Step-by-Step Guide to get UAE Driving License in Abu Dhabi for Indians

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Abu Dhabi is a wonderful city to stay, especially as an expat. Life is peaceful, the city is safe and it has all the amenities that you need. And one of the things that you will really admire after moving to Abu Dhabi (especially from India) is the roads – broad, clean and smooth. The moment I came out of the airport and saw the roads, I wanted to drive on those smooth roads. And for that, obviously, I would need to get a UAE Driving License in Abu Dhabi.

Driving License in Abu Dhabi
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Although the public transport system in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are pretty good with buses and metro respectively, having a car definitely makes things much easier. In fact, you don’t even need to buy a car, you can simply rent it whenever you need it – just like we do. Its easy, convenient and inexpensive. But, to rent a car anywhere in UAE, you will need a UAE DL (Driving License).

In this informative blog post, I have outlined in details the exact steps to get your Driving License in Abu Dhabi. In addition, I have also mentioned my personal experience of getting my DL in the first attempt. I am sure you will find it useful.

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My Personal Experience while Applying for UAE Driving License in Abu Dhabi

After I had already been living in Abu Dhabi for 4 months, I realised that a car will make life a lot easier in UAE. And not just for office commute or other regular stuff, but majorly for roaming around in UAE. And hence I decided to get a driving license in Abu Dhabi. Although after discussing this with a few friends and colleagues that getting a UAE Driving License might as well be a challenging and expensive affair, but I was sure it will be beneficial in the long run.

In this blog, I have outlined the exact step by step process to get your DL in UAE, especially if you are from India and already have an Indian DL.

Before we start the steps, here are the 2 most common questions that people ask me –

How Much did it cost me?
In total it costed me 3200 AED – only because I succeeded in the “Golden Chance“.
Here is a break-up –
Indian Driving License translation to Arabic = 50 AED
Eye Test = 100 AED || Application = 230 AED
Theory Classes + Theory Test = 871 AED
Road Training Permission Card (including courier) = 115 AED
Practical Training = 1200 AED (20 hrs x 60 per hr) || Training Certificate = 75 AED
Road Test Application = 200 AED
Getting the Driving License in hand (including courier) = 315 AED
Extras – 12 bus rides (6 x 2) for application and theory classes = 36 AED

How much time did the entire process take?
For me, it took a total of 34 days.
This includes everything – starting from the eye test, DL application, theory classes, theory test, on-road training, on-road test and finally receiving my DL.

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Getting your UAE Driving License in Abu Dhabi

Step 1 – Gathering information about the entire process

Information is power
Anonymous

The first step towards anything is to gather as much information as possible. And this is where a Step-by-Step Guide like this comes in handy, especially since it’s from someone who has recent experience in the same – me! 🙂

While I was trying to hunt for information regarding the application process, unfortunately, I didn’t find something comprehensive and up to date. And hence I decided to make one so that it helps people seeking information about how to get a driving license in Abu Dhabi.

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Step 2 – Getting your Documents ready

The following documents are needed to open a file for getting your Driver’s License in Abu Dhabi:

  1. Passport and residence visa page – original and photocopy
  2. Emirates ID card – original and photocopy
  3. Colour photo – passport size – 2
  4. Eye test report
  5. No objection letter from the sponsor (if required by the related traffic department).

The document #5 in the above list is generally not needed if you are on a work-visa in UAE, or even if you are a family member (dependent visa) of someone on a work-visa.

In case you already have a driving license from your home country:

If you already have a driving license from India (or your home country), you are eligible for something called a GOLDEN CHANCE. You can read in details about UAE Driving License Golden Chance in Abu Dhabi here. In short – if you pass the theory test at once, you get a chance to directly take the road test without having to go to the Emirates Driving School for On-Road Training – only if you have a driving license from your home country.

ALSO READ:
? Golden Chance Driving License: Quick & Easy way to get your DL in UAE

The documents required in this case are:

  1. Home country driving license (original) and its Arabic translation (original)
  2. Passport and residence visa page – original and photocopy
  3. Emirates ID card – original and photocopy
  4. Colour photo – passport size – 2
  5. Eye test report
  6. No objection letter from the sponsor (if required by the related traffic department).

To get your home country driving license translated into Arabic – visit any of your nearest ‘typing centre’. They will charge you somewhere between 50-100 AED.

Driving in Abu Dhabi
Driving on the highway connecting Abu Dhabi and Dubai is sheer pleasure!

Step 3 – Eye Test

Eye test report is mandatory to start your application for driving license in Abu Dhabi. And this eye test for the driving license can only be done at any of the below-mentioned places –

  • Yateem Opticians – any store near you
  • Eye test centre at the Drivers and Vehicles Licensing Department – Musaffah (inside Emirates Driving Company – New complex)

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Step 4 – UAE Driving License Application – “file open”

After completing your eye test, the next step is to ‘open a file‘ – the application.

To apply for UAE Driving License in Abu Dhabi you need to visit the Drivers and Vehicles Licensing Department in Musaffah. This is inside Emirates Driving Company – New complex (Google Maps Location). Don’t forget to take all the documents mentioned above, else you will have to come back and go again.

