Here we describe in detail how you would go about getting a Cayman Islands driving licence. We cover the process for getting your first driving licence and how to convert an overseas driving licence to a Cayman driving licence.
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Cayman has very strict traffic laws, so regardless of the fact that you might have had an overseas diving licence for years, you will still need to take a theory test to make sure that you understand our traffic signs and the rules of our roads. For those that have never had a driving licence you will need to take a theory test and a practical driving test, and pass both, before you can be issued with a Cayman Islands driving licence.
How to Apply for a New Driving Licence
For those who don’t have a full driving licence, the path is fairly routine, but the process is quite slow. First, you have to apply at one of the Department of Vehicle & Drivers’ Licencing (DVDL) offices for an appointment for a theory test of driving knowledge.
Theory & Driving Tests for Non-Licence Holders
First, you have to apply at one of the Department of Vehicle & Drivers’ Licensing (DVDL) offices for an appointment for a theory test of driving knowledge. You have 40 minutes to answer 40 multiple choice questions (on a touch screen computer) of which you must get 80% correct. The test costs CI$25 and if there is space available you can take the test at the time of booking. Take your passport on all visits to the DVDL test centre for proof of identification. In the Cayman Islands you have to be 17 years old and a day to be qualified to apply for a licence.
To learn all you need to know to pass the written test, the DVDL recommends that you review their official Road Code booklet which can be found on their website, as well as parts of the Traffic Law 2011 and all of the Traffic Regulations 2012. Their website has a wealth of information on it, including links to all the traffic laws. Alternatively, there is a very detailed and well informed driving instruction book called ‘Drive Safely in Cayman’ by Graham Walker, who started teaching driving in Cayman in 1992. He has retired from teaching on the road but still updates his book every other year. It costs CI$20 at local booksellers.
Having passed the theory test, you can then obtain a learner’s licence for CI$60, which is valid for six months, and allows you to drive whilst accompanied by someone with a full Cayman licence (who has been qualified for two years). An ‘L’ plate must be visible on the front and back of the vehicle. Also make sure that your car insurance policy covers a learner driver; most will require that the learner is put on the insurance.
Six weeks after obtaining the provisional licence, the practical road test can be taken for a fee of CI$50. Note that it cannot be taken earlier than the six weeks or later than six months after obtaining the provisional licence. You can book an appointment for the practical road test in advance after passing the written test. After successfully passing the practical test, a full, unrestricted licence will be given.
Note that there is no difference in a driving licence for automatic or standard shift (manual) cars. You can take your test in either type of car and then drive whatever you like. A full driver’s licence will be issued when both exams are passed. For Groups 0-3 there will be a fee of CI$125 for three years or CI$175 for five years. For Group 4+ it is CI$170 for three years or CI$250 for five years.
Brand new drivers to Cayman’s roads can organise driving lessons with either Burmon Scott from the The Real Thing Driving School (Tel: (345) 925 5094 or (345) 927 5094 or email: email@example.com) or Martin (Tony) Senior from Martin’s School of Motoring (call or WhatsApp (345) 923 7218 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Tony Martin is Cayman’s only Approved Driving Instructor with the British School of Motoring. Both companies have the simple aim of turning a fair driver into a good and safe one.
Converting an Existing Driving Licence
According to the Traffic (Amendment) Bill (2018) if you have a full, valid domestic driving licence from a Convention country – a country within either the Geneva, Vienna or Paris Convention on Road Traffic Agreement (see www.dvdl.gov.ky for a full list of applicable countries) – you may drive on it for a period not exceeding six months. You must then take (and pass) the written theory test before your licence can be converted to a Cayman driver’s licence. However, if you fail to complete this transfer during those six months, then you will have to take both tests (theory and practical) in order to get a local driver’s licence. This basically means that people from all the major European countries, most major English speaking countries (including Canada, the USA and South Africa) and a handful of Caribbean countries, are entitled to obtain a Cayman driving licence after they have passed the written theory test. You then have the option of getting a driver’s licence that is valid for three, five, or ten years.
If you currently have a learner’s permit or are enroled in the Graduated Driver’s Licensing Program from another country, then you will have to schedule to take both the written theory and practical road tests in Cayman.
If you have an International Driving permit, you can legally drive on it for as long as it is valid. However, you cannot convert an International Driving permit to a Cayman driver’s licence.
If you have a full, valid driving licence from a country that is not a Convention country, then under section 29 of Traffic (Amendment) Bill, 2018 you are allowed to drive for one month, provided that you drive a motor car, a truck not exceeding 8,500lbs, or a motorcycle under 125cc. After one month you are required to pass both the written theory and practical road tests. However, you do not need to hold a learner’s licence in order to sit the practical road test as you already have driving experience.
If you are caught driving without a valid licence, then there is an automatic CI$4,000 fine or imprisonment for up to 12 months
There are three groups of motorcycle licences: Group O (up to 50cc), Group 1 (up to 125cc) and Group 1A (over 125cc). You must be at least 19 years of age to drive a motorcycle with an engine over 125cc.
Locations: The Department of Vehicle & Drivers’ Licensing (DVDL)
The DVDL is authorised to inspect and test vehicles, register motor vehicles and maintain the register, issue licences in respect of motor vehicles and drivers, and conduct driving tests.
The Department of Vehicle & Drivers’ Licensing (DVDL) has three locations in Grand Cayman
- 990 Crewe Road, Red Bay, Tel: (345) 945 8344, Email: email@example.com or Web: www.dvdl.gov.ky. Open: Monday-Friday 8.30am-4pm
- 9 Reverend Blackman Road, West Bay (Across from the West Bay Police Station) Tel: (345) 949 7231, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Web: www.dvdl.gov.ky. Open: Tuesday-Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 9am-4pm
- Breakers, Frank Sound (across Sea View Road from the South Coast Bar and Grill) Tel: (345) 244 5528, Email: email@example.com or Web: www.dvdl.gov.ky. Open: Tuesday-Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 9am-4pm
Without a shadow of a doubt the busiest DVDL office in Grand Cayman is the one in Red Bay which is very near the Hurleys roundabout. Expect a two hour wait when you go to get anything done. Also worth noting is that the West Bay location does not have a car inspection bay so you must take your car to either Red Bay or Breakers to be inspected. You can then take the paperwork to West Bay to be processed.
The Department of Vehicle & Drivers’ Licensing (DVDL) in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman:
- Cayman Brac District Administration Building. Tel: (345) 948 2222. Open: Monday-Friday 8.30am-4pm
- Little Cayman District Administration Building, Tel: (345) 948 1051. Open: Every other Thursday 9am-2.30pm
For more information visit their website.