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How to Get a Driving License in Dubai in 2024

Driving is a talent that can get you anywhere, regardless of where you live. Obtaining a driver’s license in Dubai might be difficult at times for many reasons, but it is so worth it. 

The Road and Transport Authority, or RTA, is the regulatory organization in charge of overseeing the UAE’s transportation system, including licensing. This includes all aspects of road transportation in the UAE, including the metro system.

So, this guide can help you overcome any problems by explaining the steps and documents required to obtain a driving license in Dubai.

Who is eligible to apply for a Dubai driver’s license

  • To obtain a driver’s license in Dubai, UAE residents and nationals must be at least 18 years old. However, candidates aged 18 to 21 are initially issued a probationary or temporary permit, which is thereafter transformed into a permanent one. 
  • Clear vision is also necessary for safe driving. You must pass a vision test at an approved optical institution or driving school.
  • Complete at least 20 hours of practical driving training.
  • Be medically fit to drive and capable of meeting the necessary health criteria for driving.

Different types of driving licenses in Dubai

In Dubai, there are several types of driving licenses. Let’s check them out:

  • Motorcycle license: You need this license if you enjoy riding two-wheelers.
  • Light vehicle license: People with a compact cat or a van need this license before taking their vehicle on Dubai roads.
  • Heavy vehicle license: This license is required for large vehicles with the likes of trucks or buses. 
  • Forklift license: It is required for specific jobs that require the use of a forklift.
  • Heavy bus license: This is required if you intend to drive a bus that can transport more than 26 passengers. It’s like being the bus captain!

What are the age bars for these licenses?

There are various rules when applying for a driver’s license in Dubai. The RTA has age regulations, much like schools do. You should be:

  • at least 17 years old to apply for a motorbike or forklift license.
  • at least 18 years old to apply for a light or heavy vehicle license.
  • at least 21 years old to apply for a heavy bus license.

Steps to getting a driving license in Dubai

Step 1: Open a Traffic File

After completing the legal, medical, and age requirements, assemble your documentation and get ready for the driving test. The following documents are necessary to access a traffic file:

  • Emirates ID: Request both the original and a copy of your Emirates ID card. It is a must for all.

  • Passport Copy: Make a photocopy of your passport. If you are an expat living in Dubai, focus on the page with your resident visa.

  • Passport pictures: Take at least two passport-size pictures. You’ll need them for your driver’s license application.

  • Eye Examination Results: Show them the results of your eye examination. You can get it done at an eye doctor’s office or a driving school.

  • No Objection Letter (NOC): At times, you may require a NOC from your sponsor or employer. It depends, so adhere to the instructions provided by the relevant department.

UAE nationals are lucky in this regard. To apply for a driving license, all you need to do is provide your Emirates ID. The materials listed above are mostly for residents and expatriates.

Here’s a tip: To minimize delays or hassles during the application process, make sure you have all of the required paperwork when applying for the RTA driving assessment.

Step 2: Take driving lessons

Of course, before you can drive on Dubai’s roads, you must first guarantee that you have excellent driving skills.

 

To get started, enrol in one of the city’s top driving schools, such as Emirates Driving Institute, Dubai Driving Centre, Galadari Motor Driving Centre, Belhasa Driving Centre, or Al Ahli Driving Center.

 

These schools will teach you all you need to know about road safety, laws, driving techniques, and more. To prepare for the theory test, you will need to take theoretical and driving classes.

Step 3: Book a test

Before you book a driver’s test, the RTA requires you to pass an optical exam. You need good vision to drive and this test is done to make sure you are fit to drive.

You can get this optical test in an RTA-approved medical institute or at your own driving school for that matter. Usually, the driving school takes care of this when you sign up. 

When booking for the driving test, you need to attach your eye test results along with your Emirates ID and the given booking amount. 

You can submit the online application on the RTA website. If you like, you can book your test using the RTA apps or Dubai Drive Smart.

Step 4: Take the test

To earn your Dubai driving license, you need to pass the following RTA tests:

RTA theory test

The theory test, often known as the knowledge test, is administered after completing lessons either online or at a learning centre. This is where you learn all of the fundamentals and key parts of driving before putting it into practice.

The theoretical test is divided into three sections that assess your knowledge of:

  • General traffic environments
  • Traffic rules 
  • Risk recognition techniques.

To pass the theory test, it is best to practice as much as possible. Using your driving school’s online tools or multiple RTA platforms, such as their mobile app and website, might be a fantastic way to prepare for the exam.

RTA parking test

This section of instruction is targeted exclusively toward improving your parking skills. So the parking test is designed to assess your parking abilities across multiple scenarios. A detailed explanation of how to proceed with various parking options is provided.

If you fail this RTA exam five times in a row, you may need to retake the internal examination at your driving school before proceeding.

If you pass this test, you move on to the road test. The following are the parking exams to expect:

  • Parallel Parking
  • Slope and hill parking
  • Emergency Brake
  • Garage parking (90 degrees)
  • Angle parking (60 degrees)

RTA road test

The RTA road exam allows you to put all of your driving knowledge into practice. You will be assessed in a variety of methods, including how you follow traffic signs and restrictions. How you handle fundamental safety precautions while driving will also be evaluated.

To avoid mistakes, you must be confident when taking the road test. This test is usually the final kind of assessment before receiving your license. So, be confident and focused to get the most out of it. It takes about ten to thirteen minutes to complete.

You must bring your Emirates ID or follow the instructions for all RTA examinations. Any additional information about the road test, including the charge, will be communicated to you before the day.

What happens after you pass the road test?

Once you pass the final RTA road test, you will be granted a paper of approval, allowing you to apply for your license.

 

Next, bring your requested form of identification, your approval paper, and your driving license cost to the pass counter at the institute. You will also need to submit your driving file records, which you opened at the start, to the control centre. Then you snap a photograph to use on your Dubai driver’s license.

 

After all of this, you will receive your driver’s license. The steps above differ slightly based on your training centre, but this is essentially the final step.

How much does it cost to get your Dubai driving license in 2024

The total expenditure on acquiring your driver’s license depends on numerous things including the type of driving school you choose, the training you wish to pursue and much more. Night lessons are more expensive than day lessons. Similarly, weekend classes cost more than normal classes. 

What if you are not a Dubai resident

If you’re in Dubai on business, as a tourist, or while your residency application is being processed, you’ll require an international driver’s license.

To apply, complete an online application through the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) or the MOI UAE app (Ministry of Interior UAE).

You can also go to an RTA or ATCUAE office. You’ll need to provide passport photos, a valid copy of your passport, a copy of your original driver’s license, and a fee.

Once finalized, you can expect to obtain your foreign driver’s license within three working days.

The international license is good for one year. However, once you have your UAE resident visa, you must apply for a Dubai license or a foreign license (if eligible).

Overall, despite the potential hurdles, obtaining a driver’s license in Dubai is definitely possible and worth the effort.