Dubai: Expatriates with valid residence visas who drive using driving licences issued in their home countries will be prosecuted, a senior official has warned.
Salah Bu Farousha, head of Dubai Traffic Public Prosecution told Gulf News on Tuesday UAE residents who drive with their home driving licence risked three months in jail or a fine of up to Dh5,000. "They could face both punishments and will not be allowed to drive in the UAE as their names will be blacklisted," he said.
Bu Farousha was commenting on the case of a Jordanian national identified as Waele who was arrested in Dubai's Naif area during a routine police check for driving around with a permit issued in the US.
Wael was jailed for two months and ended up paying a Dh2,000 fine, he said.
Bu Farousha said that as per Federal Traffic law number 21 for 1995, amended by Law No.12 for 2007 — Article No.51, individuals who drive without obtaining valid driving licences or are found to be driving categories of vehicles not specified in their licences will be jailed and fined.
Bu Farousha said there are 26 nationalities who are allowed to drive in the UAE using licences issued in their home countries but this exemption is granted only when they are visiting the country.
"Whenever those people from the 26 nationalities obtain resident visas then they need to obtain UAE driving licences," he said.
Bu Farousha said that a holder of an international driving licence, whatever his or her nationality, can use the same in the country while staying in the country on a visit visa.
"Home driving licences or international driving licence will not be accepted when people obtain residence visas in the UAE," he said. He said those violating this traffic law could also be banned from driving in the country.
Bu Farousha said that residents who drive using licences issued in their countries will be dealt with as if they are driving without a driving licence. He said only nationals of GCC countries are permitted to drive in the UAE with their home driving licences.
He added that expatriates of any nationality residing in any one of the GCC countries and visiting the UAE are also allowed to drive using their GCC driving licence.
"People should understand and adhere to the traffic law," Bu Farousha said.
"This is not a new law but, to our surprise, many people are ignorant about the law," he added.
- Citizens of 26 nationalities who are allowed to drive with licences issued from their home countries during their visit to the UAE are: Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Finland, Spain, Holland, Greece, Sweden, Romania, Belgium, Ireland, Turkey, Denmark, Austria, France, UK, Norway, US, Canada, Australia, Singapore, South Korea, New Zealand, Hong Kong and South Africa.
- Nationals from Greece, Turkey, Canada, Japan and South Korea need to obtain the legal translation of driving licences from their home countries attested from their embassies or consulates in order to be able to drive in the UAE with such permits after their arrival in the country on a visit visa.