Converting driving license to UAE

One of the professionals at Edale works in Dubai and UK so has a UAE residents permit. Supporting our DIY attestation article we thought we would also share how to get a driving license in the UAE when holding a UK issued licence.
Originally the idea was to use the UK driving licence for hiring a car for trips between Dubai or Abu Dhabi. The drive between the two cities in a taxi or Careem or Uber can cost £70, so £30 car hire is more appealing. Converting a foreign driving license to a UAE is an easy task and we did it in a day in September 2019.
Unknown to most until you try to hire a car is that with a UAE residents permit you can not use an overseas driving license. There is a large fine of AED 10,000 apparently.
Seeing the advice on the UAE website was last updated years ago here is our advice for converting a DVLA UK driving ever licence to a UAE driving licence. The countries from which citizens can transfer their driving licences are given below: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States. These are the exception countries. This process does not work for getting a new driving licence only converting it.

Getting an Eye Test

To get a UAE driving license you need to go to optometrists and get an eye test. I walked into Al Jaber Optical at the non-DIFC side of the Emirates Towers metro station and they did one on the spot no need to book an appointment. The test consists of the reading number off a wall chart that has a descending size and then reading hidden numbers from a book of red/green patterns. This was a few minutes long and I got an RTA letter confirming the eye test passed and paid AED 140 to the optometrist. I was advised to have two passport photos to hand but these were not required. The Emirates ID was sufficient as an identify document. The eye test is valid for 3 years from the date of issuance.

Paperwork before going to the traffic department

There is a pack of documents mentioned needed before heading to the Dubai Traffic Department in Al Ghusais, these include
  1. Original and copy of emirates ID
  2. Your eye test results
  3. Copy of passport page and residents visa
  4. Original driving licence of the exception countries. Legalised translation of the licence if it was not in English or Arabic.
  5. A no objection letter from the employer or be a profession from the except list for the 66 professions (your profession is named on the resident’s visa in the passport)
  6. If over 65, Medical screening for Senior resident certified by the Dubai Health Authority
Professions that do not need a no objection letter

Driving license department

Amongst the police department buildings at the back of Dubai Airport is the Driving License department. The Dubai Traffic Department Driving License Section in Al Ghusais part of the police station is open from 7.30 am to 2.30 pm each working day. In map software search for “Dubai Traffic Department – Dubai Police” – there is a link here.
This part was efficient and all you need is the paperwork outlined above. I had misfortune of not having passport and residents stamp but the did have a PC and printer so I was able to print these off having copies saved in the cloud.
You go to the main reception desk. I went there early as the office opened at 07:30 am to avoid the queues. There were 3 people ahead of me. In a couple of minutes my documents were checked and then a ticket was issued with my booking number. Sat down on the Sofas and was called a couple minutes later. I handed the pack of documents and got a receipt SMS to the local number.
A few minutes after I paid the AED 870 fee (I needed to get cash from the ATM as my debit card was. Not accepted. Credit cards are valid apparently) the UAE driving license was issued. The new driving license had my Emirates ID photo on and valid for two years from the date of issue. The AED 870 fee is made up of 200 AED for opening a file, 600 AED for issuing a license, 50 AED for handbook manual and 20 AED Knowledge and Innovation fees.
Let us know if any of the steps change or this article of use.
Scroll to Top