Getting a Dubai Licence

How to apply for a driving licence in Dubai, including information about driving schools and taking your driving test...

Applicants must be aged between 17.5 and 21 years old to apply for a driving licence, but will only be able to drive after they turn 18.

Not everyone is able to exchange an existing licence from a foreign country. They will therefore be treated like a new driver, which means taking a driving test. Applicants must go to an authorised driving school. Individuals aged 18-21 years may apply for a probationary licence.

  • For a list of authorised driving schools: Click here

To apply for a temporary licence to learn to drive, applicants will need the following documents:

  • Passport and two photocopies
  • Residence visa
  • No objection letter from the person's employer or sponsor
  • Eye test certificate
  • Eight passport photographs
  • Application form

In general, the driving school takes care of all formalities with the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA). When this is not the case, individuals can make the application themselves at the Dubai Traffic Department. The temporary licence must be carried in the car at all times while learning to drive and is valid for one year. After one year the licence must be renewed.

  • For more information on how to apply for a learner's permit: Click here

Eye Tests

The authorities in Dubai insist on an eye test before they issue a licence. Some driving schools do the eye-test at their centres. If not, go to any hospital, clinic or optician (these must be approved by the Roads & Transport Authority). They 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.

Learning to Drive

There are two types of driving school in Dubai.

  1. Large driving schools: students sign up and pay for a number of lessons before starting. Times are set for these lessons and if a certain number are missed the remainder are cancelled and no refund is paid. These large schools usually have an administration office (to complete official paperwork in Arabic) and their own facilities for administering eye tests. They can also organise some parts of the driving test for students which would otherwise have to be booked at the Dubai Traffic Department.
  2. Smaller schools: Lessons can be taken at convenient times and the instructor usually goes to the student's home address to collect them for the lesson. If this option is chosen, applicants must complete the paperwork and formalities themselves, which means applying for their temporary licence and organising an eye test. Some instructors take the completed paperwork to the Dubai Traffic Department on behalf of their pupils.

A minimum of 40 lessons is required for those applying for a first licence in Dubai, regardless of nationality. The 40 classes include 15 indoor/theory classes and 25 classes on the road.

Applicants may have their lessons and take the test in a manual or automatic car. Women can have female instructors (at a higher cost). If a woman prefers to have a male instructor, she must obtain a No Objection Letter (NoC) from both her sponsor and the traffic police.

The Driving Test

All tests take place at the premises of the driving institute with which they are registered.

The driving test has four parts:

  1. The Theory Test: This must be passed before booking the practical tests, and questions are drawn from the RTA Driver’s Handbook. Those taking the light vehicles test to drive a car must answer 23 out of 35 questions correctly. Those applying for a heavy vehicle or motorcycle licence will take two papers: the first consists of 17 general questions, 11 of which must be answered correctly; the second consists of 18 questions based on the specific vehicle type, 12 of which must be answered correctly.
  2. The Yard Test: A practical test taken within the RTA’s facilities centred on parking, hill starts, and emergency braking. Applicants for a heavy vehicle licence do not need to take this test.
  3. The Assessment Test: This is a dummy or mock version of the Road Test.
  4. The Road Test: A practical test taken on the road, with up to three other applicants in the vehicle. If this is failed, the applicant must book an additional eight practical sessions before they can repeat the test.

There is generally a waiting list of up to three months for the road test for men; for women, the waiting time is approximately three weeks.

Once the road test has been successfully passed the driving licence is issued within a day.

  • For further information on the driving test: Click here
  • For information on test types from the Roads & Transport Authority's driving portal: Click here