How To Get a Driving License in Abu Dhabi

  • ITA by ITA
  • 1 year ago
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To obtain a driver’s license in the United Arab Emirates, both citizens and residents must follow a specific process. They need to apply at a registered driving institute in the respective emirate, enroll in driver’s education classes, and successfully pass all relevant exams.

Once the necessary training and examinations are completed, individuals from various nationalities including citizens, GCC nationals, and others can apply for a new driver’s license that is valid for two years. To gain more detailed information about obtaining a driving license specifically in Abu Dhabi, one can refer to an article providing a comprehensive guide on this topic.

Abu Dhabi driving overview

Driving in Abu Dhabi, like the rest of the United Arab Emirates, is generally smooth due to well-maintained roads. However, it’s important to be aware of high-speed drivers on the freeways and the occasional presence of livestock on rural roads. Keep in mind that driving is done on the right side of the road, and it is advisable to avoid the left lane if you are not comfortable driving at higher speeds. Always carry your driver’s license, Emirates ID, and vehicle registration for legal purposes.

To ensure safety, it is crucial to drive responsibly, adhere to speed limits, and stay alert for unpredictable or reckless drivers. The overall road rules in Abu Dhabi are similar to those in many Western countries.

Regarding Abu Dhabi citizenship, the process is not directly related to obtaining a driver’s license. Citizenship applications are governed by specific laws and regulations, and the requirements and procedures can vary. It is advisable to consult official government sources or seek legal advice for accurate information on registering for Abu Dhabi citizenship.

Valid UAE driver’s license

To legally drive in the United Arab Emirates, the minimum age is 18, while the minimum rental car age is 21. The process of obtaining a driver’s license in the UAE depends on the country of origin of your passport. Holders of passports from certain countries can exchange their valid driver’s license for a UAE license. However, foreign nationals with passports from countries other than the UAE need to go through the process of obtaining a new driver’s license.

Additionally, it is important to stay updated on passport renewal requirements. For example, Philippine passport holders can benefit from passport renewal services available in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for their convenience. It is recommended to follow the official guidelines and procedures for passport renewal to ensure a smooth process.

Using a foreign driver’s license in Abu Dhabi

Tourists with valid driver’s licenses from certain countries, including the United States, are allowed to use their licenses when driving in the UAE. However, some car rental agencies may require an International Driving Permit (IDP), so it’s advisable to check with the rental agency beforehand. To drive legally in the UAE or Abu Dhabi, residents need to obtain an Emirati driver’s license in addition to their Emirates ID.

Abu Dhabi driving license requirements

New applicants for a driver’s license in Abu Dhabi will need to have the following items:

  1. Eye Test: A valid eye test result to ensure visual acuity meets the required standards.
  2. Passport Size Photo: A recent passport-sized photograph for identification purposes.
  3. Passport or Passport Copy: The original passport or a copy of the passport for verification of identity and nationality.
  4. Visa or Visa Copy: The original visa or a copy of the visa, depending on the applicant’s residency status.
  5. No Objection Certificate (NOC): A No Objection Certificate from the employer, if required, to authorize the applicant’s license application.
  6. Emirates ID: The Emirates ID card, which serves as an identification document for residents in the United Arab Emirates.

How to Get a Driver’s License in Abu Dhabi?

It is important to note that the information provided is accurate as of February 2021 and may be subject to change. To apply for a driver’s license in Abu Dhabi, the following steps are generally followed:

  1. Complete an eye test: Visit an authorized optical center to undergo an eye test and obtain a valid eye test result.
  2. Gather necessary documents: Collect the required documents, including a passport-sized photo, original passport or passport copy, visa or visa copy, No Objection Certificate (if applicable), and Emirates ID.
  3. Attend a driving school: Enroll in a driving school approved by the Emirates Driving Company (EDC) to complete the required training and theory classes.
  4. Theory test: Take the theory test at an EDC center. The test evaluates knowledge of traffic rules, signs, and driving regulations.
  5. Practical training: Undergo practical training sessions with a qualified instructor to learn driving skills and gain experience on the road.
  6. Final road test: Schedule and pass the final road test conducted by the EDC to assess driving proficiency and adherence to traffic regulations.
  7. Obtain the driver’s license: If successful in the final road test, submit the necessary documents and fees to the relevant authorities to receive your Abu Dhabi driver’s license.

