The UAE driving license is now accepted in 50 countries, up from the previous number of only nine nations that allowed permit holders to drive in their cities, as noted mofa.gov.ae. In addition life got a little easier for many expats who can swap their driving permits (issued in their home country) with a UAE driving license. They’re being exempt from UAE driving test (see the list of total exempted countries), as long as they provide the essential documents that are required for converting the UAE driver’s license.
Any expat residents who are not from the list of countries (see which citizens can transfer their driving licenses here, or call RTA on 8009090 for any changes to this list) will need to do a course of driving lessons followed by a driving test, says the emirate’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) which setup theory tests and internal road tests
Ahmed Bahrozyan, CEO of RTA Licensing Agency, underlined in a Khaleej Times post: “RTA is always keen to comply with the Federal and Ministerial Laws governing the issuance, renewal or age limits related to driver licenses out of its keenness to serve the public interest and realize its vision of providing Safe and Smooth Transport for All.”
RTA introduced new rules and modalities for expat driving licenses. A UAE residency visa is a requisite for renewal of licenses. One can replace their lost or damaged driving license at any RTA licensing office in Dubai. Simply go to any RTA (Road & Transport Authority) branch to apply (made available via its website www.rta.ae) or head to the office in person.
Lately, RTA has set up an online system that is to gradually phase out paper-based transactions enabling employers to issue No-Objection-Certificates (NOCs) to employees seeking to obtain driving licenses. Employers will need to go on the RTA website and open an account to become the employees’ sponsor and be registered under the MOHRE (mohre.gov.ae) which is required for people who are already working in the UAE.
The renewal of a driver license will be valid for 10 years for citizens and Gulf nationals, and 5 years for other nationalities.
In addition to being aware of renewal or age limits related to driver licenses, does one need an International Driving License (IDL) or International Driving Permit (IDP) if they take a trip to the UAE and wish to drive once there? An IDL or IDP might be necessary for driving a rental car in the UAE. However, each emirate might implement rules differently and/or have their own rules. So, be sure you’re driving legally in whatever part of the country you are visiting. Those drivers found without their proper documentation (IDP and own license) risk to receive a fine, and/or the car being impounded by the police. However, “if you are on a visit to UAE and holding a valid international driving license, accordingly you can rent a car or drive a car registered to your name or one of your 1st degree relatives,” as mentioned at the UAE automobile and touring club website.