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Dubai Driving & RTA

Driving in Dubai can prove a tad nerve-wracking!  The RTA (Roads & Transport Authority) is responsible for the highways in Dubai.  The RTA also issues all driving licenses. The main highway is Sheikh Zayed Road (E11), an arterial route from the south of Dubai to the north.  It cuts through

Updated 11-December-2014  

Driving in Dubai can prove a tad nerve-wracking!  The RTA (Roads & Transport Authority) is responsible for the highways in Dubai.  The RTA also issues all driving licenses. The main highway is Sheikh Zayed Road (E11), an arterial route from the south of Dubai to the north.  It cuts through Jebel Ali, the Dubai Marina/JLT/JBR, the Greens, onwards to Burj Khalifa and Downtown, then passing DIFC and the Trade Centre roundabout where it radiates out and joins other main routes to the northern Emirates.

If you are one of the nationalities where you can simply transfer your license, life is easy.  For others, they need to attend lessons and sit driving tests. Let’s talk you through both scenarios. Firstly, you need to check if your license is transferable.  Here’s a handy tool on RTA’s website – https://www.rta.ae/wpsv5/wps/portal/driving_license_transferability?SwitchToLatestLocale=true.  Here you can check if you can simply transfer your license. If your license cannot be transferred (the word use on RTA website is ‘replaced’) then you need to call 800 9090 (RTA) for further details.  During the selection process at the beginning of the call press 2 for English,  then 3, then 4 for driving license information.  Someone in RTA will answer your call.  Explain your situation, i.e. that your license is not transferable.  You will be advised to take lessons and sit the tests to enable you to get a Dubai driving license.

Then you should contact one of the driving schools and find out the costs, the classes etc.  Sometimes it’s better to meet with them face to face.
If your license is in English or Arabic then that’s acceptable to RTA, if not, you need to get a legal translation of the license.  Some of the embassies in Dubai may be able to provide a translation if not you will need a legal translator.   Legal translators are registered according to the languages they translate.  For example, there are only a few registered German legal translators.  The embassy of the country where the license was issued will be able to provide you with a list.
Remember to add these costs to your relocation budget.

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate independent legal advice.

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