Whether you’re a seasoned motorist eager to get back in the driving seat, or are hoping to pass your test here in Abu Dhabi, there are a few things to consider.
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 driving licence. These vary depending on the following:
1. You have a licence from another country
The first thing you need to know is that if you’re a resident you can’t hit the roads with any licence other than an Abu Dhabi version. If you're visiting it is possible to use your international licence, or apply for one here.
If you're a resident and you have a licence from one of the countries below you'rein luck, as this is a relatively simple process:
• GCC countries
• New Zealand
• South Africa
• South Korean
If your country is not recognised, you'll need to follow the ‘No licence at all’ procedure below, as you will have to participate in the theoretical and practical testing.
But, if you do have a licence from one of the places above your licence can be easily transferred once you’re ready. But first you'll have to get it translated into Arabic. You can do that at any official typing or translation centre in the city.
To get your Abu Dhabi licence, you must visit the Abu Dhabi Drivers’ Licence Department (near Mushrif Mall) with all of the following documents:
• A passport photo.
• Original and one copy of your passport.
• Emirates ID.
• Original and one copy of your foreign driving licence.
• One copy of your valid Abu Dhabi residency visa.
• A letter of no objection from your current employer or your visa sponsor.
• An Arabic translation of your existing licence (which can be obtained at any translation outlet).
When you visit the licencing centre, you will be sent to take an eye test in a nearby building. If that’s successful you’ll pay Dhs100 before being sent to collect your Abu Dhabi licence.
The whole process (including eye test and translation fees) will cost around Dhs800.
Abu Dhabi Drivers’ Licence Department, 2nd and Al Dhafra Street, Al Mushrif, opposite Mushrif Mall (800 3333).
3. 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 will first need to sit a theory test.
The first step is to go to Emirates Driving Company (EDC) and open a driving file.
This will enable you to participate in theoretical courses and the test itself.
EDC administers courses on the the eight units you need to pass before you can get your driving licence.
The eight lessons are:
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: Dealing with critical situations.
Lesson six: Driving behaviour and road manners.
Lesson seven: Vehicle knowledge.
Lesson eight: Safety.
Once the classes are complete – each 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 before you can book your practical test.
Once you pass your practical driving test on the roads you’ll get a certificate, then you can take that to the Abu Dhabi Drivers’ Licence Department in Mushrif as proof of your completion.
Once there, you’ll be able to get your licence as described on on the previous pages.
Emirates Driving Company, Musaffah, www.edcad.com (02 551 1911).