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Driving License

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Dubai has very well defined traffic rules which have to be strictly adhered to. The traffic police in Dubai is highly efficient and ensures that no rule violated goes unnoticed which in turn keeps the road users on alert in following the traffic rules and therefore ensures the safety for everybody on the road. One of the most common and the most important traffic regulations is the ‘driving license’. As most of the population in the Dubai is made up of expatriates not all hold a Dubai driving license. Also as Dubai is a tourist hub, a lot of the tourists visiting Dubai rent a car to look around the city and explore the United Arab Emirates. The license held by these tourists is not a Dubai Driving License but they are permitted to drive in the country on the basis of the driving license they are issued in their own home country. But this is not for all tourists; only tourists from countries which have an agreement with Dubai to the effect of allowing their driving license are allowed to drive on this basis.

Every person who is a resident of Dubai and wishes to drive here must apply for a driving license as it is prohibited to drive without a license. Any body found to drive without a license is subjected to a hefty fine. It is not only a duty put on one’s self to refrain from driving when not holding a valid driving license but it is also the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle not to allow any body not holding a valid driving license to drive their vehicle. Further it is essential to verify that the vehicle one is about to drive is permitted on the license held by that person. A person holding a license for an automatic LMV cannot drive a heavy vehicle on the basis of that license.

This article discusses the conditions to be fulfilled for application for a driving license in Dubai and the provisions providing for the same are in the Federal Law No. 21 of 1995 Concerning Traffic (hereinafter referred to as ‘the law’).

The law has excluded the people falling under the following classes of people from applying for a Dubai Driving Licenses:

    1. Armed forces staff, upon their driving of military vehicles, provided that they should hold permits for that issued by their military authorities.

    2. Drivers of the mechanical vehicles which are registered in a foreign country, which are excluded from the provisions of registration and licensing stated herein, upon their driving of the military vehicles, provided that they should hold permits for that issued by the competent authorities in that country or international valid driving licenses allowing to drive such vehicles within the limits of the period which is authorized to them to drive such vehicles and within the limits of the period which is authorized to them to stay in the Country, whether for transit or visit or for specified mission.

    3. Holders of the valid international or foreign driving licenses and who are authorized to stay in the Country for other than residence, pursuant to the controls determined by the Minister of Interior in this regard.

The law provides for certain conditions, to be satisfied by a person who wishes to apply for a driving license in Dubai, which are as listed below:

    1. For application for a license for handicapped vehicles or motorcycles the applicant must be 17 years of age. The applicant must be 18 years for applying for a license to drive light vehicles (weight does not exceed 2.5 tons/ motorcycle designed for transporting goods). The applicant must be 20 years for applying for a license for heavy vehicles (exceeding 2.5 tons), mechanical tractors or other mechanical devices and for application of license for a bus (vehicle designed to transport more than 14 passengers) the applicant must be 21 years of age.

    2. The applicant must submit a medical report, from a government physician or a physician approved by the Licensing Authority ascertaining his medical fitness for driving a motor Vehicle. Wearing medical eyeglasses or lenses rectifying the eyesight for a fitness test is allowed.

    3. Finally the applicant must pass the required driving test organized by the implementing regulations. Before taking the driving test, the applicant is to take a fixed number of driving lessons from an approved driving school.

The number of lessons required is determined by the previous experience the person has with respect to driving. Also an additional number of lessons are to taken if the performance during the test is not satisfactory. Where the applicant is a holder of a valid driving license issued by a foreign country that is excluded by a decision of the Minister of Interior, then pursuant to the conditions determined by such decision, the applicant may be granted the license without the need to pass the required driving test.

On satisfaction of all the above conditions the Licensing authority shall issue a license which is a granted for a period of 10 years out of which the first 6 months is a probation period during which if a lot of road rules are broken then the person’s license is repudiated for a year after which he/she needs to reapply for the same. In case the applicant is between 17 and 21 years of age the license granted is valid only for a year and is to be renewed every year.

The Licensing authority may ask for a physical fitness examination before renewing the license and may refuse renewal if they find that the person is not fit to drive on the road due to some physical disorder.
A penalty of a maximum imprisonment term of a period of 3 months or/and a fine of a minimum amount of Five Thousand Dirhams (AED 5000) for a person who is driving without a valid driving license or for driving a vehicle not approved by the license held by such a person.

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For legal advice regarding the subject, please call +971 4 4221944, or call 800-LAWYER (529937).


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