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Transportation and Driving

United Arab Emirates (UAE) - Transportation and Driving


The most popular form of transport in the United Arab Emirates is the car which most expats view as a necessity (although public transport buses can be found in some emirates). Travelling by bicycle is extremely unusual.

Holders of a permanent residence permit and a driving licence from the following countries may obtain a UAE driving licence immediately (after producing their original licence):

Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden. Switzerland, Turkey, UK and USA.

Otherwise, a UAE driving licence can be obtained by passing the local driving test. The form to get a UAE license must be completed in Arabic and you will be required to undergo an eye test. You must have a driving licence before you can purchase a car.

Vehicles are subject to 4% import duty and must meet safety and emissions standards before being registered. If you are on a visit visa you may use a UK licence to drive a hire car although many expats have reported that vehicle leasing/renting in the UAE is expensive.

At petrol (gas) stations in the UAE an employee will usually fill your tank, you then pay him for the petrol.

Front seat drivers and passengers are required by law to wear seatbelts. If your vehicle is pulled over by the police then you will be expected to get out of your car and speak to them, rather than waiting for them to approach you.


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