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Sharjah: Sharjah Police has streamlined the process of obtaining a driving licence in the emirate, Gulf News has learnt.

In an exclusive interview, Col. Rashid Ahmed Al Fardan, Head of the Vehicles and Drivers Licensing Department at Sharjah Police, said the department’s initiative has simplified the driving licence application process – with three branches now offering services.

Three branches

The Permits Branch is the first step, handling traffic file openings, licence renewals, and replacements for lost or damaged licences. The second branch coordinates with 25 driving schools; the third handles evaluations.

Col. Rashid Ahmed Al Fardan

Following the instructions of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the Vehicles and Drivers Licencing Department at Sharjah Police uses smart channels for efficiency. The move prioritises customer satisfaction and safety.

Customers must open a file through these channels. To help applicants who are unfamiliar with the technology, traditional platforms are available for their use.


traffic files opened in Sharjah from 2021 to the first half of 2023

The official noted an increase in the number of opened files, due to the rapid urban development taking place in Sharjah.

Col. Al Fardan noted that from 2021 to the first half of 2023, there had been 58,952 traffic files opened.

Smart channels

Col. Al Fardan explained that obtaining a driving licence can significantly boost a worker’s salary from Dh800 to Dh2,000, thus improving their livelihood.

He said Sharjah offers flexibility in applying for a driving licence, residents and workers in Sharjah are accommodated, even if their visas are from other Emirates.

Col. Al Fardan stated: “We respect the privacy of other Emirates and have specific requirements in Sharjah.”

The official clarified that the process of obtaining a driving licence involves specific requirements.

“We also have flexibility according to the Commander-in-Chief’s instructions. Flexibility means we do not limit ourselves to residency holders, but we expanded it to include those who have Sharjah residency and work in Sharjah; as well as those who work in the Emirate of Sharjah while their residency visa was issued by another emirate.”

This, he said, covers those who are in “secondment” – a period of time when an employee is sent to work somewhere else (to increase the number of workers, to replace other workers, or to exchange experience or skills).

Col Al Farden urge customers to use their smart channels for efficiency.

Continuous improvement

“Customers must go to these smart channels and open a file through them. We may face some challenges among some Asians who do not know how to use these channels – so we have some platforms to train and teach them how to use these channels.”

Col Al Fardan’s said their “Al Rased Program” ensures continuous evaluation and improvement of services, and the department is open to feedback and suggestions from the public.

3 Stages

The training process for a driving licence consists of three stages: Theoretical education (7 lessons),

  • Theoretical education (7 lessons),
  • Practical training (40 classes), and
  • Evaluation.
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The department monitors the most widely-committed traffic violations in order to focus the driver training on these areas.

First of its kind: Online signal test

Theoretical lessons can be attended in person or online – with the added option to take the signals test online, a first-of-its-kind initiative in the Middle East.

In this mode, the applicant must open the camera which captures movement.

“The goal is to make it easier for them to save effort and time. Practical training involves 40 classes, followed by an evaluation that measures readiness for driving and includes a street test.

Procedures simplified, training for trainers

The Sharjah Police has made efforts to simplify procedures and reduce waiting times, with licences issued and delivered within two days of passing the test.

“We have annual tests for trainers through a committee which evaluates the training of trainers – the weak trainer is given advanced recovery courses and modern methods related to his field. We at Sharjah Police are keen to keep high training outcomes: a driver who drives with high efficiency and makes few mistakes, poses lower risks.”

“He is not just capable. He is able to drive, anticipates mistakes and other risks and is able to act on his own in any traffic situation that may occur on the road.”

Psychological factor

The psychological factor plays a role in the city test, too, he said.

“The police officer works to minimise the examinee’s fear and tension with measures taken to reduce anxiety, such as considering the examiner a coach, rather than a police officer.”

“The trainee must be prepared to drive in all conditions – for example, if his test falls on a rainy or foggy day, he must be prepared for these conditions.”

“During the test, if there may be 3 or 4 simple errors, that can be overlooked. But if it increases, they will be held accountable. There are 24 mistakes considered major and cannot be overlooked.”

The department also monitors the most widely-committed traffic violations, in order to focus the training on these areas.

Services are rated at using the five-star system. Ongoing developments and challenges are addressed, including the diversity of nationalities and the increasing number of applicants, with a notable increase in female drivers.

Inspection vehicles

To ensure transparency and fairness, all inspection vehicles are equipped with cameras.

“If the trainee objects to the examination result, then he will see his mistakes (from the video replay) – and we evaluate the examiner. He may have made a mistake in something or misjudged another situation. However, it may not change the result at all, as 99 per cent of the time, the trainee is wrong.”


Number of users who requested inspection vehicle since service was launched until first half of 2023
Golden chance
There is a system known as the “Golden Chance” or “Direct Licence” system.

This system allows individuals with a certain level of driving experience and skills to obtain a driving licence without undergoing the regular training programme at a driving school.

“For those who have driving licence in other countries (42 countries which signed a memorandum with UAE ministry of Interior, the Sharjah Police offers multiple opportunities for driving licence exams, with five chances for the city test.”

If the person fails, he will not be starting from zero. Instead, he will be given the chance to take the city exam five times.

Types of licences:

  • Light-heavy vehicle
  • Heavy mechanical device - light mechanical device
  • Motorcycle
  • Light bus - heavy bus
  • Light vehicle

“Most of the issues occur in the light vehicles category,” the official said, noting that motorcycle licence applications are more popular with Asians.

Inspection vehicle

The use of inspection vehicles, which can be pre-booked, is rising as part of the driving test process.

“The vehicle goes to the applicant’s location, based on the Google Map location sent by the examinee. This helps save time, effort and cost,” he said.

“It has been 2 years since we started using inspection vehicle – there is a fee of Dh200 in addition to the basic test fees, which is Dh300. The test begins at the place where both the test and inspection vehicles begin,” he said.

Most of those who requested inspection cars were women and younger people.

Timings for inspection vehicle:

7:30 am to 1:30 am

Pre-booking of inspection vehicle:


Testing time
Here's how driving tests are administered:

First, the driving school gives information to the Sharjah Police Driving Licence Department that the trainee has prepared for the test.

The Traffic Department prepares the appointment and informs the trainee.

If an examinee fails, the examiner gives the evaluation.

Based on the mistakes committed by the examinee, the examiner determines whether the examinee will be given anywhere from 3-5 classes, especially when there are serious mistakes made.

Eye test facilities

There are more than 213 branches nationwide – including shops of Al Jaber, Optec-Al Kubra, and Al Yateem – in order to make the procedures easier for customers.