Do visitors still need to get temporary driving permits?

| 31/05/2019
Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

For many years visitors to the Cayman Islands have been required to purchase a temporary driver’s permit in order to rent and/or drive a vehicle. In most cases the visitors purchased the temporary permits from the car rental agency. Recently I have read online that the temporary driver’s permit is no longer required in Cayman and that the rental agencies are no longer collecting fees for the permits. However, the website for the Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing currently states that visitors to the Cayman Islands ARE required to purchase a temporary driver’s permit.

Would you please clarify the current licence/permit requirements (and fees, if any) for visitors planning to rent a car and drive while in the Cayman Islands?

Auntie’s answer: This is an issue that has bothered both visitors and residents who have guests on island who want to be able to drive. Every time I have addressed a related question, it seemed to generate even more questions and several annoyed comments.

However, all that is finally about to change. I asked the DVDL your question and an official confirmed that the dreaded visitor’s driving permit is no more. The new rule, which came into effect 29 April 2019, says that visitors from countries that have signed on to the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (see explanation and list of signatories here) no longer need to purchase a temporary permit. They are allowed to drive in Cayman on their foreign licence for the duration of their visit, up to a maximum of six months.

It is a much different story for visitors from non-Convention countries, though. Those drivers cannot use their home licences to drive in Cayman. The only option for them would be to undergo the entire process to earn a Cayman driver’s licence (which would clearly not be feasible for a tourist here for a relatively short time) or not to drive.

“The privilege of driving on the foreign licence is only extended to those drivers licences that are issued by a member country,” the DVDL official explained, and then added the words so many have been hoping to hear: “Temporary permits are now a thing of the past.”

The DVDL is in the process of updating the relevant page on its website, which therefore is unavailable at the moment. The new page explaining the changes will be ready by Monday (3 June) and will be accessible by a link on the DVDL homepage.

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Category: Ask Auntie, Vehicle Licensing Questions

Comments (13)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I rented a car here for the first time in 1995 , I used my Canadain license no one said anything otherwise

  2. Anonymous says:

    What is the position of people on full work permits and even Temporary Work Permits? They are not visitors.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is great news, thanks for the prompt response, Auntie!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, so does this also cover those borrowing your own private vehicle whilst visiting?

    Auntie: Visitors borrowing a private vehicle did not need a licence even before this. See here.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Anyone who plans to rent a car in Europe, should also get an IDP before they go.

  6. Wreck Less says:

    I hope the DVDL checks the licences of it’s vehicle examiners.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Which is great news for visitors , however , one cannot see where any of the B.O.T.C member territories ( Incl’ Cayman) are listed in any of the conventions , none. Possibly Auntie can pose that query to the DVDL?

  8. Eliza Harford says:

    Thanks for this CNS, very useful

  9. Anonymous says:

    Nice that they finally decided to follow the law …..

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, this law has been in effect for several years, but try telling the rental companies that. Maybe showing them the DVDL webpage (if it is ever actually changed) will be the breakthrough. An interesting question would be-how much money have the rental companies been making per license they sell?