cayman Islands.
The Traffic Act defines a “new resident” as a person who has been granted permission to stay in the Islands for a period exceeding six months, and is still in the person’s initial six-month period of residence. This initial six-month period is your opportunity to easily secure a Cayman Islands Driver’s License.
Foreign License Exchange
If you qualify for a Foreign License Exchange, this is the quickest way to obtain your local Drivers’ license. However, y0u will need to do this while you are still considered a “new resident”. This process is remarkably simple. Eligibility means that you hold a valid driver’s license from one of the approved countries. You can check your eligibility here Geneva Convention Countries. Once you qualify, the steps are as follows:
1. Schedule your written test
This is the only test you will need if scheduled within your initial six months on the island. It can be done by calling or visiting the Department of Vehicle Licensing. Customer service department to make your appointment. There is a $25.00 fee attached that can be paid over the phone with a credit card or in person at the time of booking.
2. Sit and pass your written test
With your appointment date scheduled, you will need to turn up at the Department of Vehicle Licensing, Crewe Road Location, to sit and take the test. I highly recommend you look at the official road code booklet and familiarize yourself with all the traffic signs depicted in it. You want to be deeply knowledgeable on how to navigate them on your written test. You can read it online and even take practice exams to familiarize yourself with how the exam is administered.
Quick tip – before your test, take a drive around town and familiarize yourself with the roundabouts, as they can be scary to navigate (especially if you are not used to driving with so many of them)
3. Paying for your license
On the day of your written test, take cash or a valid credit card to pay the relevant fees. Here is a link to the written test application form You will need proof of identity, and I recommended taking your passport for this. Also, take the license you will be exchanging.
Once you obtain a passing score, you can then proceed to have your license exchanged. The cost to exchange your license is $50, and you have the option of a 3-year, 5-year, or 10-year license starting at $75.
Driving for your License
If you do not qualify for a License exchange or miss the 6-month window, you will need to complete a practical road test in addition to your written test. The process is still straightforward with the additional step of doing a practical road test. You will need to book an appointment for your written test as outlined above. Once you pass the test, you will be issued a Provisional Drivers’ License valid for up to 6 months, in which time you will then need to pass the practical test.
Upon receipt of your provisional driver’s license, you can book your practical test anytime after four weeks and before six months. There is an additional cost of $50 for your provisional license and another $50 for your practical test.
From experience, I would highly recommend booking a driving lesson with a local instructor before your practical test. This will allow you to get familiar with the road, how they test, and overall increase your confidence before your exam.
Good luck, and see you on the road. Remember to keep left and always give way to the driver on your right! 😊