Procedure Unscrambled: Getting A Driving License In The UAE
This comprehensive guide to getting yourself a UAE driving license is the last word on the topic. All your doubts, questions, and queries will be answered through this step-by-step guide to securing a driving license valid across the UAE.
Different Emirates have different processes for granting a driving license in UAE. However, all licenses are valid across the nation. We shall take a look at the process of getting a license in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Regardless of where in the UAE you are applying for a license, there is a common set of documents you have to carry with yourself. Here they are, in no particular order:
- Your passport (original and photocopy).
- Copy of your residence permit.
- Original driving license.
- A no-objection certificate (NOC) from your sponsor.
- One passport photo.
- Additional documents if you are from a country that requires translations and consulate letters.
Dubai Driving License
I already have an international driving license
RTA Dubai has published a list of countries whose licenses only need to be transferred. If you hold a license from any of these countries, the process of obtaining a UAE driving license is much easier. Here are the countries:
Gulf Cooperation Council member states and the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Japan, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Greece, Spain, Sweden, Ireland, Norway, Turkey, Canada, Poland, South Korea, Finland, South Africa, Australia, Romania, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Austria, Slovakia, Luxembourg and Serbia.
If you hold a driving license from certain countries, you need to get it translated from the consulate for validation across the UAE. The countries are Canada, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Turkey, Japan, South Korea. Canadian license holders also require a letter from the consulate.
Once you have your translations and transferrals in place, it is time for an eye test. Most hospitals, clinics, and opticians offer the test for a fee of roughly AED 150.
After you have your eyesight verified, you will need a set of documents to breeze through the process of getting yourself a driving license in UAE.
- Your passport (original and copy)
- A copy of Emirates ID
- Original driving license
- A no-objection certificate (NOC) from your sponsor
- One passport photo
- Additional documents if you are from a country that requires translations and consulate letters
- AED 870 in cash
Take all of the above with you to any RTA Dubai branch, and you’ll be walking out with a freshly printed UAE driving license in a fairly short time.
I am applying for the first time
UAE residents that are applying for the first time or residents who possess licenses from countries not in the RTA list have to appear for the driving test before they are awarded the license. Let us lay out for you the complete procedure, step by step, of how to get yourself a Dubai driving license.
Before you apply for a license, you need to enrol in one of the driving schools across Dubai that are RTA-certified. The schools coach you through a fixed number of hours of theory tests. In case you are a first-timer, RTA Dubai stipulates a minimum of 20 hours of practical lessons and tests to obtain a license.
On the other hand, if you hold a license more between two to five years old, you may only clock 15 hours of lessons. If your license is older than five years, you have to appear for just 10 hours of lessons.
Here is a breakdown of the series of lessons and tests you need to appear for:
- Eight theory classes
- Theory test
- Preliminary driving lessons on a closed circuit
- Hill and parallel/reverse parking classes
- Driving on public roads under supervision
- Assessment by driving school
- RTA Driving Test
If you successfully finish all the tests and lessons, you are now eligible for a driving test conducted by the RTA.
I failed some of the tests
On the other hand, if you (unfortunately) fail the driving school assessment or RTA test, a fine of AED 800 is incurred, and you need to sit through the eight theory classes again. As for driving lessons, if you fail in any of the categories set forth by the driving school, you must retake the lessons.
People who have licenses more than two years old only need to take four hours of theory classes, while those having licenses older than five and more years do not need lessons. Keep in mind though, that those applying for the first time need to stock up on a lot of patience, since getting yourself a UAE driving license is a typically long, arduous task.
Abu Dhabi Driving License
To get yourself a license in Abu Dhabi, you need the previously mentioned set of documents. Again, if you are from one of the countries mentioned elsewhere in this guide, all you need is a transfer of license or a translation. Additional documents differ according to country of origin.
Here is a detailed procedure of getting yourself an Abu Dhabi driving license:
- Open a driving file with the Emirates Driving Company (EDC) to register for a driving course. Attach all your required documents to the file. The theoretical course at EDC costs AED 830.
- Once you have cleared the stipulated eight theory classes, you must pass the written test which sots AED 50 to take.
- If you are applying for the first time, you also need to take a driving course of five lessons. The cost ranges from AED 650 to AED 2,250 depending upon how many classes you wish to take.
- If you have a valid license that is not from the listed countries above, you just need to take the practical driving test.
- Make an appointment at the Traffic and Licensing Department to schedule a practical driving test. It costs AED 50 to make an appointment.
- Once you have passed the road test, you can apply at the Emirates Motor Company for your UAE driving license.
- With a certificate from EDC of having passed the test, go back to the Drivers Licensing Department with your passport and AED 200. DLD will take your photo and print you a license.
So here it is. Your comprehensive, end-to-end guide to getting yourself a UAE driving license. If we have left anything out, please feel free to mention in the comments, and we shall be happy to update the guide accordingly. Happy motoring!