It is recommended to verify the current application process and requirements with reliable sources, such as official government websites or driving authorities, as procedures may have changed since February 2021.

1- Eye Test: The first step to getting an Abu Dhabi driving license

In Abu Dhabi, obtaining a valid eye exam is a crucial step in the driver’s license application process. There are two recognized testing centers for this purpose: Yateem Opticals and Al Jaber Opticals. You can visit the one that is most convenient for you and inform the cashier that you need an eye exam for a driver’s license application.

To apply for a new license, you will need to provide 100 AED and your Emirates ID. For license renewal, you will need to present your current and old ID. It is important to note that these requirements are subject to change, so it is advisable to verify the latest information from reliable sources or government websites. Additionally, there are several medical test centers in Abu Dhabi that cater to visa requirements.

Price and validity of the eye test

When you’re finished, the staff will enter your data into the system. For your records, you will be sent a receipt as an invoice and nothing more. It takes roughly ten to fifteen minutes to complete.

The Emirates Driving Company in Mussafah, building 3, also functions as an eye testing facility. There is a possibility that a commercial corporation rather than the government owns the eye exam, but we cannot confirm this. The doors open at 8 AM, and the fee to take the exam is 100 AED. The validity of the eye exam is for six months.

2. Visit a Typing Center: Second step to getting an Abu Dhabi driving license

To open a police and traffic file, you will need to personally visit the Emirates Driving Company location in Mussafah. If your eye exam is still valid, you can visit any typing facility to complete the registration process, which will remain active for six months.

If your mobile phone number needs to be updated in the database, you can do so through the ICA portal or seek assistance at a typing center. The cost for changing your mobile number is 105 AED. Additionally, a fee of 300 AED is required for registering a traffic file.

For convenience, there is a typing facility located on the first floor of the EDC complex, which is accessible to all visitors. Remember to have your eye exam done and gather all the necessary documents before visiting the typing facility.

3. Theory Class Registration: Third Step for Abu Dhabi driving license

After successfully creating your traffic file, you will receive three notifications from UAE TRAFFIC. The third notification is particularly important as it contains your unique traffic and file number.

The process of completing the theoretical lesson for obtaining a driver’s license typically takes 5 to 8 days. However, it has been updated to a single daily session lasting two hours. This condensed format allows for more efficient completion of the theoretical training, and participants will receive a book to study during the course.

When signing up for a theory course, you may do one of two things:

A. Onsite Registration

To attend your theory lesson at the Emirates Driving Company, it is necessary to visit their main building in person and make the payment in cash. You will receive notifications regarding the time and dates of tests and assignments. Additionally, a Vehicle book of your choice will be sent to you.

For making cash payments or any other financial transactions during the process, you can visit one of the top banks in Abu Dhabi to conveniently handle your payments.

B. Online Registration

The Emirates Driving Academy offers an innovative online theory course, allowing you to conveniently learn at your own pace. If you already have your traffic record, you can simply pay for the theory class and access the course whenever it suits you. Additionally, a PDF book will be provided to support your learning.

To schedule your test with Emirates Driving Business, you can easily send an email when you are ready to take it. The examination will be conducted at your local testing facility, providing a convenient and accessible testing environment.

4- Theory Test: Forth step to getting an Abu Dhabi driving license

Once you have completed your theory course, you can schedule the Theory Exam either at the front desk of the Emirates Driving Academy or by sending an email to This applies to both the in-person theory course and the online course.

