Only if you’re in Dubai on a tourist visa can you drive using an international driver’s licence. In all other instances, you will need to obtain a licence issued in the UAE. If you’re a resident and have a licence issued in the EU, the GCC, USA, Canada, Japan, Turkey, Switzerland, South Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand, you’re on the ‘approved list’ and the process is relatively easy. The process usually takes about an hour. Visit www.rta.ae to find out more.
Documents you need:
• Passport for residents (original and copy)
• Residence permit copy
• Current driving licence (original and copy)
• Translation of driving licence (for some countries)
• Consulate letter (for Canadians)
• One passport photo
• Eye test certificate. This can be done at any hospital, clinic or optician
• Dhs410 for transfer fee and opening a driving file
• No-objection letter from your sponsor
Take all your documents, originals and copies to your nearest RTA Centre. On arrival, fill in an application form and submit all documents to the officer. Pay the cashier and submit all the information and you’ll be the proud possessor of a driving licence in minutes.
If you hold a licence from any country not listed above, or you have never driven before, the process is lengthier and will involve driving lessons. You’ll need your passport (original and a copy) with residence stamp, a no objection certificate from your employer along with eight passport photos. You’ll also need to get an eye test done either at an optician or at your driving school, and then you’ll be issued with a temporary driving licence. Once you have passed all internal tests, your school will apply for your theory test followed by your road test. For full details on these and for more information, contact the RTA (www.rta.ae; 800 9090).