Dubai: Everthing you need to know about owning a car in Dubai
Driving licence facts
Light vehicle (cars): All UAE citizens and residents above the age of 18. However, for new drivers under the age of 21, the licence is valid for one year only and needs to be renewed every year until the age of 21. Drivers above the age of 21 get a licence valid for 10 years.
Motorcycle: Minimum age of a person has to be 17.
Heavy vehicle or a mechanical equipment licence: Can only be applied for at the age of 20.
Bus: A person has to be 21 years of age to drive a bus.
People who already possess driving licences from 36 approved countries can apply for a UAE driving licence without undergoing any training.
While other nationals who have a valid driving licence from their home countries, which is more than five years old, will have to undergo driver’s training for a minimum of 20 classes from any of the five approved driving schools.
Those who have home country licences that are between two-five years old, will have to take a minimum of 30 classes.
Those who don’t have a valid driving licence from their home countries will need a minimum of 40 classes.
The training classes are in addition to eight mandatory theory classes. The documents required for applying for driving licence include a passport copy, photograph, application form and many more.
Authorised driving schools in Dubai:
Dubai Driving Centre- 04-3455855
Al Ahli Driving School-04-3411500
Galadari Driving School-04-2676166
Belhasa Driving School — 04-3243535
Emirates Driving Institute-04-2631100
1. Get your eyes tested from an authorised optician or at your driving school.
2. Fill the driver’s licence application form available online on the RTA website or at the driving institute.
3. Receive your temporary driving licence, which you must carry during all training classes.
4. Take appointments for the theory and practical classes from the institute.
5. After completing the theory classes take an appointment for the theory test at the institute.
6. After completing all the classes and passing all internal tests like garage and parking, take an appointment for your road test.
The theory test is carried out at the five authorised driving schools.
A total of 35 objective-type questions on road signals, hazards and guidelines on safe driving will be asked in either English, Arabic or Urdu.
Candidates who cannot read or are not computer literate can take the examination orally. The first segment with 17 questions focuses on general traffic situations, and the candidate will need to answer a minimum of 11 correctly to pass.
The second segment has 18 questions related to the specific driving licence the candidate is applying for and a minimum of 12 correct answers are required to pass the road test.
Emirates ID, driving file, two photos and theory test RTA fee of Dh200 must be carried for the test.
On the date assigned, go with your Emirates ID or passport, driving file and two photos to the RTA Licence Section at the driving institute.
Fill up application form and pay the fees.
When your name is called out, go along with the other three candidates and the RTA inspector to the designated car.
You will be given just a few minutes to demonstrate your driving and anticipatory skills.
If you fail, you will have to register with your driving school for eight more classes and get a new road test date.
If you pass, collect the approval paper from your inspector and go to the Pass Counter. Submit along with suitable ID and Dh100. Collect your test file and submit to Control counter.
After processing, pay required fee and proceed to photo area. When your name is called out, have your photo taken. In a few minutes, you will receive your driving licence.
The driver’s training fees, including registration, theory and practical classes as well as test fees, vary from school to school. Here is a breakdown of various fees charged on an average by driving institutes.
Eye test: Dh100
Registration/learning permit: Dh900
Theory classes: Dh500
Practical classes: Dh50 to Dh75 (depends on timing)
Knowledge and other internal tests: Dh700
Road test: Dh300
Licence fee: Dh260
Renewal of driving licence:
Driving licences issued in Dubai or any other emirate can now be renewed in any part of the country.
The first step in renewing a driving licence is to get an eye test done from any registered optician; however, RTA has approved five trusted agents — Al Jaber Opticians, Al Yateem Opticians, Barakat Opticals, Grand Optics and Magrabi Opticals — who can do the eye test as well as process the renewal application in a one-stop arrangement.
Driving licence renewal can also be done at any of the RTA customer service centres as well as through RTA call centre or via RTA website or mobile app.
Customers can choose to pick their licence cards from any RTA customer service centre or have it couriered to their doorstep for an additional charge of Dh20.
RTA will issue a temporary licence to the applicants, which needs to be carried during driving until the original licence is received, which might take three to four working days.
Requirements for renewal of driving licence:
• Eye test
• Emirates ID
• Passport copy with valid visa page
• Original driving licence
International driving licence:
• Application form
• Passport copy
• Original driving licence
• Driving licence copy
• Two photos
Location: All RTA customer service centres
Validity for international driver’s licence is only one year, international driver’s licence is not renewable, however, it can be reissued upon the same requirements.
Buying a vehicle in Dubai is relatively easy and affordable compared to other parts of world. Be it a new car or a pre-owned model, almost anyone with a valid driving licence can have a car or a motorcycle. Lower prices, cheaper fuel rates as well as easy availability of loans make purchase of cars a breeze in Dubai as well as other emirates.
