How to

Transfer your expat driver’s license to a UAE driver’s license

Photo credit: Nina Travels

Looking to take a road trip in the UAE? There are a few things you should know!

Once you are a resident of the UAE, you cannot drive on an international drivers license, or a license from any other country. If you wish to drive, you must obtain a UAE license. 


You might be eligible to transfer your existing driver’s license without having to take a driving test or go to a driving school. Fantastic! You can transfer your driver’s license if you have a valid driving license from selected countries. You have to be a citizen of the countries listed below, with current resident status in UAE.

Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States (Please call the Roads and Transit Authority – RTA – on 8009090 to check any changes to this list)


  • Original driving license from one of the exception countries above, and a copy 
  • Non-objection certificate from your sponsor (except if you are in one of the 66 professions mentioned here)
  • Eye test at an RTA approved outlet (see below for details)
  • Emirates ID and copy
  • Fees of 420AED per license application

If you are on a spouses visa, you will also need a copy of your husband’s passport, and a non-objection letter from him. If you are from Greece, Japan, South Korea and Quebec (Canada), you will also need to provide a letter from your Embassy or Consulate. Citizens of Portugal, Luxembourg, Slovakia and the People’s Republic of China must also give a legal translation of their license.

You are not required to relinquish your old driving license (yay!). 


To transfer your license, you need to:

  • Complete an eye test. This is done at any hospital, clinic or optician. The optometrist may require two passport-sized photos. Most opticians will charge around 100AED for the test, and they will upload the results to the RTA.
  • Carry all documents mentioned above to the RTA in Al Ghusais from 7.30 am – 2.30 pm on any working day, and submit your documents.
  • Wait for the RTA to verify the authenticity of your driver’s license, and open a traffic file for you.
  • Pay the applicable fees to the RTA.
  • Once issued and printed, you will receive your license, which is valid for a year. 

Now, if you are from a country that doesn’t do the transfer process – that’s a little different. I’ll write about it in a separate post. But if you are from a transfer-friendly country – congratulations! You are now licensed to drive in the UAE. Have fun and drive safely!

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