Driving in Dubai

To drive in Dubai, you need a local driver's license. Most foreign licenses are not accepted in the Emirates. However, a list of 36 countries was drawn up for which no driving test is required. If your home country is listed, you must get a letter from your national embassy or consulate confirmimg the validity of your license, then have it translated into Arabic before submitting your application to the Police department. A photocopy of your passport is mandatory. Fees apply. Upon presentation of all the required documents, you should get your local driver's license within a fortnight.

If your country is not part of the 36 countries listed, you need to undergo training and take driving tests in a local driving school. In order to register in a driving school in Dubai, you need to take sight tests and provide your no-objection letter from your employer. A temporary driver's licence will be issued during your driving sessions. You will then need to take practical and theoretical tests. If tests are successful, you will receive your local driver's license. Fees apply.

  Good to know:

Given the high temperatures in the region, it is highly recommended to get a car with an air conditioning system. A technical inspection is performed annually. If inspection is satisfactory, you will be allowed to renew your license. Zero tolerance is applied in Dubai for speeding or drunk driving.

  Useful links:

Complete procedures for getting a driving license in Dubai

Approved list of 36 countries

Julien Founder
Member since 11 March 2005
Grand Baie, Mauritius
1 Comment
6 years ago

The article requires some correction. He is recommending to buy a car with air-conditioning. This is kind of funny. You do not have an option, all cars sold in the UAE are fitted with air-conditioning. So the only choice you have is to switch off the a/c if you don't need it. On acceptance of selected foreign driving licenses, you have to still obtain an UAE drivier license by doing simple paperwork and payment. If your contry license is not recognized, then you have to go through approved driving schools to obtain UAE driver license. It used to be among the toughest in the world to obtain, and not as easy as for example in the USA. However nowadays with the driving schools playing a major role, it is relatively less difficult. The Metro rail is just getting in place; the public bus service is good but very slow and not suitable for meeting appointments or your work schedules; taxis are good, expensive and the reliability depends on your day's luck. Roads in UAE are among the best in the world. It is left-hand drive like in the Europe or US. There is no such thing as a 'temporary driving license'. You simply cannot drive (other than learning in an L-boarded car) until you pass driving tests and get a regular license. The annual 'technical inspection' is not for renewal of license. It is a procedure for renewal of car registration. Your car has to be in reasonably good condition, and all insurances and fines have to be fully paid up before registration is renewed. The driving license itself is normally valid for 10 years. However due to recent increases in road accidents, they have started issuing license on an yearly basis. There are any number of speed detection radars on UAE roads. It is not a question of zero tolerance, there is some tolerance.

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