I hadn’t done the eye test in advance. I directly did it at the Eye test centre inside the Licensing Department. It was easy and quick, and costed me 100 AED. After the eye test, I took a token and waited in the queue for my turn. When my turn came, I submitted all the documents to the person at the counter. They will also ask for your mobile number and register it with an OTP because all further updates will be sent via SMS on this phone number – including the FINAL RESULT! They will charge you 230 AED for this application process.

roads of UAE
Stunning roads of UAE

Step 5 – Theory Classes and Theory Test

Once the application process was done, I was told to go to the next building – Emirates Driving Company – to reserve the dates for theory classes. After you go there, you will be asked to choose from the available dates and time slots for the theory classes.

In total, there are 8 theory classes – one hour per class. In general, they will give you a schedule with 2 classes per day.

TIP: Although the person at the counter won’t tell you, but you can choose between 2 classes per day and 4 classes per day. If you stay in the downtown area of Abu Dhabi (like me), the bus journey itself will take you 2.5 hours every day. Hence, if possible, it might be better to opt for 4 classes per day and finish off all the theory lectures in only 2 days!

After you complete all the 8 theory classes, you will need to select your theory test slot. Time slots for tests in the English language are only available at night. My time slot was 9.30 PM. The theory test was multiple choice type. There were 45 questions and the passing marks is 36!

all the best

If you do the theory classes with attention and revise the text for only an hour prior to the exam, you will easily pass the test. I got 44 out of 45!!!

Driving License theory test
YAY!

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Step 6 – On-Road Training / Driving Practice

Now that you have passed the theory test (Congratulations), the next step to get your UAE driving license in Dubai or Abu Dhabi is to start the On-Road Training. And here comes the story of GOLDEN CHANCE! As I mentioned earlier, only if you have a driving license from your home country, you get a chance to directly take the road test without having to go to the Emirates Driving School for On-Road Training.

If you don’t have your home country driving license or if you forgot to submit it during the application, you are not eligible for the Golden Chance. In this case, you will need to take driving classes only from Emirates Driving Company. And, as far as I know, they will charge you around 3500 AED for a 40-hour training program.

In either case, you will need a Road Training Permission card to start On-Road Training. You can easily apply for this on the Abu Dhabi Police mobile app. It costed me 115 AED (including courier).

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My Golden Chance

Since I had brought my Indian driving license with myself (and submitted a translated copy during the application process) I was eligible for Golden Chance. Even while availing the golden chance, you will need to complete a minimum 10-hour on-road training with a registered driving instructor. At the end of the training, the instructor will provide you with a certificate – this is needed during the driving test.

You will find plenty of private driving instructors waiting outside the Emirates Driving Company. You can go ahead with your on-road training with any one of them. Typically their fee is 50-80 AED per hour – depending on your bargaining skills.

roads in Abu Dhabi
Roundabouts are a common test route in Abu Dhabi

The instructor who trained me had initially asked for 70 AED per hour. We negotiated and finally settled for 60. Since I hadn’t driven much in the previous 2-3 years, it took me some time to get used to the roads and especially to the left-hand driving in UAE. Generally, people with prior experience take around 10-15 hours of practice. I took 20 hours. Those who have less driving experience might even take 30 hours.

Step 7 – Practical Test a.k.a Road Test

Once your instructor is convinced that you are ready for the test, he/she will give you a certificate of completion. On the test day, I paid 200 AED for the road-test. Don’t forget to carry your Emirates ID card and certificate of training completion with you (some instructors might also email a soft copy of the certificate to the authorities).

On the day of your road test, you need to visit the same building where you opened your file – Drivers and Vehicles Licensing Department (inside Emirates Driving Company). A typical road test will hardly be a 5-7 min driving test. Once your test is over, within 2-3 mins you will receive an SMS indicating your result. If you follow all the driving rules and the instructions, you will definitely pass the test at once. I did !!

Step 8 – Get Your Driving License and Drive Safe!

That SMS which you have been waiting for!!!
time to party!!

Average cost of getting your Driving License in Abu Dhabi

As I mentioned earlier, for me it was 3200 Dhiram (in Dec’19). But costs will vary from person to person. Also, the Drivers and Vehicles Licensing Department and/or the Emirates Driving Company might choose to update/revise the fees from time to time.

Just to give you some further idea, 2500 AED is the bare minimum, i.e if you pass all the tests at once, including the golden chance. But for those who have not been able to, I have also heard that some people have even spent 4500-5000 AED for getting their UAE driving license.

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In the end…

I hope you found this helpful. If you need any help or any further information regarding the application process, feel free to contact us or leave your query in the comments below.

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37 thoughts on “Step-by-Step Guide to get UAE Driving License in Abu Dhabi for Indians”

  1. It’s in point of fact a great and useful piece of info. I’m glad that you simply shared this useful information with us.
    Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  2. How to get UAE Driving License in Abu Dhabi – it is very useful, I also shared it on my facebook.
    Many thanks! 🙂

  3. Thats great information. I was actually looking for such detailed information for driving license for Indians. I asked many people but could never get concrete information.
    Thanks for putting this up.

    1. Thank you so much, Ana. I am glad you liked it. I wanted to make this guide as detailed and informative as possible.

  4. Pingback: Fun Family Activities to Try in Dubai - The BeauTraveler

  5. Oh this doesn’t seem like that terrible of an experience and not too far off of what we do here in the US. I was expecting it to be way harder.

    1. yaa.. wasn’t too tough.. but maybe since I was comparing it to India (by default), it looked like a relatively cumbersome experience..

  6. What a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to get a license in Abu Dhabi. I hope those who want to get licenses can find this information valuable!

  7. blair villanueva

    This is very helpful, and similar here in Victoria State (AU) the process of learning how to drive and getting a driver’s license isn’t easy. Happy that you got yours!

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