Driving License in Dubai

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Driving in Dubai is one of many fine pleasures that most residents and nationals seek. And why wouldn’t they, right? The glorious skyscrapers, wide roads and glimmering nightlights seem nothing less than heaven when you are cruising around in your beloved car. Apart from being one of the most-wanted pleasures by tourists and residents alike, driving also serves as a very convenient way to get around. While the public transportation network is pretty great in the UAE, it comes in handy to be able to drive in Dubai. As is evident, you will need a proper driving license in Dubai to drive around. Let’s cover everything you need to know about getting a Dubai driving license. 

Who Can Obtain a Driver’s License in Dubai?

Any UAE resident or citizen who is 18 years old or older can apply for a driving license in Dubai. Applicants from 18 to 21 years of age get a probationary or temporary license, which is later converted into a permanent one. The application form for a driving license can be filed in Arabic only. This is why driving schools and institutions in Dubai take care of that for you. The RTA issues a temporary license after the application is submitted, which is to be carried at all times when driving in Dubai. 

Types of Driving License in Dubai 

The types of driving licenses in Dubai are divided as per the type of vehicle you intend to drive. Even though the types are different, the application process for them all is pretty much the same. Given below are the different types of driving licenses in Dubai: 

  • Motorbike
  • Light motor vehicles
  • Minibus
  • Heavy trucks
  • Heavy bus 
  • Forklifts
  • Shovel 
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Driving License Eligibility Criteria in Dubai

Anyone older than 18 years of age can obtain a driving license in the UAE. Given below are the exact eligibility criteria for getting a driving license in Dubai:

  • Minimum 17-year old residents and nationals for motorbike and two-wheeler driving license.
  • Minimum 18-year old residents and nationals for light motor vehicle driving license.
  • Minimum 20-year old residents and nationals for tractors and other heavy vehicles.
  • Minimum 21-year old residents and nationals for buses and similar vehicles. 

Application Procedure for Driving License in Dubai

While simple, the process of obtaining a driving license in Dubai can be quite lengthy. If you meet the required criteria already, simply follow the below-given steps to obtain your driving license in Dubai:

  • Take admission to one of the RTA-approved driving institutes in Dubai. Submit all the documents and finalise your registration. 
  • First thing first, get your eyes tested. You can either get the test done by an optician or simply have it done at the driving school you choose. 
  • Get a learner’s permit first or go for a temporary Dubai driving license to start your training. 
  • Your first task in driving school will be to complete the theoretical classes and then take the test. The classes are available both online and offline. 
  • After you have passed the theoretical test, you will be moved to practical training. 
  • Once the practical classes are over, you will be sent to take the internal assessment. 
  • If you pass the internal assessment, the road and highway assessment will come next. 
  • Once you have cleared all the internal assessments, your institute will apply for an RTA assessment on your behalf. 
  • Your final task is to pass the RTA driving test and then you can obtain your Dubai RTA driving license. 

Documents Required Dubai Driving License

Given below are all the documents you will need to get a driving license in Dubai:

  • A copy of your Emirates ID – original as well as a copy
  • A copy of your passport with a resident visa page
  • Minimum 2 passport size photos
  • Test results for your eye exam
  • A NOC (no objection letter) signed by your sponsor (if the relevant department asks for it)

UAE nationals only need their Emirates ID to apply for the license. All the additional documents listed above are for UAE residents and expats. Make sure you have all these documents ready before applying for the RTA driving assessment. 

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About Driving Tests

As evident from the aforementioned application process, several driving tests are involved before you get your driving license in Dubai. In short, you will go through a theoretical test, parking test and road assessment. These tests will be conducted internally by your driving institute first and then comes the final test by the RTA. Of course, you will take the RTA theory test first and move on to the road test once you pass it. 

Given below is a brief description of each test and a few tips on how to pass them with flying colours:

Theoretical Test 

Just like any other driving test you may have taken or heard about, the theoretical driving test in Dubai is based on road safety rules, knowledge of driving hazards, road signs and signals, and other related rules and guidelines. The test consists of 35 questions, divided into 3 segments, and is conducted at one of the driving schools in Dubai. Your test will most probably take place at the school you are registered. 

