Getting to Grips With Driving in St Lucia

Information on driving in St Lucia. Tourists and British expats who’ve invested in property in St Lucia will need to obtain a local permit or licence.

The beautiful Caribbean island of St Lucia is perennially popular with British citizens. It has always been a sought-after holiday destination but, increasingly, many are investing in property in St Lucia with a view to retirement or a sea change abroad.

The prospect of driving a car in a foreign country may be intimidating for some, and it’s important to understand not only the legalities, but also the practicalities of taking to the roads abroad. For anyone who’s going to be driving on this beautiful Caribbean island, the following information may make things a little easier – especially for those who have purchased a property in St Lucia and are planning to move there permanently.

Legalities

Anyone wishing to drive on the island is required to be in possession of a valid temporary driving permit or local driver’s licence.

Temporary visitors: Even if you’re only planning on driving for a couple of days you’ll need to obtain a permit. A driving permit can be obtained from the airport (at the immigration desk), a local police station, or can be issued by a rental car company. The minimum age for car rentals is 25, and for those over 65 a medical certificate (valid for six months) is required. A temporary permit is valid for three months and costs USD$ 20.

***If you’re already in possession of an international driving permit issued in the UK, while you won’t need to obtain another when you arrive, you will need to have the international permit stamped at immigration in order to validate it.

Expat residents: If you’ve purchased a property in St Lucia and are a new resident to the island, you’ll need to organise a local driving licence rather than just a temporary permit. These are issued by the Ministry of Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport and the process takes one or two days once you’ve submitted an application. What you’ll need to take • Medical certificate, stating that you’re fit to drive• Valid UK driving licence• Passport sized photos for application x 2• Proof of residency or citizenship (a St Lucian passport, work permit, Social Security number, or title deeds of your local property) • Fee (XCD$ 300 for three years)The Ministry is located in Castries and opening hours are 8.00am-2.00pm Monday to Friday. Phone: 1 (758) 468 4300

Practicalities

Once you’ve obtained your licence or permit you’re free to drive legally. As rules and regulations on the road vary greatly between countries, the following basic tips are very useful to know when you’re starting out.• Driving is on the left – same as the UK• Minimum age for driving is 18 years• Speed limits are in miles (they vary so always check the signs, but usually 15mph in built up city areas, 30mph in rural areas, and 40mph on motorways)• Seat belts are compulsory for drivers and passengers• The driver is responsible if passengers litter!• Legal blood alcohol limit for driving is 0.08%• Children under seven must be restrained in safety seats• Give way to your right – including on roundabouts• You’re legally required to report any accident to police within 24 hours

The Long and Winding Roads

In recent years there has been a major upgrade by the government of all major public roads – which is welcome news for anyone in the process of, or contemplating, purchasing property in St Lucia.

That said, in many of the more rural areas you’ll encounter winding, elevated roads (especially around the scenic West Coast region), so caution is always recommended. Keep an eye out for unexpected potholes and wandering dogs or sheep! If you plan on heading to the more remote areas off the main highway, a 4WD vehicle is advisable. There’s no need to be apprehensive about driving in St Lucia; as long as you take care of the legalities and pay attention to the practicalities you’ll be motoring like a local in no time.

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Driving Permit, You’ll Need


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