Banks loans: Offered for new vehicles for a salary as low as Dh4,000. However, a down payment of 20 per cent on the value of the vehicle is mandatory according to the Central Bank’s rules, both for new and used vehicles.
Interest or profit rates: For pre-owned cars it is usually higher compared to new cars, which could be as high as five per cent per year, while for new cars the rates range between 2.5 per cent to 4 per cent per year.
New car or motorcycle: Formalities of initial registration carried out by the dealership. In the subsequent years, the vehicle can be re-registered online, through RTA call centre or through select insurance companies and by visiting a RTA customer centre or an approved testing facility.
Motor vehicle registration: Needs to be renewed annually in Dubai
Registration renewal services to insurance policy holders: RTA has approved eight insurance companies: AXA Insurance, Fujairah Insurance, National General Insurance, Noor Takaful, Oman Insurance, Orient Insurance, RSA Insurance and Salama Insurance.
New vehicles: For the first three years, they do not need testing and vehicles that have already been tested can renew their registration through the RTA website and over the phone by dialling 800 9090.
Test results of a vehicle are valid for one month.
A Guide to Buying a Car in the UAE
Buying a car in Dubai, UAE can be daunting. After all, it’s probably the largest transaction you’ll ever make (after real estate). So where do you start? How do you go about it? The experts at CarSwitch.com have put together their top tips here.
Narrow down your needs
First consider the core requirements you need from your next used car – speed, comfort, space, safety, reliability, economy, adventure or a combination? From these you can begin to draw parallels of the key specs that meet your needs. The easiest starting point is likely the body type. For example, if you’re looking for space and a little adventure, an SUV will likely best meet the cut. Meanwhile, if reliability and economy are a larger concern than consider hatchbacks for example.
Second, consider how important reliability is for you. Do you mind making more regular trips to your local garage, or are you the kind of driver that doesn’t know where the nearest garage is! If you’re in the later, than opt for newer vehicle (+2015 year model) with relatively low mileage (<60,000 kms). Doing this helps focus your search and make the online search process more productive.
Shortlist key features
What are the must have key features for you? Is built in navigation a must, or does your phone with a holder do a better job? What about Leather seats, sunroof, Bluetooth, parking sensors / reverse cams? What about the latest and greatest gadgets from blind spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, bird’s eye cameras? Make a list of must-haves to filter out the cars that just don’t cut it for you. The more feature rich kind of driver you are the more you are likely to find your match in American, German, or English makes.
Make a budget
Set parameters for how much you want to spend. Do you plan to finance or settle in cash? Start saving up if cash is the way for you. And, if you plan to finance your car then check with your bank to see how much they are willing to loan out to you. Having this estimate would really channel your attention in the right direction. As a general rule of thumb in Dubai, UAE the central bank mandates that your total monthly liabilities (so any existing installments you make and 5 per cent of your credit card limits) do not exceed 50 per cent of your monthly income. That helps you determine how much you can go for.
Used or new?
Are you looking for a new or a used car? New is for those that don’t want to risk getting a lemon and want to be sure of the condition of the car. Here are some tips on buying a used car in the UAE. On the other hand, used is for those who are looking for some extra value for money.
Luxury or practicability
The finer things in life are a little harder to describe in text, but stand out when you first step into your next car. The grade of leather, the sturdiness of the controls, the sound the car makes when the door closes. In higher end vehicles each is engineered to inspire a certain reaction, and this certainly comes with a price. Opting for a used car can help stretch your budget to afford some of these luxuries, if that matters for you.
Procedure to renew registration is the same for cars and motorcycles.
1) Purchase a vehicle insurance policy valid for one year, either from eight RTA trusted agents or from any insurance service provider in the country. Insurance can be purchased online from the firms listed on the RTA website.
2) If the vehicle is over three years old, it needs to be tested at any RTA-approved testing facility spread across the city. Vehicles less than three years old don’t need testing. However, in case of change in ownership, even vehicles less than three years old need testing.
3) Result of the test is conveyed directly to the RTA customer care centre attached to each testing facility. Motorist should collect the test results from the counter at the customer care centre after waiting for his turn.
4) Whether the vehicle fails or passes the test, the owner receives a certificate that clearly mentions the result. If the vehicle fails the test, things that need to be repaired in the vehicle are mentioned in the certificate.
5) The repair must be done and the vehicle retested within 31 days. The first retest is free of charge. If the vehicle fails a second time the next retest will incur a fee of Dh35. This test must take place within 31 days of the first retest.
6) Clear all pending traffic fines logged on your traffic file even if the fine is for other vehicles registered in your name.
7) Fines can be paid online through RTA website or mobile app as well as through Dubai Police website. Fines can also be cleared over the counter during the registration process.
8) Once the registration process is done, collect the new registration card and sticker that needs to be pasted on rear number plate.
9) In case of new registration, number plates will have to be purchased and a regular long number plate will cost Dh35, while a short number plate will cost Dh25.
