Getting a Dubai licence is essential if you want to drive in there. It is necessary to be aware of the rules relating to driving and driving licences in Dubai before you attempt to drive so that you can avoid difficult and dangerous situations. Look through the following information, advice and tips to ensure that you are prepared for driving in the United Arab Emirates.
There are different requirements for different circumstances. Since January 2010 the United Arab Emirates have got a unified driving licence which means that the Dubai driving licence is valid throughout the country.
Driving as a visitor to Dubai
If you are looking to drive in Dubai as a tourist, you will need to obtain an international driving licence from your home country. If you already have a drivers licence from your country, this should not be too difficult. With an international licence you will be allowed to rent a car.
Driving as a Dubai resident
Once you have residency in Dubai, your international driving licence will not allow you to rent or drive a car. You will need to obtain an official UAE driving licence to drive a rental or to drive your own vehicle legally.
If you cannot exchange your driving licence from your previous country of residence (see below), or if you do not have one you will need to pay for between twenty and forty driving classes in Dubai and then take your driving test. If you fail the test, you will have to attend driving classes again and then retake the test. Many people have difficulty passing the test the first time and so will have to retake it again, sometimes several times. It is necessary to prepare well for the test and take enough classes to ensure that you have a good chance of passing because both the test and the lessons are expensive.
Exchanging your driving licence for a UAE driving licence
If you have a driver’s licence and residency in one of the countries listed below you may apply to exchange your licence for a UAE licence. The list is up to date, but please be aware that the list does change and fluctuate.
- Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC)
- Europe (including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom)
- North and South America (including USA and Canada)
- East Asia (including Japan, South Korea and Singapore)
- Africa (South Africa)
- Australasia (Australia and New Zealand)
The consequences of driving without a licence
Many people use their international driving licences when they still have tourist status in Dubai and then simply continue using them when they achieve residency. The chances of getting caught are low but if you were to be involved in an accident or get stopped by the police, one of the following could happen to you.
- The car will probably be seized. If it is a rental you will be made to pay the rental company the cost of the vehicle.
- Your insurance will not be valid and so any damage incurred to your vehicle, to the rental vehicle or to any other persons or vehicles involved will have to be paid for out of your pocket.
- You will probably be severely fined by the Dubai government.
It is likely that your chances of getting an official Dubai licence will be damaged if you had to be caught driving without one or driving with your international licence once you have achieved residency.
Getting a dubai driving licence might be something of a process but avoiding penalties and heavy costs and ensuring that you are abiding by the law will give you peace of mind when you are on the road.