Despite an efficient public transport network in Dubai, a huge segment of the population depends on personal conveyance. Driving your own car comes with its own perks. Even if someone doesn’t own a car, having a valid driving licence in the UAE is a good idea as it is also required for renting a car.
It’s no surprise that driving without a licence leads to heavy fines, owing to the stringent traffic rules of the country. The government strives to make the entire process of obtaining a license as easy as possible. Except for a few differences, the process is more or less the same for all the Emirates.
LEGAL AGE TO DRIVE IN THE UAE
The minimum age requirement varies for different categories of vehicles. If you want to ride a motorcycle, you need to be at least 17 years old. The legal age to drive cars and light vehicles is 18. If you want to drive tractors or other heavy vehicles you need to be 20 years old, and if you want to make a career as a bus driver, the legal age is 21 years old.
DOCUMENTS NEEDED TO GET A DRIVERS LICENCE IN THE UAE
Please keep the following documents ready when applying for a driving licence in the UAE:
Original and copy of passport along with residence visa page
Original and copy of Emirates ID
Receipt of your recent eye test
NOC (no objection certificate) from sponsor or employer
PROCESS OF GETTING A DRIVING LICENCE
Student giving road test to obtain a driving licence in the UAE
Prospective drivers must clear all the theoretical tests before taking the practical road test
You’ll need to open a traffic file with a registered driving centre (this depends on your Emirate)
Get an eye test from any optician approved by the traffic department or at your driving school
Get yourself enrolled with a registered driving school to take up the necessary driving classes in your related Emirate (you need a traffic file for this step)
Clear all the necessary theoretical driving tests
Obtain a learners permit to take road tests
Finally, collect your driver’s licence from the traffic authority after clearing all the theory and practical tests
DRIVING SCHOOLS IN DIFFERENT EMIRATES
Driving instructor and student sitting in a car
Professional driving instructors make sure their students are ready to drive their personal cars perfectly
If you’re in Abu Dhabi you’ll need to get registered with Emirates Driving Company (contact information: +971-6-0058-8880)
Then if you’re in Dubai, you’ll have to select one of the following driving schools
Al Ahli Driving Centre (contact information: +971-4-341-1500)
Belhasa Driving Centre (contact information:+971-4-324-3535)
Dubai Driving Centre (contact information:+971-4-345-5855)
Emirates Driving Institute (contact information:+971-4-263-1100)
Galadari Motor Driving Centre(contact information:+971-4-267-6166)
If you’re in Sharjah you’ll need to get registered with Sharjah Driving Institute (contact information: +971-6-538-2020)
If you’re in Ras Al Khaimah you’ll need to get registered with one of the following driving schools:
Al Taleb Motor Driving School (contact information: +971-7-222-3295 and +971-55-779-1339)
Al Thana Ladies Motor Driving School (contact information: +971-50-690-4346)
Belhasa Driving Center (contact information: +971-7-236-1099, 800-235-4272)
Al Neel Motor Driving School (contact information: +971-7-222-1119)
Al Kharan Motor Driving School (contact information: +971-7-222-0133)
If you’re in Fujairah you’ll need to get registered with Fujairah National Driving Institute (contact information: +971-9-236-0037)
MANDATORY THEORY CLASSES AND TESTS
A girl carefully driving her vehicle on the road
After clearing the road test, you can drive your personal vehicle with full liberty
Following are the details for the theory classes and tests necessary to get a driving licence in the UAE.
Everyone must take the necessary training courses and attend all required lectures for a period of 8 hours each, before opting for the practical driving classes
The theory classes and tests are taken at the authorised driving schools, depending on which Emirate’s driving licence you wish to obtain.
You can’t register with any driving school in the UAE without a traffic file or RTA file, in case you’re in Dubai.
After going through the required theory lessons, candidates have to clear a theory test.
They are required to answer 35 questions relating to road signals, guidelines on driving safely and road hazards. The questions are asked in either English, Arabic or Urdu.
The test is taken on a touch-screen device.
Those who are not computer literate and/or cannot read from the touch-screen are permitted to give answers verbally.
The first part of the test includes 17 questions relating to general traffic situations – the candidate has to get at least 11 correct answers in order to clear the test.
The second part has 18 questions about the specific driving licence the candidate requires and at least 12 correct answers are needed in order to clear the test. If you do not clear the theory tests, you won’t be permitted to take the practical road test.
The third part of the test is the Risks Recognition Test. Candidates are shown several videos depicting different kinds of environmental conditions in this segment. The candidates are then tested and judged on their plan on tackling such conditions after measuring the risks associated.
After a candidate clears the theory test, they can get on with their practical training.
As for practical training sessions, students who do not possess any driving licence (from the list of countries approved by the UAE) have to register for 40 classes.
Students possessing a 2 to 5 years old licence of their home country have to take 30 classes.
Students possessing a home country licence of over 5 years have to take 20 classes.
All the practical internal assessments are taken within the driving rink.
Once you are done with practical training classes, your course-in charge advises you to book for the parking test and assessment test.
You have to clear five steps in the parking test including slope or hill parking, emergency brakes, angle parking, garage parking and parallel parking. If you fail the parking tests five times in a row, you are required to take the practical internal assessments again.
If you clear the parking test you are given the permissions to take the final road test – your final assessment test.
THE PRACTICAL ROAD TEST
In order to take the practical road test, go to the licence head office advised by your driving school with the necessary documents including your photos, passport and driving file. When your name is called out, fill up the application form and submit the fee. Once done go with the instructor to the car designated to you and demonstrate your driving skills with full confidence to the best of your ability.
If you do not clear the road test, you will have to take at least seven more refresher classes with your driving schools and get a new road test date.
Upon clearing the road test, you’ll get an approval paper from your inspector. Submit that at the counter along with your ID documentation and the required fee. Then collect your driving file and give it to the control counter. Next, you will have to pay the licence fee and wait for your photograph to be taken. After this step, you will get your driver’s licence in a few minutes.
TOTAL COST OF OBTAINING A DRIVERS LICENCE IN THE UAE
The total fee for getting a driving licence in the UAE differs from Emirate to Emirate, however, it ranges between AED 4500 to AED 7000 – this includes the cost of the driving schools along with other documentation and eye-tests.
HOW TO CHECK DRIVING LICENCE STATUS ONLINE IN THE UAE?
If you are in Dubai, you can visit the RTA Dubai website to check the status of your licence and if you are from any other part of the UAE, you can visit the Ministry of Interior website, Abu Dhabi Police website, or TAMM website for the same.
WHICH COUNTRY’S DRIVING LICENCE IS VALID IN THE UAE?
People with driving licence from Austria, China, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Serbia can swap their home country driving licence with a UAE licence.
IN WHICH COUNTRY IS THE UAE DRIVING LICENCE VALID?
The UAE driving licence is valid in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Algeria, Oman, Morocco, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Mauritania, Djibouti, Norway, Latvia, New Zealand, Serbia, South Africa, Finland, Hungary, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Romania, Comoros, Tunisia, Iraq, Palestine, Spain, France, America, UK, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, Slovakia, Ireland, Austria, Greece, Sweden, China, Poland, Canada, Turkey and Singapore.