How to get your driving licence in Abu Dhabi

Here's how to get your driving licence in Abu Dhabi, including the steps to get an international licence validated and how to pass your test

How to get your driving licence in Abu Dhabi

Whether you’re a seasoned motorist eager to get back in the driving seat in your new city or are hoping to pass your test, there are plenty of obstacles to overcome first.

Some international licences can be transferred after a simple eye test, but some require further steps.

To get an Abu Dhabi licence, you must have a residency visa registered to Abu Dhabi, and you must be over 18 years old.

Once you can tick these boxes, there are different ways to go about obtaining your licence.

You have: An international licence
The first thing you need to know is that you can’t hit the roads with an international licence – you must have an Abu Dhabi version. However, this is a simple process as your international licence can be transferred.

To get your Abu Dhabi licence, you must visit the Abu Dhabi Drivers’ Licence Department with the following documents:
• A passport photo.
• Original and one copy of your passport.
• Emirates ID.
• Original and one copy of your foreign driving licence.
• A copy of a valid Abu Dhabi residency visa.
• A letter of no objection from your employer or visa sponsor.
• An Arabic translation of your existing licence (this can be obtained at any translation outlet).

When you visit, you will be required to take an eye test and then you will be able to collect your Abu Dhabi licence. It will cost Dhs200 in processing fees.
Abu Dhabi Drivers’ Licence Department, 2nd and Al Dhafra Street, Al Mushrif, opposite Mushrif Mall (600 577 7777).

You have: No licence at all
If you’re starting from square one, you will need to obtain a learning permit before you can get your motoring career into first gear. To do this, you need to sit a theory test.

Firstly, you need to go to Emirates Driving Company and open a driving file.

This will enable you to participate in theoretical courses. The light vehicle education course costs Dhs830, and the theory test is Dhs50.

Emirates Driving Company administers the eight units you need to pass to be given a licence.
Lesson one: Traffic rules, road markings and road signs.
Lesson two: Inside city limits.
Lesson three: Outside city limits.
Lesson four: Driving under difficult conditions.
Lesson five: Critical situations.
Lesson six: Driving behaviour and road manners.
Lesson seven: Vehicle knowledge.
Lesson eight: Safety.
Once the classes are taught – over a two-hour period – trainees sit a theoretical test so they can apply for a learning permit.

After the learning permit is obtained, drivers can start putting their theory into practice by taking lessons.

The number of lessons is dependent on the driver’s capability but is generally 30 hours for complete beginners, 20 hours for intermediate learners or ten hours for more advanced driving students.

The lessons are conducted in a contained environment within a driving rink. Once you are ready to take the practical test, administered by the Emirates Driving Company, your instructor will give you a “certificate of readiness”, which you must present to the Emirates Driving Company to book your practical test.

Once you pass your practical driving test on the roads, you must take your certificate to the Abu Dhabi Drivers’ Licence Department in Mushrif as proof of your completion.
Emirates Driving Company, Musaffah, (02 551 1911).

Rules of the road

• Children under the age of ten are not allowed to sit in the front seat of a vehicle.

• High-beam lights are required on roads with no overhead lighting and only to improve the view ahead (not for signalling).

• Driving while intoxicated is strictly prohibited, regardless of the amount (prescribed medicines should be checked with a doctor or pharmacist).

• Mobile phones are not to be used while driving.

• Overtaking in circumstances of reduced view is prohibited.

• Seatbelts are required for the driver and front-seat passenger.

• Speed limitations must be obeyed.

For the full list of rules, read the Abu Dhabi Road Code 2011, which can be found at

Did you know?

• Pedestrians must only cross the road at designated areas – zebra crossings and traffic signals – otherwise they are liable for a Dhs200 fine for jay-walking.

• If you change lanes without indicating, you are liable for a Dhs200 fine.

• Pedestrians have right of way on zebra crossings.

• You get black points for traffic violations – drivers with 24 lose their licence.

• You can move the vehicles to the side of the road in an accident if there is no dispute as to who was at fault. If there is any doubt about fault, it’s best to leave the cars in place until the police arrive.

• If you are in an accident and it was your fault, you will get a pink form. If you are deemed to not be at fault, your slip will be green.

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