You’ve heard the cautionary tales, the stories and how hard it can be to get a license in Dubai. I’ve heard from many people that passing the driver’s licence test in Dubai can be a daunting task, even for experienced drivers. The test evaluates learners thoroughly before they can get behind the wheel, and this can make some people nervous. Fear of failure is one of the major factors in failing the test. According to driving instructors, the road test pass rate in Dubai is about 50%, which is similar to the UK’s pass rate. However, passing on the first try is not impossible, and with the right preparation, anyone can ace the test.
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Who Can Get A Driving Licence in Dubai?
Anyone aged 18 and above can apply for a driving licence in Dubai. People aged between 18 and 21 qualify for a probationary licence. The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) issues a temporary licence based on the application submitted in Arabic. This temporary licence must be carried during the training.
What Is The Procedure To Apply For A Driving Licence in Dubai?
The Dubai driving licence process is simple but rigorous. Follow this step-by-step guide to obtain a Dubai driving licence:
- Get your eye test done. This can be carried out at your driving school or by an optician.
- Register at an RTA-approved driving school in Dubai and submit all relevant documents.
- Get your temporary Dubai driving licence or learner’s permit and start training.
- Complete all theory classes, which can either be taken online or in the driving schools.
- Pass the theory test to move on to practical lessons.
- Complete the practical classes and go for your internal assessment.
- Upon completing the internal assessment, you must complete highway and city road classes.
- Pass the internal parking test so that the school can apply for the RTA test.
- Pass the test and then clear the final RTA road test.
- Get your licence!
In the case of a failed first attempt, you must complete seven additional training classes before appearing for the road test again.
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What Documents Are Required For A Driving Licence In Dubai?
Emiratis only require their valid Emirates ID to apply for a Dubai driving course. However, if you’re a foreigner living in Dubai, you need to submit the following:
- Your Emirates ID (copy and original)
- Your passport with visa page (copy)
- Passport-size photos (minimum of 4)
- Your eye test results
- A no-objection letter from your sponsor (if asked by the relevant department)
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What is Included In The Driving Licence Tests?
You must pass a few tests to obtain a valid driving licence in Dubai. The Dubai driving licence tests include a theory test, parking test, and road test.
Your theory test will be conducted at one of the authorised driving schools (usually the one you’re registered at). The test entails 35 questions to evaluate your knowledge about road/driving hazards, signals and signs, and safe-driving guidelines. There will be three segments.
- The first segment contains 17 questions about various traffic situations. You need to answer at least 11 questions correctly to pass this segment.
- The second segment comprises 18 questions that focus on driving licence specifics. You must get 12 of these questions right to qualify for the final road test.
- The third segment – the Risks Recognition Test – is a series of videos depicting different environments. The questions in this segment focus on your game plan to tackle these conditions and their risks.
This test is carried out on a touch-screen computer in English, Urdu or Arabic. Candidates unfamiliar with these languages can opt for an oral exam.
A fully automated test with detailed parking instructions can be taken at the smart yard of your driving institute. There are five steps in the parking test, including slope/hill parking, emergency brakes, angle parking (60 degrees), garage parking (90 degrees), and parallel parking. If you fail the parking test five consecutive times, you will have to appear for the internal assessment again.
The Road Test & Assessment
The road test and assessment are the final and perhaps the most challenging step of obtaining a driving license in Dubai. During the practical test, you will be driving, and you will have only 10-12 minutes to prove your driving skills to the examiner.
To prepare for the road test, ensure that you are mentally and physically ready. On the test day, arrive at the RTA driving license center with your Emirates ID, driving file, two passport-sized photographs, and the road test fee.
During the road test, follow the RTA examiner’s instructions and drive confidently. You will receive the results immediately after the test. If you fail, you will have to complete seven additional classes before taking the test again. If you pass, submit the approval paper, ID documentation, and the Dubai driving license fee at the Pass Counter.
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Finding RTA-Approved Driving Institutes in Dubai
To obtain a driving license in Dubai, you must attend a driving school that is approved by the RTA. The following are some of the driving schools that the RTA endorses, each with multiple branches throughout the city:
- Dubai Driving Centre
- Belhasa Driving Centre
- Emirates Driving Institute
- Al Ahli Driving School
- Galadari Driving School
Cost Of Obtaining A Driving License In Dubai
The cost of obtaining a driving license in Dubai varies between AED 4,500 and AED 7,000 if you pass the final road test on the first attempt. However, the cost also depends on the driving institute you choose. If you fail the test, you may have to pay extra for additional training.
All RTA-approved driving institutes in Dubai offer theory classes in three primary languages: Arabic, Urdu, and English. Some institutes provide additional languages, and e-learning options are available in English and Arabic. If you cannot attend theory classes in any of the primary languages, Remote Interpretation Services (RIS) via Microsoft and Skype translation services offer lessons in 195 languages.
Swapping Your License for a Dubai Driving License
Expats can swap their valid driving license for a Dubai driving license, depending on their country of origin. The RTA divides expat applicants into exempted and non-exempted categories. Citizens from exempted countries with a valid driving license can swap it for a Dubai driving license. Some of the countries in the exempted list are the United States, United Kingdom, France, Japan, Germany, and Italy.
To swap your license, you will need to undergo an eye exam, submit relevant documents, and pay the Dubai driving license fee. You may also need to produce translations or verification letters from your consulate.
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Transferring Your Driving File
It is possible to transfer your driving file from one driving institute to another. Request your current institute to make the transfer after settling any dues.
FAQs About Driving License Renewal Dubai
To renew your Dubai driving license, settle all traffic fines before applying for renewal. You will be charged a penalty of AED 10 per month if you fail to renew your license, which can accumulate into a significant fine.
Tips to Ace the Driver’s Licence Test
Preparation is key to passing the driver’s licence test in Dubai. Here are 12 tips to help you ace the test:
- Make basic adjustments, such as mirror and seat adjustments, before starting the engine.
- Don’t forget to make effective observations at junctions.
- Emerge and pass through crossroads after making observations to the right or left.
- Check your mirrors and always use the indicators when changing lanes.
- When exiting a roundabout, check your mirrors before following the vehicle in front of you.
- Have proper control of the steering wheel and put your hands in the proper position.
- When you move off from behind a parked vehicle, check your mirrors and blind spot first.
- Respond appropriately to traffic lights.
- Follow your lane and do not drive too close to the kerb or centre of the road.
- Brake at the right time and in the right manner; applying sudden brakes will lead to road test failure.
- Rest well prior to the test.
- Finally, when you take the road test, be confident, relax, and always stay alert on the road.
Passing the driver’s licence test in Dubai is not impossible, but it requires preparation and practice. The test is designed to evaluate learners thoroughly before they can get behind the wheel, and this is crucial for ensuring road safety.