The Theory Exam will take place in Building 1 of the Emirates Driving Academy.

5. Practical Class: Fifth step to getting an Abu Dhabi driving license

Once you have successfully passed the Theory Exam, you can visit the service center to register for the practical driving classes. Payment for the practical classes is required in advance, and scheduling can be done through email communication.

The practical driving course is available in two options: a standard 16-day class and a VIP 5-day class. The fees for the course are 3,050 AED. Access to the hands-on training sessions is provided in the first classroom building.

Please note that availability and scheduling may vary, and it is recommended to confirm the details with the Emirates Driving Academy for the most up-to-date information.

6. Parking Test: practical test to get an Abu Dhabi driving license

Once you have completed your hands-on training, you can schedule an appointment for your parking test. If you meet the requirements for the parking exam, you will receive a recommendation slip. In case you need additional training, you will be advised accordingly. You will have another opportunity to practice and prepare for the parking test. Once you are ready for your road test, you will receive instructions on how to proceed.

It is important to follow the guidance and instructions provided by the Emirates Driving Academy for a smooth and successful completion of your driving tests.

7. Road Test Registration to get an Abu Dhabi driving license

After successfully completing the parking test, the examiner will inform you of your success. In the designated waiting area for the parking test, there will be a sign with instructions on how to register for the road test and road training. It is important to carefully follow these instructions to proceed with the next steps in obtaining your driver’s license.

8. Road Training to get an Abu Dhabi driving license

Before starting your road training, it is essential to download the Abu Dhabi Police App and schedule a “Road Test” Try Date. This can be done through the app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices. To obtain an application and training ID, you will need to pay 100 AED (about USD 115), as well as an additional 115 AED (about USD 2.50). The app will also provide you with a digital ID.

To work with legitimate trainers, you must have a training ID. The training sessions, which last for one and a half hours, will cost you 150 AED. All training takes place in the Mussafah region, where Emirates Driving School is located.

Upon completion of your program, your instructor will issue you a completion certificate.

9. Road Test to getting Abu Dhabi driving license

On the day of your road test, you need to check in at the typing center in Building #1 of the Emirates Driving Company. A payment of 230 AED is required for participation. After registration, you will be assigned a bus number, and the buses will be waiting outside Building #2. The bus driver will verify your Emirates ID using a scanner before boarding.

The first test is scheduled for 7:45 AM, and you should arrive at the registration desk in Building #1 by 7:25 AM. The center opens at 7:30 AM, so there is no need to arrive too early. The test typically begins around 8:10 AM. Please ensure you have your valid Emirates ID with you for verification.

What’s the difference between onsite and online theory registration?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both options for taking the theory lesson. At the Emirates Driving Company, you need to visit the center in person, wait in line, and inquire about the next available session. On the other hand, the online theory course allows you to complete everything from home, including registration, payment, and attending lessons. However, theory exams still need to be taken in person. To reserve a spot in a course or register for the test, email communication is required.

The Practical Driving Course: What to Expect?

This particular section is exclusively for participants enrolled in the 8-Day practical classes. The courses generally follow a similar structure, where successful completion of one level is required to progress to the next.

Day 1: Learning about the components of cars

During the initial driving lessons, the instructor will introduce you to the various components of the vehicle and explain the necessary pre-driving procedures. You will then learn the fundamentals of straight-line driving, both forward and in reverse. In the subsequent lesson, you will focus on maneuvering the vehicle in figure 8 and square patterns.

Day 2:  forward and backward zigzag practice

On the second day of driving lessons, you will practice forward and backward zigzag maneuvers. Following that, you will revisit the square driving exercises. The second lesson will focus on parking techniques and mastering U-turns.

Day 3:  90-degree angle parking practice

On the third day of driving lessons, you will learn how to park at a 90-degree angle and practice backing up techniques. The second session will involve a behind-the-wheel test drive with an instructor in the driving school’s enclosed, miniature driving area. This allows for a controlled environment to assess your driving skills.