The first segment of the test is about different traffic situations you may face when driving. There are 17 questions in this segment and at least 11 should be answered correctly. The second segment is related to the driving license itself. There are 18 questions here, out of which 12 should be answered correctly to get passing marks. The third segment is a situation-based test that is conducted on a touchscreen monitor in English or Arabic. Applicants who would like to take the test in a different language can take it as an oral test. The third test is a risk recognition test which contains questions and videos about environmental conditions. 

You will need to carry the following documents when taking the theoretical test:

  • Emirates ID
  • Your driving file 
  • At least 2 Passport-sized photographs
  • Dubai driving license fee for the theoretical test

Tips for the Theoretical Test: Make sure that you have read and understood the RTA handbook perfectly. Memorise the different road safety and traffic rules applicable in Dubai. RTA has a mobile app where you can practise for the theoretical exam. Take the available mock tests to be fully prepared for the actual exam. 

The Parking Test

All driving schools and institutes in the UAE have a fully-functional automated smart yard where parking tests are conducted. You will most likely give your parking test in the smart yard of your driving school. If you fail to clear the parking test in a maximum of 5 attempts, you have to begin your driving assessment from the internal assessment test again. Applicants will be tested on a total of 5 parameters which are as follows:

  • Slope parking or hill parking
  • 60-degree angle parking
  • 90-degree angle parking 
  • Parallel parking 
  • Emergency brake application

The Road Assessment and Test 

This is the final test you need to give before your driving license is handed over to you by the RTA. The road assessment test is conducted by the RTA itself and, as is evident, will have you driving on the real roads of Dubai instead of a smart yard. A driving examiner from the RTA will accompany you during the test to record your performance. The test lasts for 10-12 minutes during which your goal is to show that you are skilled enough to get a driving license in Dubai. 

A date is pre-assigned to you by the RTA for the test. You are supposed to reach the nearest authority office on the date of your assignment, carrying the required documents. Wait for your name to be called out and follow your assigned examiner to the car allotted for the test. All that remains is to drive properly and get your driving license. Be confident in the knowledge you have gained and the skills you have acquired. The results of this practical test will be available immediately. If you fail the test, you will be required to take 7 other small classes in order to get another date assigned for the practical test. 

If and when you pass the test, you will receive an approval paper from the examiner. Submit the approval paper to the pass counter at the RTA with the required Dubai driving license fee and the documents. Get your driving file and submit it at the control counter. Once all these formalities are done, you will be taken to the photo booth. Your picture for the license will be taken and you will receive your driving license shortly after that. Once you have your Dubai RTA driving license, you can apply for an International Driving Permit in Dubai. The application and distribution process is handled by the Automobile and Touring Club of UAE (ATCUAE). 

You will need the following documents for your road assessment:

  • Emirates ID 
  • Road test fee
  • Driving file
  • Passport-sized photographs - 2

Tips to Pass the Final Test: Dress for the occasion – make sure you look sharp enough to impress the examiner. Do not wear sunglasses during the test and follow the examiner’s instructions properly. Check your mirrors, seatbelt and hand brake when driving. Keep your speed under control and do not forget the indicator when turning. Keep your brakes smooth and avoid applying sudden brakes. Park the car as instructed by the examiner and not as you please. 

RTA Approved Driving Institute in Dubai

There are a total of five RTA-approved driving schools in Dubai. Each of these schools has multiple branches across the emirate. Given below are some details you may need:

Name of Institute

Locations

Contact

Dubai Driving Center

Jumeirah Road (Head Office)

+971-4-345-5855

Galadari Driving School

Multiple 

+971-4-267-6166

Belhasa Driving Center

Multiple

+971-4-324-3535

Emirates Driving School

Multiple

+971-4-340-0449

Al Ahli Driving School

Multiple

800-252454

Driving license offers in Dubai can be easily found on an institute basis. Almost every driving school offers driving license offers in Dubai. Card offers, anniversary and other special sales, vouchers, course-specific offers, corporate discounts and adventure driving discounts are some of the many driving license offers in Dubai that you can avail of. Note that these offers are subject to the institute’s policies and terms. 

How to Apply for an International Driving License in Dubai?

