young driver
Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: If you wish to get a driving licence in the UAE, do you have to wait until you turn 18 to take driving classes? A Gulf News reader wrote in with her question.

She said: “I am about to turn 18 next year and am really looking forward to getting a driving licence. Could you please let me know if I can at least start taking my driving classes before my birthday? Or do I have to be 18 years old to enroll in a driving school? Your clarification will be very helpful.”

As per Article 15 of the UAE’s traffic law – Federal Law No. (21) of 1995 Concerning Traffic – there is a minimum age for applying for a licence, depending on the type of vehicle you wish to drive.

UAE citizens and residents, who are above the legal age and medically fit, can apply for a getting a licence as follows:

• 17 years for motorcycles and for vehicles for People of Determination.

• 18 years for cars and light vehicles.

• 20 years for heavy vehicles and tractors.

• 21 years for buses.

Article (15) of the Federal Traffic Law
For obtaining a driving license the following conditions must be satisfied:
1) That the applicant for a license concerning one of the vehicles mentioned in Article (3) of this Law is 17 years old if applying for a license relating to the vehicles mentioned in item 5 or 6 [Vehicles for People of Determination and motorcycles], 18 years for the vehicles mentioned in item 1 [light motor vehicle], 20 years for the vehicles mentioned in items 2 or 4 [heavy vehicle and mechanical tractors and other mechanical devices], and 21 years for the vehicles mentioned in item 3 [bus].
2) That he/she submit a medical report, from a government physician or a physician approved by the Licensing Authority ascertaining his medical fitness for driving a motor vehicle. Wearing medical eyeglasses or lenses rectifying the eyesight for a fitness test is allowed.
3) That he/she pass the required driving test organised by the implementing regulations and the decisions issued for the execution hereof.

So, the law stipulates a minimum age for obtaining a driving licence in the UAE. However, as per information shared by driving schools in Dubai following the reader’s query, if a person has not yet turned 18, he or she can still apply for driving classes in the UAE.

As per the website of Emirates Driving Institute, the driving school even has a ‘Youth Driving Course’, exclusively for university, college, or school students in Dubai over the age of 17 years and six months.

Many other driving schools, too, allow an individual to apply for a light motor vehicle driving course if they are 17 years and six months old. This allows students to get a head start on their driving clases, so that once they pass the final driving test, they can obtain the driving licence issued soon after their 18th birthday.