The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has extensive high quality road network and cheap unleaded petrol. It is very helpful because UAE has many historical and archaeological sites natural wonders to see by car.

The UAE recognizes driver licenses issued by Gulf Cooperation Council countries (the Kingdom of Bahrain, Kuwait, the Sultanate of Oman, Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates), and visitors from those countries may drive with their domestic driving permits up to three months.

The driving rules, regulations, and driving permit rules vary from emirate to emirate. But, you can drive throughout UAE if you have a temporary driver license from any emirate. Thus, if a foreign driver holds an International driver license or driving license from his country of origin, he can rent a car to drive; but for driving in Dubai a private car, a foreign driver should obtain the temporary Dubai driving license from the Traffic Police Office; this license has one month validity. A foreign driver cannot drive a privately registered car with his International driver license if that car is insured for a United Arab Emirates license holder only. For obtaining the temporary driving license, foreign drivers must go to the Dubai Traffic Department and have following documents:

  • application form;
  • passport and its copy;
  • copy of the visa;
  • foreign driving license (the foreign driving license and passport have to be from the same country) and International driver license and their copies;
  • 2 passport photographs.
Fee is required. The temporary Dubai driving permit is valid for as long as foreigner’s visa is valid. The Traffic Police keep the driving permits before visitors leaving the country.

Tourists or temporary visitors from countries: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, can drive rental cars with their National driving permits. Visitors from other countries for driving rental cars as private cars must obtain the temporary Dubai driving license. If you rent a car, the car rental company may issue you a UAE temporary driving permit on the basis of your National driving permit and International driver license. You also must give your passport with a valid visa and two photographs. For foreigners, it makes a sense to hire vehicle in UAE than bring from another county.

Have your documents with you all the time when driving; first of all, police officers will want to see your documents if they stop you. Drivers should also have their insurance documents and registration cards at all the times while driving. The main traffic rules are the same in all seven emirates; they are:

  • Driving is on the right side of the road.
  • The minimum driving age for a car is 18 years.
  • Seatbelts for drivers and all passengers are mandatory.
  • Children under 10 years of age are forbidden in the front seats.
  • Using cell phones without hands-free devices is forbidden.
  • Drinking and driving is prohibited: the legal alcohol limit is zero.
  • It is illegal to use the paved shoulder.
  • Pedestrians always have the right of way.
  • The right turning on the red light is illegal.
  • Cars on the traffic circle always have the right of way.
  • On roads without overhead lighting, high beam lights are required.
  • Drunk driving and intoxication is prohibited.
  • Speed limit on the highways is 100-120 km/h; in urban areas – 60-80 km/h; in residential areas –20-40km/h. Radars and speed cameras are frequent.

An additional information for foreign drivers is:

  • In cities, the hours of traffic congestion are 7 a.m. – 9 a.m., 1 p.m. – 2 p.m., and 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Vehicle insurance is compulsory.
  • For vehicles alder than two years, annual road-worthiness tests are required.
  • Vehicle registration must be renewed annually.
  • The ambulance and police emergency number is 999.
  • In the summer, cars parking in the sun have a high temperature inside so you should use a windscreen shade and small towel when the steering wheel is too hot.
  • Roads may change their manes as you cross intersections. Use the newest maps; to ask directions, you should know Urdu.
  • The UAE has one of the highest rates of road fatalities in the world. Emirati drivers often drive at high speeds and unsafe. On highways, drifting sand produce additional dangers. If you are going to drive across the desert, you should take people with local knowledge.

United Arab Emirates Road Traffic Signs

 Driving Overseas - Short Information