The international driving permit in Dubai is a mandatory document you will need if you wish to drive while on a trip in a foreign country. It can not only help you drive in a foreign country but also serve as proof of identification, break language barriers and protect you in the case of an accident. To get an international driving license in the UAE, you must have a national driving license in Dubai first. 

Online Application

While you have to go through a rigorous process when applying for a national driving license in Dubai, getting an international driving permit in Dubai is quite easy and straightforward. An international driving license can be obtained online as well as offline. Let’s figure out the online process first:

  • Visit the official online portal of the Automobile and Touring Club of UAE (ATCUAE) or the MOI UAE application. 
  • Locate the international driving license application portal.
  • Fill out the available form on the portal and attach the required documents. The documents should be in either PDF or JPG format. The size should be no more than 2 MB.
  • Pay the fee applicable for getting an international driving permit in Dubai, which is AED 170 plus VAT. 
  • Submit the form after a final review. 

The processing of your application may take about 2-3 weeks. The license itself is delivered within 2-5 days after the approval. Documents required for the online application of an international driving permit in Dubai are:

  • The international driving license form (IDL form). It can be downloaded from the ATCUAE website.
  • Your passport and its copy
  • Passport-sized photographs – two 
  • A copy of your Emirates ID
  • A copy of your national driving license in Dubai 

Offline Application

As explained before, you can also apply for an international driving license offline. To everyone’s surprise, the manual process is quite quick and efficient. Offline applications for international driving permits in Dubai can be filed in the branch of any of these entities:

  • Automobile and Touring Club of UAE (ATCUAE)
  • Any affiliate members of ATCUAE
  • Any of the RTA offices
  • Any post offices in the Emirates
  • Dnata office located on Sheikh Zayed Road 

The application process is simple. Go to any of these offices and get the application form for an international driving permit in Dubai. Fill in the form. Submit the documents (same as the online process) and pay the fee – AED 170. Once the documents and the application have been analysed, your international driving license in Dubai will be handed to you right away. This process hardly takes an hour. 

How to Apply for a Duplicate Driving License in Dubai?

In a very real scenario, you may end up misplacing your driving license at some point or another. If that is the case and you need a duplicate license, you can get it from the RTA. Visit any of the nearby branches of RTA in Dubai. Carry a copy and originals of documents like passport, Emirates ID, resident visa and passport-sized photographs. Also, bring your eye test results. If your misplaced license is more than 5 years old, you may need to take another eye test. Once you have all the documents in place, apply for a duplicate one. Provide the passport-sized photo if you want to get it updated. The fee for a duplicate license is AED 120 and the process takes hardly an hour for completion. 

Renewing Driving License in Dubai

Driving license in Dubai is valid for 5 years for UAE residents, while the validity stands at 10 years for UAE nationals. Naturally, you have to renew your license as soon as it reaches the expiration date. A fee of AED 10 is charged for every month you delay the renewal. This is applicable post one month of the renewal date. The fine amount can reach a maximum of AED 500. If you do not renew your Dubai driving license for the next 10 years after expiration, you will have to take all the driving tests again. Given below is the process for renewing the driving license in Dubai:

  • Go to the official website of RTA.
  • Select “Services” and go to “Drive and Vehicle Owners Services” from the menu.
  • Tap or click on “driving license request” and head to the application portal.
  • Fill the application form and pay the Dubai driving license fee for the renewal of your driving license. 
  • Applicants younger than 21 years have to pay AED 120 as a renewal fee, while applicants older than 21 years have to pay AED 320. 
  • You can check the status on the RTA website itself after you are done renewing your driving license in Dubai. The renewal process is swift and takes practically no time for completion. 

Process of Converting Driving License in Dubai 

A few countries are categorised as “exempted” by the UAE when the driving license is concerned. Residents belonging to these countries who hold a valid license can simply exchange it for a Dubai license. People from any other country have to take the driving tests and classes in Dubai yet again and then get the license from scratch. Given below is a list of all the exempted countries:

Exempted Countries

All Gulf countries

Poland

Austria

Portugal

Australia

Norway 

Belgium

Netherlands

Canada

New Zealand

Denmark

Japan

France

Ireland

Finland

Italy

Romania

Spain

South Africa

South Korean

Switzerland

Sweden

Greece

Germany

Turkey

USA

UK

 
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Given below is the process you need to follow to get your driving license exchanged for the one in Dubai:

  • Take the eye exam from a clinic and obtain the results
  • Submit the following documents:
    • Emirates ID – a copy
    • A copy of your current driving license 
    • A copy of your passport and the visa page 
    • 8 passport-sized photos
  • Pay the Dubai driving license fee
  • Translations of the documents and verification letters, if asked 

Dubai Driving License FAQs

Q1. How much does a driving license cost in Dubai?