Day 4: First driving lesson with an instructor

On the fourth day of driving lessons, you will have your first driving lesson with an instructor at the Emirates Driving Company’s indoor driving range. In the second session at Tower 2, you will drive without a guide, focusing on braking techniques.

After the first session, the instructor will provide you with a recommendation paper and direct you to the front desk for further instructions. At the information desk, you can inquire about the need for a parking exam or any additional training requirements.

Day 5: Driving Simulator

On the fifth day of your driving lessons, you will have two sessions on the driving simulator. The first session will simulate driving in the daytime, while the second session will simulate driving in rainy nighttime conditions. This will provide you with valuable experience and practice in handling different driving scenarios.

Day 6:  parallel park practice

On Day 6 of your driving lessons, your first session will involve practicing right turns, 90-degree turns, and parallel parking at Tower-3. In the second session, you will continue your practice in the simulation room, which allows for a controlled and realistic driving experience.

Day 7: Meeting at Tower-3

On the seventh day of your driving lessons, you will have one session at Tower-3. During this session, you will practice making left turns, 90-degree parking, and parallel driving. It’s an opportunity to refine your skills in these specific maneuvers.

Day 8: Final driving class

On the final day of your driving lessons, Day 8, you will have two solo sessions in the practice area. During these sessions, you will have the opportunity to drive on your own without any passengers or use of the pedals except for the brake. It’s a chance to demonstrate your driving skills and gain confidence behind the wheel.

Abu Dhabi Driving License Tests

To obtain an Abu Dhabi driver’s license, you will need to successfully complete three separate exams or tests:

  1. Theory Exam: This exam assesses your knowledge of traffic rules, regulations, and road signs. It is conducted in person and covers various topics related to driving safety and regulations.
  2. Parking Test: The parking test evaluates your ability to park a vehicle accurately and safely. It assesses skills such as parallel parking, 90-degree parking, and parking on a slope.
  3. Road Test: The road test is the final exam that tests your practical driving skills. You will be evaluated on your ability to handle the vehicle, follow traffic rules, and demonstrate safe driving practices on actual roads.

These exams are designed to ensure that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to drive safely and responsibly on Abu Dhabi roads.

1- Abu Dhabi Driving License Theory Test

The Abu Dhabi Driving Theory Exam consists of 45 questions that must be answered within a time limit of 35 minutes. To pass the exam, you need to score at least 36 out of 45. It is essential to bring your booking confirmation and a valid Emirates ID when taking the exam. In the event that you do not pass, you will need to pay again and retake the theory class before attempting the exam again.

2- Abu Dhabi Driving License Parking Test

To pass the parking exam in Abu Dhabi, you need to demonstrate competence in two different parking techniques. Before the actual exam, there will be a one-hour review session. It is important to leave personal belongings in the waiting area before entering the testing room.

The parking exam is designed to be easy and short. Test takers will be called together, and instructions will be provided on what to do. The mirrors and seat will already be adjusted. Simply get into the vehicle, fasten your seatbelt, start the engine, and perform the required parking maneuvers.

3- Abu Dhabi Driving License Road Test

During the parking exam in Abu Dhabi, students are lined up in the correct order using a computerized schedule. A display above the driver’s head shows the next driver and the current driver. Once police officers have ridden in the self-driving vehicle, the test begins.

The test starts in the parking lot next to Building #2, and the first driver must leave the parking lot and follow the police officer’s directions. The officer evaluates the driver’s confidence, adherence to traffic laws, and safe driving practices. The test duration is typically between 2 and 5 minutes.

After the test, drivers are instructed to exit the car and can either return to the bus and wait or go home.

How to get an Abu Dhabi driver’s license after passing the road test?

To obtain your driver’s license in Abu Dhabi after completing the road test, you can use the Abu Dhabi Police Mobile App. Look for the “Issue Driving License” option, which may require some searching within the app.

