What Is the Procedure for Expats to Apply for a Driving License in the UAE?

The Procedure for Expats to Apply for a Driving License in the UAE 31 May, 2022

Having a tough time securing a driving license? Checkout the steps which are involved in UAE before you apply for the driving license to drive safely and confidently on the beautiful, glistening roads of UAE and explore the country.

Owning and driving a vehicle in the UAE can be beneficial for a multitude of reasons. For one, it is convenient, but it also gives privacy, and saves time and money on taxi and public transport, etc. However, an important factor of driving a car is owning a valid driving license in UAE. Driving license in UAE is mandatory by law, and failure to do so is a punishable offence. Accordingly, those with a previous license, possibly from another country, may be eligible for a transfer or conversion (depending on the country). However, first-time drivers need a new license altogether.

To specify, expats in UAE often wonder how they can get a hold of a driving license. While the process may seem tedious at first, the relevant authorities in the UAE make it simple and convenient at every stage of the process. Thus, how would you be able to acquire a driving license in UAE?

To begin with, the process of acquiring a license calls for a few necessary requirements;

  • The individual applying for the license must be above 17 years of age
  • Passport with residence or visa page (Original & Copy)
  • Emirates ID (Original & Copy)
  • Up to 2 Passport size photographs
  • Eye and medical fitness tests
  • No Objection Certificate (NOC) from sponsor or employer

Steps to Apply for Driving License in UAE

Begin by taking an eye and medical fitness test from a centre approved by the traffic department at your driving centre or institute.

On passing both tests, a medical report will be issued stating your physical, mental, and optical health. This is crucial to ensure safety for you and others on the road.

Then, choose a driving centre, depending upon the Emirate you live in and open a traffic file by submitting all the necessary aforementioned documents

Upon opening a file, most driving institute will try to understand your driving instructor preferences. It is important to choose a driving instructor who can speak the language you are fluent, as you will be extensively communicating with your instructor through the course of your driving lessons.  most driving institutes  also provide women learners the option of choosing a female driving instructor.

Once you have completed registration and chosen your instructor, your classes will begin. you will be required to attend theory lectures, either online or via physical lessons in the driving institute. The online lectures will consist of 8 30-minute lectures otherwise, you may opt for physical lessons. Note that these lectures will vary in quantity, depending on if you have owned a license previously. Please note that the number of years also plays a role in the number of classes you will be assigned.

Following your theory classes is your RTA theory exam whereby, you will be questioned to prove your knowledge about the traffic laws, regulations, and safety. It is mandatory to pass this test for the nextsteps.

After passing the above, you will begin your physical driving classes with your instructor. You are free to choose these driving training as per your convenience in your institute. Your training will begin by basic safety checks in and around the car, and gradually progress to more complex driving lessons like manoeuvring the car on turns, roundabouts, lane changing etc.. Be sure to pay attention to your instructor’s directionto ensure safe driving and ultimately pass your drivers test.. Similar to your theory classes the number and nature of your physical driving classes may vary if you own a driving license from another country

To ensure the safety of the learner and other people on the road , training vehicles in driving institutes are fitted with dual braking, accelerators, and clutch and release systems for the accessibility of the instructor seated on the front passenger seat.

Once you have completed a set number of class you will be  eligible for the parking lessons and test. The parking test is where you will be assessed on your ability to park a vehicle successfully. Parking tests will occur twice, one in your driving institute and another from your license authority (for e.g., RTA in Dubai). You will be assessed on parallel parking, 90˚ parking, hill stop parking, garage parking test, and emergency braking. Reports in Dubai suggest that the parking test is now a ‘Smart Yard Parking Test’ which is now an automated test without the presence of an examiner, rather by a computerized system.

Upon passing your parking tests,  you will be eligible for a on-road driving test that will be conducted bv the examiners from your institute.. Once you have passed this successfully, you will be eligible for your final assessment or test. 

Lastly, the final on-road driving test is the final test where you will be judged on your overall driving skills. The test will be in accordance with the testing plan that is set and approved by the relevant License Authority in your Emirate, for instance, the RTA (Road & Transport Authority) in Dubai. The test will usually be applied for by your driving institute on your behalf.

Once you pass your final on-road assessment, you may be asked to settle any balance or due payments, if any, and your driving license will be issued subsequently.

*Note that if you fail any practical test(s), additional training sessions will be required, according to the policy set by the licensing agency.

Tips for passing your On-Road Assessment:

  • Observe your surroundings well, including keeping an eye much further in distance
  • Ensure judging the surroundings of the environment when changing lanes. Check for blind-spots, etc. whilst constantly checking the mirrors
  • Ensure that you maintain a proper speed- remembering not to go excessively fast or slow
  • Avoid hard brakes- judge the distance from when you think a stop is needed and brake gradually, from a distance
  • Maintain a sufficient gap when driving in the road
  • Do not rush for any reason, unnecessarily
  • Being calm and attentive while driving

There is a common misconception of getting a driving license in the UAE. Many say that it is rather difficult and time-consuming, however that isn’t true. The government of UAE prioritizes and ensures the safety of those on the road. Hence, they carefully stress on the safety of every individual on the road by evaluating the ability of each candidate during their driver’s test. However, once you have acquired your driving license in UAE you are eligible to drive safely and confidently on the beautiful, glistening roads of UAE and explore the country.

A valid driving license and car insurance are mandatory to drive in the UAE, to get affordable car insurance get in touch with our experts today!

Happy Driving, Good Luck!


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