Driving in Abu Dhabi (UAE) Guide

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    In the UAE, vehicles are driven on the right side – the same as in the United States and Canada for example.

    You must have a Residence Visa before you can apply for a driver’s license. Therefore you will not be able to drive for up to one month. Only those entering the UAE on a Visit Visa can rent a car or those holding a driver’s license issued by a GCC country. If your spouse has entered the UAE on a Visit Visa, he or she can rent a car using an international driver’s license or a temporary UAE driver’s license.

    You can purchase a vehicle only after you have a Residence Visa and a UAE driver’s license. Vehicle prices start from approximately Dhs 45,000 and are available in both manual and automatic transmission. Second hand cars are available. There are a number of used car dealers, and advertisements on noticeboards in grocery stores or in the local newspapers and magazines.

    Vehicles can be imported for personal use. Duty in the amount of 4% is payable on the value assessed by Customs. To collect a car shipped to the UAE, Customs requires shipping documents and a photocopy of your passport (if you are the importer). Importing certain brands of new cars may require permission from the UAE agent. Also keep in mind the availability of an authorized dealer in the UAE to service the car, the availability of spare parts, and resale value.

    Before you can drive your car, it will need to be insured and registered. The dealer will help you with both. You can shop around for an insurance policy or take one through the dealer. If you are buying privately, you will have to arrange the insurance and registration yourself. Human Resources will provide you with the letters required and advise you of the current procedures.

    Once your car is registered, keep the registration card and your driver’s license in the car at all times. Also keep a photocopy of your passport. In case of an accident, you will be asked to produce these documents. You must register your car on a yearly basis. You must pay your traffic fines before you will be allowed to register your car or renew your driver’s license. Below are some general driving tips and techniques:


    If you have an accident, do not leave the scene of the accident. Contact the police. When the police arrive, have your registration card and driver’s license ready for them and follow their instructions. They will ask for your view of what happened, and then decide who was at fault. If the police decide you were at fault, you will be given a pink form. If you are determined not to be at fault, you will be given a green form. The form allows you to have your vehicle repaired. A garage cannot repair accident damage without a form.


    The paved shoulder is sometimes used as a fourth lane by impatient drivers. It is illegal.

    Mobile Phones

    It is against the law to drive while speaking on a mobile phone. Be sure to purchase a hands free.

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