Article image: Getting a driving licence in the UAE

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If you come to the UAE as a tourist, you may drive a car having an international driving permit, which you have obtained earlier in your home country.

According to the country's law, if you live in the UAE and have a residence visa, then you may drive a car only in the case that the licence was issued in the UAE. An international driving permit is not effective in such a case, and the traffic police will simply ignore it. At the same time, the absence of the UAE licence may result a fine or, in rare cases, even with an imprisonment!

What is required to obtain a driving licence in the UAE?

First, you should be a full age and be the resident of the United Arab Emirates. Second, you should take your driving test in the Emirate where you have obtained a visa.

To join a driving school you need to:

  • Pass an eye exam. You can do it either at driving school or in any optical store;
  • Submit documents. A set of the required documents may vary in different Emirates. Usually, the following items are required: photos size 5x3x4, a copy of a residence visa, passport, an Emirates ID, and an employer's letter agreeing on your undergoing a training (translated into Arabic). You may also need a copy of a driving licence obtained in your home country.
  • After submitting all the documents to the driving school, you will be provided with a special student's account;
  • As to the language of instruction, you can choose between Arabic, English or Urdu at any driving school. Also, there is an opportunity to choose between male and female teachers. It is advisable for women to opt for a female teacher. Otherwise, it will be necessary to sign a document of concession to a male teacher.

Taking a driving licence exam in the UAE

The usual driving training program consists of both theoretical lectures and practical lessons with an instructor, and the UAE’s training program is not an exception. First, you should pass a knowledge test, which consists of 35 questions: 17 general knowledge questions relating to insight regarding traffic situations and 18 questions about the traffic signs and traffic code. You should produce at least 11 correct answers in the 1st set of questions and not less than 12 correct answers in the 2nd set to pass a knowledge test successfully. The results of the knowledge test determine the level of your driving skills and hence the number of practical classes.

The final stage of training is a driving / road test. If you pass the test successfully, you receive a driving licence within a month. If the event you fail the test, you can repeat it after attending 7 additional practical lessons. Then you will be able to take the road test again.

Please note! Citizens from the following countries (see the list below) have an opportunity to exchange their driving licence without attending a driving school and taking the knowledge and road tests.

Countries whose citizens can exchange a driving licence: the USA, Germany, Italy, Australia, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Belgium, Poland, Switzerland, Norway, Austria, Canada, France, Sweden, Spain, Greece, Denmark, Spain, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Japan, India, South Korea, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, New Zealand.

To get a driving licence, you should contact the Dubai Traffic Department from 7.30 to 14.30 on a weekday. Then you need to fill out an application form at the Department office and submit all the required documents: an eyesight test results, original and copy of a foreign passport, copy of a residence visa.

You may also need the following additional documents:

  • Canada — a letter by the Canadian Consulate in Dubai, confirming the authenticity of a driving licence;
  • Greece, Turkey, Canada, Poland, Cyprus, South Korea, Japan — translation of a driving licence, certified by the respective consulate.

Then you should take all the documents and an application form signed by an authorized employee of the Traffic Department, go to the cash desk and pay 350 AED fees. Once this is done the UAE driving licence will be issued to you.

Good luck getting a driving licence in the UAE!

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