Steps on Getting A Driver’s License in Jamaica (2019)

Hey guys I’m back with another post! If you remember my first post My Struggles With Learning How to Drive in Jamaica I complained bitterly about my experience with learning to drive and the fear of my impending test. So based on the topic of this post, it’s safe to assume that I got my Driver’s License!! I am so glad I got it on the first try, so happy to the point that I’m going to write a blog post. I hope that by doing this I can provide some clarity to the process and help another person who may be in a similar situation such as I was.

This is going to be a pretty comprehensive blog post. 

According to Tax Administration Jamaica, A driver’s licence is a permit which allows you to operate a motor vehicle legally. Under Jamaica’s Road Traffic Laws, you must be licensed to operate a motor vehicle on the road ways. For a Learner Driver you must apply and pay for a Provisional Driver’s License, which can be obtained at your local Tax Office. The Provisional Driver’s License allows an unlicensed individual to operate a motor vehicle on the public roads while under the supervision of a driver with a license. You should be at least 17 years of age. At the Tax Office you will need to present:

  • Your Tax Registration Number (TRN)
  • 2 Passport Sized Pictures that have been notarized
  • $1800* application fee

*Accurate at the time of writing and is subject to increase 

You will also be asked to complete a short application form, which is used to prove literacy, as you are expected to be literate before you take on the nation’s roads. Which I am going to assume you are since you’re reading this article. This process is pretty seamless and should take no more than 30 minutes but depending on the time of the month you visit the Tax Office you may encounter longer waiting times.

There are also classes of Driver’s Licenses that you should be aware of. They are the Private License and the General License.

Private Driver’s License

A person holding a private licence is allowed to drive only a motor car, however, it can be of standard or automatic transmission. The choice is based on the preference of the driver. You can also drive SUV’s like a Rav4. You will need to read the Road Code book; its referred to as the red book and is easily accessible.

General Driver’s License

A person holding a general licence is allowed to drive trucks, public passenger vehicles (PPV), and commercial vehicles. However, a person cannot drive a PPV unless it is stipulated on the licence. Additionally, the driver must be at least 21 years old.
When paying for the Driving Exam a General Licence application must be signed by a medical doctor, while this is not required for a Private Licence. You will need to read both the Road Code book (red book) and the Mechanics book ( called the green book, I did’t use it so I am not entirely sure of what it looks like).

Driving Lessons

After you have done all the above it is now time to procure the services of a Driving Instructor. If your relatives are willing to teach you then great. If you don’t have relatives available to teach you, then you will need an instructor. Costs varies from instructor to instructor and you also have to think about if you would like to go with an established driving school or to go with a private individual. One thing you should expect from the get go is that Standard Lessons will be more expensive than Automatic Lessons.

Most instructors will charge a flat rate per lesson and a package rate for up to 10 lessons. There is no set number on the amount lessons required, therefore it is up to you to make the best of your lessons. If you have the convenience to practice with a private car at home then do so and do it frequently. If not, do not fear, I didn’t get much practice outside of paid lessons and I made it. However, you may have to pay for more lessons, supplement with YouTube videos and by definitely reading the prescribed books.

Driving Test

After you have completed the requisite lessons your competence will be tested at an examination board. You will have to return to the Tax Office and obtain and an additional application form for the class of license you will be tested on or you can print them online from TAJ’s website (wish I knew that). Now :

  • You will have fill out the form and get it notarized.
  • You will need 3 more notarized passport pictures and
  • The test fee, I paid $3,240.00 for a Private Test. It’s the same cost for a General Test.

To be honest at no point did anyone ask if me I was Private Automatic or Private Standard. My license doesn’t differentiate either.

I did a Private Automatic test so from this point forward I will only be able to share what I did on my test day.

  1. Written Test-  I did 25 Multiple choice questions examining my knowledge of the road code. It was very easy and will be for you too provided you studied the questions and answers at the back of the books. At the end of the test you will also be asked to read a sentence to prove that you can read.
  2. Yard Test- This included a parallel parking test and a reverse test.
  3. Road Test- This was done on the road and is used to test your comprehensive knowledge of the road. You will be tested on your awareness, use of appropriate signals, use of mirrors, using minor roads to turn back, acknowledgement of speed limits, possible use of a round a bout or dual carriage way. Ask that your instructor take you on test route frequently during your lessons so that you can be familiarized with it. Don’t be shy, you’re paying for it.

If you are a successful applicant….

You will be given a date to pick up your Driver’s License at your local Tax Office – do not rush to go there on that date, it will not be ready. Go a month after the date given. At that point you will pay the prescribed fee for a Private Driver’s License. I paid $5400* . For a General License, the fee is $7,200*.

*Accurate at time of writing. Subject to change.

If you are an unsuccessful applicant….

You will receive a new appointment slip indicating the areas of failure and a return date. You will return on the new date with a new examination fee receipt (yes you have to pay again). You will not redo the sections you passed, only the sections you failed. So if you passed the written, passed the reverse and failed the parallel when you return you will pick up from the parallel.

I’ve provided links to Tax Administration Website for additional Information:


I hope that this article was helpful. Until next time!

Published by

Tamera Little

Random topics ahead :)

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