A psychological and linguistic tests manual has been prepared by the Roads and Transport Authority for drivers who will be engaged in passenger transport activities in Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied

For new residents of UAE, the rules, regulations and fees to get a driving licence can get confusing, especially as all Emirates have their own processes for this.

Note: Contact RTA at 8009090 for all your individual queries. This is only an informative guide.

Here are the various scenarios that expats usually face and what the procedures are for each.

No Valid Licence


If you are a beginner, you will need to register with a driving institute or school in Dubai and attend a minimum of 40 classes. You can then attempt the school's driving tests and the RTA final tests. The total cost to obtain a licence, given the applicant passes all tests in the first attempt, is approximately Dh5,500 (including all classes and tests; taken as an average from different schools and their fees). 

Required documents

- Emirates ID (Original and copy)

- Passport (Photocopy of personal details and relevant visa page)

- Passport size photographs (8 or more)

- NOC (No Objection Certificate) from sponsor – Depends on individual cases, so call ahead and confirm

- Eye test results for preferred category (Can be arranged by preferred driving school)

For valid driving licence holders, the country from which your licence was issued and your citizenship determine the transfer of licence to a UAE licence.

Transferred licences


32 countries are listed by the RTA for transferrable licenses in Dubai including GCC countries and other co-operative countries. Transfer fee and new driving file costs start at Dh360. 


32 countries listed by RTA for transferrable licences
Saudi Arabia Spain Switzerland
Bahrain Germany Denmark
Kuwait France United Kingdom
Oman Ireland Poland
Qatar Norway Romania
South Africa Turkey Finland 
Canada Italy Portugal
United States of America Sweden Cyprus
Austria Australia Netherlands
Belgium Greece South Korea
Japan New Zealand  

 *The ones in green (except Canada) require translation of the existing licence into Arabic and/or English by the relevant embassy or legally approved translation agents. Canadian licence holders need a letter from the Canadian Consulate in Dubai to prove that the licence is genuine.

For transfer of licence, there are two scenarios;

Exempt country: Licence and Citizenship


If you are a citizen of one of the above countries, and also have a licence from one of these countries (same or different), the process is very simple. For example, if you are a Japanese citizen with a valid Japanese driving licence or a Japanese citizen with a Saudi driving licence, you can go straight to RTA and get your UAE licence in less than 20 minutes if all your required documents are in order. 

Required documents

- Passport copy and original

- Residence visa copy

- Original licence and copy

- Translation or consulate letter as required

- Passport photos

- Eye test certificate (from DHA approved test centres only)

- No objection letter from sponsor

(Call 8009090 to confirm if there are other documents required for your individual licence)

Different country: Licence vs. Citizenship


If you are not a citizen of one of the above countries but have a valid licence from a country from the list; for example, if you are an Indian citizen with a valid driving licence issued in Saudi Arabia, you need to register with a school for your licence procedures.

Enrol in a driving school in Dubai and register for the RTA test procedures. Carry your required documents with you and you can directly schedule an appointment for your RTA tests. Combined with the school’s registration fees and the RTA fees, the total cost can come up to Dh2,200. This may differ based on your preferred institute. If you fail your final test, you will have to attend a minimum of eight classes to retake the test.

Required documents

- Original licence and copy

- Passport copy with relevant visa page copy

- Emirates ID original and copy

- NOC (No Objection Certificate) from sponsor – Depends on individual cases, so call ahead and confirm

- Passport size photos (8 or more)

- Eye test results for preferred category (Can be arranged by preferred driving school)

Licence from countries not included in RTA list


If you have a licence from a country not included in the list, it cannot be transferred to a UAE licence. However, depending on the validity of your existing licence, the number of classes you are required to take will differ.

If your existing home-country licence has been valid for a period of more than five years, you can get your UAE licence after completing a minimum of 20 classes before your tests. If your licence has been valid for two to five years, the minimum required is 30 classes, while licences which have been valid for less than two years require you to take a minimum of 40 classes.

Required documents

- Existing licence and copy

- Emirates ID (Original and copy)

- Passport (Photocopy of personal details and relevant visa page)

- Passport size photographs (8 or more)

- NOC (No Objection Certificate) from sponsor – Depends on individual cases, so call ahead and confirm

- Eye test results for preferred category (Can be arranged by preferred driving school)

The fees depend on your preferred institute and the validity of your license. 

*This guide pertains to Dubai only