To get your license, upload a photo and make a payment of 300 AED plus 15 AED for shipping. If you pay online, you will receive your digital license immediately. If you choose to pay by check, your physical license will be delivered by mail within a few days.

Once your payment is processed, you will receive an SMS with your final score after 9 AM. It’s important to note that a digital license is valid for 14 days, after which a plastic card will be required.

Tips to know for getting a driver’s license in Abu Dhabi

To obtain your driver’s license in Abu Dhabi, follow these instructions:

  1. Complete the required theory course and pass the theory exam.
  2. Take the eye test at a recognized testing center and obtain a valid eye test report.
  3. Visit the Emirates Driving Company in Mussafah to open a police and traffic file.
  4. Attend the practical driving classes and complete the required training sessions.
  5. Schedule and pass the parking test.
  6. Register for the road test through the Abu Dhabi Police App or by contacting the Emirates Driving Company.
  7. Take the road test at the designated location and follow the instructions of the examiner.
  8. After successfully passing the road test, use the Abu Dhabi Police Mobile App to apply for your driver’s license.
  9. Upload a photo, make the required payment, and choose between a digital or physical license.
  10. Receive your license digitally or by mail, depending on your chosen option.

Remember to follow all the necessary steps and meet the requirements to ensure a smooth process in obtaining your driver’s license in Abu Dhabi.

Learn the Roads and Traffic Rules of Abu Dhabi

When preparing for the driving test in the United Arab Emirates, it is important to familiarize yourself with the country’s driving regulations beyond what is covered in the theory exam. While the theory exam provides a foundation, studying additional resources, such as the official handbook and online materials, can help you gain a comprehensive understanding of the driving regulations.

By dedicating time to studying and reviewing the rules of the road, traffic signs, and safe driving practices, you can enhance your knowledge and increase your chances of passing the driving test successfully. Utilizing the available resources will enable you to feel more confident and prepared for the practical aspects of driving in the United Arab Emirates.

Write down whatever your teacher says

To enhance your preparation for the driving test, it is beneficial to start taking driving lessons a few weeks prior to the exam. Your assigned driving teacher will guide you through the learning process, helping you identify areas for improvement and fine-tuning your driving skills.

Keeping a notebook to record your thoughts and take note of areas to focus on during each training session can be highly beneficial. This allows for better monitoring of your progress and enables you to address specific areas that need improvement.

By actively engaging in driving lessons and taking notes, you can maximize your learning and development, increasing your chances of success in the final driving test.

Know the test routes for getting an Abu Dhabi driver’s license

To increase your chances of success in the driving test, it is recommended to practice driving on the commonly used test routes near the testing center or driving school. Familiarizing yourself with these routes will allow you to become more comfortable with the roads and potential challenges you may encounter during the actual exam.

By knowing the routes around the driving school or test center like the back of your hand, you can anticipate turns, intersections, and other elements specific to those routes. This level of familiarity can help boost your confidence and ensure smoother performance during the driving test.

Remember, practicing on the actual test routes is not a guarantee of specific questions or situations on the exam, but it can contribute to better preparedness and overall performance on the test day.

Learn the Most Frequent Causes of Job Seeker Failure

To increase your chances of success in the Abu Dhabi driving test, it is important to be aware of the common reasons why people fail. One common mistake is driving too slowly or too quickly, as it is crucial to maintain an appropriate speed during the test. Another common error is forgetting to check if all passengers are wearing seatbelts, which is an important safety requirement.

Examiners may also test applicants’ judgment by placing them in situations where they need to perform U-turns or change lanes in the presence of oncoming traffic or contrary road signs. Being attentive, following traffic rules, and making safe decisions are essential during the test.

By understanding these common mistakes and focusing on avoiding them, you can improve your performance and increase your chances of passing the Abu Dhabi driving test.