Special Dubai brand number plates are also available for Dh420 for both rear and front plates.
Light Vehicle: Dh440 (Dh120 inspection, Dh320 renewal fees).
Motorcycle: Dh285 (Dh120 inspection, Dh165 renewal fees).
Off-Road Bike: Dh265 (Dh100 inspection, Dh165 renewal fees).
Heavy Vehicle: Dh820 (Dh150 inspection, Dh670 renewal fees).
• Vehicle owner’s passport and residence visa copy
• Emirates ID Card
• Existing vehicle registration card
• Insurance papers
New cars and motorcycles are exempt from the yearly vehicle inspection for the first three years. All vehicles over three years old must undergo an annual roadworthiness test. Vehicle inspections and licence renewals can usually be done at the same time.
In Dubai, vehicle testing can be completed at more than 15 locations through any of RTA-approved testing facilities. Here is the list of approved facilities:
The annual vehicle inspection parameters:
The annual vehicle tests are conducted to check the brakes, tyres, suspension, gear, wheel alignment, emissions, electrics, lights and general bodywork as well as glass tint, which cannot exceed more than 30 per cent.
If vehicle registration has lapsed for two years or more, the RTA may decide to write off the vehicle.
The testing and registration process for customised vehicles is the same as for standard vehicles.
However, the RTA sets strict criteria for passing the test and any modifications to the exhaust or engine will cause it to fail. In these cases, the owner has 30 days to bring the vehicle back to standard before the vehicle is deemed unregisterable. Changes like custom paintwork, aftermarket suspension and aesthetic additions may not be a problem.
Vehicles over 30 years old are considered classic vehicles, and can be driven in Dubai if they meet all the safety requirements set by the Automobile and Touring Club UAE (ATCUAE) and RTA.
All classic cars must pass a technical vehicle inspection and be registered on an annual basis. This can only be carried out by the Automobile Touring Club UAE at the ATCUAE Technical Centre in Al Ghusais.
Once registered, classic cars are divided into six categories subject to different restrictions on where and when they can be driven.
Parking card enables customers who use paid parking to subscribe to parking services and purchase seasonal parking cards for three months, six months or one year. There are two types of seasonal cards, category A and B.
Original valid vehicle’s registration card.
Copy of a valid vehicle’s registration card, both sides.
Valid Emirates ID.
• Category A: Dh700 for three months, Dh1300 for six months, Dh2,500 for one year.
• Category B: Dh450 for three months, Dh800 for six months, Dh1,500 for one year.
This service can be applied online through RTA’s website or at RTA customer care centres in Karama, Al Quoz, Umm Ramool, Al Twar and Al Manara centre.
Conditions of usage:
• Expose the permit on the front dashboard of the vehicle in a way that shows the details to avoid violations.
• This permit can only be used in Dubai public parking.
• This permit is not allowed to be used for trucks of any type including pickups.
• This permit is not valid within the DMC, DIC, Fish Market, and Gold Souq parking areas.
• Nobody can apply for a seasonal card for a vehicle that is not registered under his/her name.
• Companies are not allowed to register more than one vehicle number on the seasonal card.
• Owners of vehicles that are registered in other emirates and outside the UAE can apply for seasonal cards.
• Number plate registered on a certain seasonal card cannot be replaced with another one in case of change of vehicle.
For cancellation of type A, B cards
• Fill the application form.
• After filling the form, the seasonal card gets cancelled the same day.
• Seasonal card can be redeemed on the same day of issuance.
• Seasonal cards type A, B cannot be redeemed or refunded, but can be transferred to a different owner upon paying a fee of Dh110.
• Seasonal cards cannot be transferred from a company to another.
Salik tags are available at all petrol stations and RTA customer service centres in Dubai. Salik tag can be pasted on any part of the vehicle’s windscreen, provided it is clearly visible.
All vehicles passing through the Salik toll gates in Dubai should have Salik tags on the windscreen, irrespective of which emirate the vehicle is registered from.
A Salik tag costs Dh100, which includes a Dh50 balance which is credited to the account.
A motorist has to ensure his Salik account is topped up while passing through the Salik gate.
In case a motorist passes through the Salik gate without balance in his account, the account should be topped within five days from the date to avoid fines, which is Dh50 per unpaid trip.
Salik account can be topped by purchasing the recharge cards or vouchers, which are available across all petrol stations as well as at supermarkets and grocery stores. Online recharge options are also available either through internet banking system or through smart Salik mobile app that allows you to pay by credit card or E-dirham.
The recharge cards are available in denominations of Dh50, 100 and 200, with minimum top-up amount being Dh50.
When a car is sold the seller should remove the Salik tag before handing over the vehicle to the new owner. The Salik tag is non-transferable, however, a motorist can maintain a single Salik account for any number of vehicles.
All vehicles, including motorcycles, need to have a Salik tag. However, people with special needs are exempted, provided they apply to RTA for the exemption.