Driving permit
Dubai's Road and Transport Authority (RTA), allows drivers holding a valid driving licence from non-exempt countries to apply for a road and knowledge test without attending any prior lessons. Picture used for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: In the UAE, driving licence holders of over 40 countries are eligible to automatically convert their existing driving licence to a UAE driving licence, but what happens if the country that issued your licence is not included on this list?

In a recent online post, Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) explained that the ‘Golden Chance’ initiative provides a unique opportunity to obtain a new driving license easily and without any effort.

The new intiative allows expatriates to take a road test without having to attend lessons. 

Previously, if your licence was not eligible for automatic conversion, you had to go through the lessons first and then take the test.

Here are all the details.

How to find out if you are eligible for a ‘Golden Chance’ test in Dubai

You can check for your eligibility through an online service offered by RTA – ‘Apply for a New Driving Licence Based on Exchanging Licences’

Step 1: Enter your details on the RTA website:

• First visit the official RTA website through this link: https://www.rta.ae/wps/portal/rta/ae/home/rta-services/service-details?serviceId=3704306 and click on the ‘Apply Now’ button.
• Next, enter your Emirates ID and the expiry date.
• Enter your mobile number. Enter the One-Time Password (OTP) sent to you via SMS on your mobile phone.
• Next, you will be able to view your personal information. This includes your full name, sponsor’s name, profession, and contact details. Confirm the details by clicking on ‘Continue’.

Step 2: Enter your previous licence details

• You will then be asked if you currently have a driving licence. Answer 'Yes' or 'No'.
• Select the country that has issued your driving licence from the drop-down menu.
• Enter the licence details – licence category, licence issue and expiry date.
• Select whether the licence is currently in your possession and enter your nationality.
• Click ‘Next’.
• Select your driving licence category – ‘Light Motor Vehicle’
• If the country that issued your licence is not eligible for automatic conversion, you will have two options to choose from:

- Golden Chance: You only get one chance to take a road test and knowledge (theory) test without attending driving classes.
- Normal stage: You will attend driving lectures and practical classes followed by driving tests (the number of classes you are required to take may vary based on your driving experience).

RTA Golden Chance
Once you enter the driving licence details from your home country, you will be presented with two options - 'Golden Chance' or 'Normal Stage' Image Credit: Screenshot from official RTA website - rt.ae

How you can apply for the Golden Chance test

If you select the first option - ‘Golden Chance’ test, and are eligible to apply for it, the RTA website will inform you of the steps you need to follow to apply for it. Here are the details:

1. Eye Test – You can complete this eye test at any optical shop in the UAE registered with the RTA

2. Knowledge Test - You must then visit one of the registered driving institutes in Dubai to take a knowledge test, which may also be referred to as the theory test. Applicants are tested on the meaning of road signs, rules while driving on highways or busy junctions and how to act when there are road hazards.

3. Road Test – Once you pass your knowledge test, you can then book your ‘Golden Chance’ road test.

Once you pass the road test, your driving licence will be issued, which is valid for two years. After the first renewal, your driving licence will be valid for five years.



According to the RTA website, the estimated overall cost is Dh2,000. However, the final price can vary based on the driving licence details and the driving school.

List of driving schools in Dubai

1. Al Ahli Driving Centre
2. Belhasa Driving Centre
3. Dubai Driving Centre
4. Dubai International Driving Centre (Drive Dubai)
5. Galadari Motor Driving Centre
6. Emirates Driving Institute
7. Emirates Transport Driving Institute
8. Excellence Driving Centre
9. Bin Yaber Driving Centre
10. Bin Yaber Driving Centre
11. Eco-Drive Driving Institute

What happens if I fail the test?

You only get one chance to take a direct road test, without attending driving classes. In case you fail, you must go through the standard process for acquiring a licence in Dubai, which includes attending the practical and theory lessons, and tests. For a detailed guide, click here.

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