Practice your confidence and courtesy

Lack of self-assurance can significantly impact a driver’s performance during the Abu Dhabi driving test. Test anxiety and fear of failing can lead to decreased attention and increased mistakes. An anxious driver may be more prone to ignoring traffic signals and neglecting important precautions like checking blind spots before changing lanes or making turns.

Building self-assurance is crucial for a successful driving test. It is recommended to dress appropriately and behave courteously to make a positive impression on the examiner. Avoid wearing sunglasses during the exam, especially if it is conducted outdoors, as clear visibility is essential for safe driving.

By building confidence and maintaining focus, drivers can overcome test anxiety and perform at their best during the Abu Dhabi driving test.

Be Ready with Your Paperwork

Before your driving test in Abu Dhabi, make sure you have all the necessary documentation in place and verify the requirements a few days in advance. This includes original identification cards or passports with a valid resident visa, an eye exam report, a temporary driver’s license, a no objection certificate, and the required number of passport-sized photographs.

Stay updated on any travel restrictions or specific guidelines related to your nationality to ensure a smooth process. If you are from Pakistan, consider renewing your passport online before your test.

Arrive at the test location at least 30 minutes early to avoid any delays or rescheduling. Being punctual is essential, so plan your time accordingly. Good luck on your driving test and best wishes for obtaining your driver’s license!

FAQ about getting Abu Dhabi driving license

So let’s address some of the most common questions.

I have an international license; will it be valid in Abu Dhabi?

For residents in Abu Dhabi, a foreign driver’s license is not considered valid. If you are a resident, you will need to obtain a local driver’s license to legally drive in the country. However, if you are visiting Abu Dhabi for a short period of time, you can use your international driver’s license to drive during your stay. It’s important to check the specific regulations and requirements regarding driving with an international license in Abu Dhabi based on your individual circumstances.

If a person already has driving experience, how many hours of instruction would they need?

Regardless of your previous driving experience in your home country, if you are planning to obtain a driver’s license in Abu Dhabi, you will need to enroll in driver’s education. The required number of hours for training will vary based on the duration of your driving experience:

  • More than five years: Minimum of 10 hours, maximum of 20 hours.
  • Two to five years: Minimum of 15 hours, maximum of 30 hours.
  • Less than two years: Minimum of 20 hours, maximum of 40 hours.

These training hours are designed to ensure that you are familiar with the local traffic rules, regulations, and driving conditions specific to Abu Dhabi.

For how long do you anticipate this taking place?

If you have all the necessary paperwork in order, the process of obtaining a driver’s license in Abu Dhabi typically takes a few weeks. The overall cost, including the service facility fees and the eye test, is estimated to be around AED 1,000. However, it’s important to note that the exact cost may vary depending on individual circumstances and any additional requirements or fees that may apply.

How much is a license exchange (without the optometry test)?

The cost breakdown for obtaining a driver’s license in Abu Dhabi typically includes a fee of 200 AED for opening a file, 600 AED for issuing the license, and an additional 50 AED for the handbook manual. It’s important to note that these fees are subject to change and may vary depending on specific circumstances and any updates to the licensing process.

Do I need to swap my license if I am from a GCC country, or can I use it as is in Dubai?

GCC citizens visiting the UAE can use their home country’s driver’s license during their stay. However, if they plan to reside and work in the UAE, they will need to obtain an Emirati driver’s license. It is important to familiarize oneself with the specific rules and regulations regarding driving licenses for GCC citizens in the UAE to ensure compliance with the country’s laws.


Whether you want to spend a short amount of time or make Dubai your permanent home, you will need a valid driver’s license. To help you get your driver’s license in Dubai, we have included a guide to getting a driving license in Abu Dhabi.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as you well know, are two of the world’s top destinations and cities. To call the United Arab Emirates home is a dream for many people.

Iland Company is the place to go if you’re in this group and you’re interested in buying a home in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. With such a stellar track record, you can be certain that you’ll be in good hands when working with this firm to purchase property in Abu Dhabi.

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