A newbie’s guide to getting a driving licence in Dubai

From the number of lessons required to eligibility, Arif Abdulkarim Al Malik, Director, Drivers Training and Qualification, RTA, answers some common questions

Hina Navin | Special to GN Focus
11:25 March 8, 2018
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How much does it cost to get a licence in Dubai?

This can be between Dh4,500 and Dh7,000 (if you pass in the first attempt in the final road test), depending on driving institute that you choose for training. RTA has approved seven driving institutes in Dubai to conduct training. If you do not pass on the first attempt, an additional four hours of practical training is required, and the average cost for that will be Dh1,200-Dh1,500 for a second attempt.

I’ve driven for more than five years back home. How many hours of classes do I need?

As per your past driving experience, the training hours are divided under three categories. People with up to two years of driving experience must take a minimum of 20 hours of practical training (yard plus road training); people with experience of two to five years require minimum 15 hours’ training and people with more than five years experience need a minimum 10 hours’ training before the final test. They all need to take eight hours of theory lectures. All these are, however, applicable if the applicant does not come from the list of exempted countries.

How can I swap a foreign licence for a national one?

Around 37 countries come under the RTA’s exempted list of countries, where the citizens of those nations with a valid drivers’ licence from their home country can swap or directly exchange it for the UAE driving licence. The list includes most EU countries, North American, Gulf and Asian nations such as Japan and South Korea.

How many theory lessons do I need?

There are eight theory lessons available for light motor vehicle and nine for the heavy motor vehicle. A light motor vehicle learner can get their theory lessons in two different ways: attending their chosen driving institute for lectures or at the institute’s online learning platform. Heavy motor vehicle learners have to attend their chosen driving institute for lectures as e-learning is currently not available for them.

What languages do you usually offer your theory classes in?

Lectures at the institute are offered in three main languages: Arabic, English, Urdu and some driving institutes provide courses in a few additional languages. E-learning languages include Arabic and English. For the theory test, the student has to go to the institute to do the test as the RTA conducts the test and not the institute. For those students who cannot take theory lessons in the three main languages namely, Arabic, English, Urdu, we offer a Remote Interpretation Services (RIS) in partnership with Microsoft and Skype translations services as an optional service, providing translation in 195 languages.

Can I transfer my file from one driving institute to another?

Yes, transferring your file from one driving institute to another is allowed. The student can request a transfer from the first institute after setting all their bills.

What documents do I need to register for a course?

For Emiratis, only an Emirates ID is required. For expats, Emirates ID and resident visa from Dubai. There is a list of 66 exempt professions — including doctors, lawyers and managers — which do not require a no objection certificate (NOC) from their sponsors but in all other professions such as carpenters, home drivers, cooks, gardeners and security guards, the sponsor’s NOC is mandatory.