Procedure for Exchanging a Licence

Information on who can drive on a foreign driver's licence in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, and for how long. Details on when, where and how to exchange a licence...

Those who want to transfer an existing licence must be at least 18 years old. In addition, they must hold a valid driver's licence from an approved country and have a residence visa for Dubai.

Holders of a licence from Canada, Cyprus, Greece, Japan, Poland, South Korea or Turkey need a translation from the appropriate Consulate or Embassy in order to exchange their licence. Canadians also need a letter from the Canadian Consulate in Dubai to confirm that their licence is genuine.

Nationals of all other countries need to undergo training and pass a driving test before they can get their licence. Those aged 17.5 to 21 can apply for a probationary licence, but will only be able to drive after they turn 18.

An application involves completing a form and providing the following:

  • Passport size photograph
  • Passport and one photocopy
  • Residence permit copy
  • Original driver's licence and one photocopy
  • Eye test certificate (see separate section below)
  • No Objection Letter from the person's employer or sponsor
  • Official translation (if applicable)
  • Confirmation letter from consulate (for Canadians)
  • Fee

Licences are issued by the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA). Take all the documents above to an RTA Customer Centre. The application form can be filled in on arrival and then all documents must be submitted at the Data Entry Counter. Licences are issued after a short wait.

  • For comprehensive information on transferring an existing licence: Click here
  • For full details of RTA Customer Centres: Click here

Eye Tests

The authorities in Dubai insist on an eye test before they issue a licence, and some driving schools do the eye-test at their centres. If not, go to any hospital, clinic or optician with (the majority of these are RTA certified, but it is sensible to check). The examiner will need two passport-sized photos. Inform them that they are for a driving licence. Most opticians provide this service free of charge; however, some do charge a small fee.

  • For more information on RTA Certified Opticians: Click here

Renewing a Driving Licence

An issued licence has a digital photograph on it. Individuals under the age of 21 are issued a driving licence that needs to be renewed annually, while anyone over 21 is issued with a licence valid for ten years. Driving licences can be renewed at any Roads & Transport Authority Office or online.

In order to renew a licence the following documents are required:

  • Eye test certificate
  • Copy of passport
  • Two passport size photographs
  • A passport photocopy with a valid residence visa
  • The original expired driving licence

A renewal fee and any outstanding fines will need to be paid.