Ans: Since the cost of attending a driving institute in Dubai is added to the cost of a Dubai driving license itself, it may cost you AED 4500 to AED 7000 to get a license. This amount is applicable when assuming you clear all tests on your first attempt. An additional attempt will come with seven additional practical classes. The cost may add up with every new attempt. 

Q2. How can I get a driving license in Dubai?

Ans: A proper driving license can only be obtained via the official offline method. You have to get registered with a driving school first. The school then applies for the driving license on your behalf. Once you clear all the required tests, you are awarded your license. International driving permits in Dubai, on the other hand, can be obtained via both online and offline methods. 

Q3. Is it hard to get a Dubai driving license?

Ans: While the process is a bit lengthy, it is fairly easy to get a driving license in Dubai. You just need to clear all your tests and display proper driving skills during the practical assessment. The thoroughness of the process just ensures that you develop proper skills for safe driving in the UAE.

Q4. Can a tourist drive a car in Dubai?

Ans: Yes, tourists can drive a car in Dubai as long as they hold a proper, valid international driving permit. National driving licenses from some countries are accepted as it is in the UAE due to similar driving rules and regulations. If the tourist has a national driving license from one of these countries, they will not even need an international driving license to drive in Dubai. 

Q5. Where can I drive fast in Dubai?

Ans: Highways are the only place where you can drive fast in Dubai. The highest allowed speed limit is 110 km/h in Dubai. 

Q6. Can an Indian drive in Dubai?

Ans: Yes, Indian tourists can drive in the UAE if they hold a valid international driving permit in Dubai. If you are from India and hold a resident visa, you will need to get a proper license in Dubai after undergoing all the required tests. 

Q7. Do I need another license in Dubai if I already have one from my home country?

Ans: This completely depends on which country you are from. There is a pre-decided list of countries, and visitors as well as residents from these countries are allowed to simply exchange their old license with a Dubai driving license. If you are from any other country apart from the ones on the list, you will have to take the driving test and then get a new driving license in Dubai. 

Q8. Is it mandatory to get an international driving permit in Dubai for all visitors?

Ans: No, you only need to get an international driving permit in Dubai if your license is not valid in the UAE and Dubai. 

Q9. How long would it take to get my foreign license transferred to the Dubai driving license?

Ans: It may take up to a few weeks for your foreign license to be converted into a Dubai driving license. 

Q10. Can I transfer driving files from one driving institute to the other?

Ans: Yes, you can easily arrange a transfer of files from one school to another. Simply ask the concerned authority at your current driving institute to arrange a transfer of files on your behalf. 

Q11. What languages are available for theory driving classes?

Ans: All three primary languages are available for classes in Dubai driving institutes – Arabic, English and Urdu. Some institutes may offer additional options for languages as well. Remote Interpretation Services can be opted for if you want to take your driving classes in any of the primary languages. RIS translates the classes into 195 different languages via Microsoft translation services. 

Q12. How much does a bike license in Dubai cost?

Ans: The exact cost of a motorcycle license in Dubai will differ as per the institute you choose as your driving school. However, you can expect to pay around AED 4000 or more for a basic package of motorcycle licenses in Dubai.

Q13. How many countries accept Dubai RTA driving licenses?

Ans: A Dubai driving license is valid in over 50 countries across the globe. This means you won’t need an international driving permit to drive as a tourist in these countries or you can exchange your Dubai RTA driving license for a national license in these countries.

Q14. When is the fine for not renewing the driving license in Dubai applicable? What is the fine?

Ans: You will be fined AED 10 each month if you do not complete the process of renewing driving license in Dubai after its expiration. The fine starts one month after the expiration date. 

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