Driving in Dubai – part 1

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If you’re planning on driving in Dubai, you need to make sure you have a valid licence, and of course, that you respect the strict rules and regulations of the road.

If you’re not yet a resident, then you can use your International Driver’s Licence, which obviously you will have obtained at home before you left for Dubai. Rental companies will sometimes accept a valid licence, but make sure that it’s valid for the UAE before you depart.

If you’re planning on buying a property in Dubai and staying, then you’re going to need a Residence Visa, at which point you should normally be able to receive a Dubai Driving Licence.

It’s at this point that your International Licence is not valid for Dubai – once you’re a resident, you have to have a Dubai Licence.

Depending on where you come from, you may simply be able to transfer your licence from your home country over to Dubai. So, if you originate from one of the following countries:

Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States.

… then you can expect to get a licence transferred over, without the need for a driving test or a visit to a driving school.

However, if you are from Canada, you’ll need a letter from the Canadian Consulate in Dubai which proves that your licence is genuine. If you’re from Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, South Korea, Japan or Poland, then you’ll need a translation of your driving licence from your consulate in order to obtain a Dubai driving licence.

What documents do I need?

Quite a few. Ready?

  • Passport (your original and a photocopy)
  • Residence permit (original and a photocopy)
  • Your current driving licence (original and a photocopy)
  • If required as outlined above, a translation of your driving licence,
  • 1 passport-sized photo
  • An eye-test certificate
  • AED 360
  • A no-objection letter from your employer (or sponsor)

You can get an eye test done at any optician. Many opticians will not charge you, and you need to give them two passport-sized photographs, and tell them that it’s for your driving licence.

Once you have accumulated all the necessary documents, take them along to the Dubai Traffic Department Driving Licence Section in Al Ghusais, from 7:30 until 2:30 on any working day, and ladies – you can go to the Ladies’ section which will speed things up.

You will then need to fill out the forms, pay the money, submit your documents, and have your photograph taken. You should receive your licence on the same day.

In part 2 – the rules of the road…

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