UAE: How to apply for international driving licence; fees, process explained

Permit allows motorists to legally drive their vehicles outside the Emirates without further tests and applications


Ajanta Paul

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Published: Sun 12 May 2024, 8:13 AM

Last updated: Sun 12 May 2024, 10:13 PM

Are you dreaming of a cross-border road trip with your family? Or perhaps considering renting a car for your upcoming work trip? Whether it's business or pleasure, most countries require visitors to have an International Driving License (IDL) to drive.

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Obtaining an IDL is indispensable for UAE citizens and residents planning to drive abroad. This permit, aligned with a United Nations convention, is a legal requirement.

Visitors planning to drive in the UAE must also obtain an IDP in their home country or country of residence before travelling. Details here.

Importance of international permit

  • The permit allows motorists to legally drive their vehicles outside the UAE without further tests and applications.
  • It is a translation of your local driving license.
  • Valid for one year, the International Driving License confirms the validity of your driver's license in your home country.
  • Provides protection in case of accidental vehicle damage or loss of legal identification, such as a passport while abroad.
  • Recognised globally, it is available in 10 languages to overcome language barriers.
  • Facilitates communication with law enforcement and authorities in other countries by presenting your license in their language.

How to obtain IDL

Obtaining an IDL is an easy process and can be done through several different portals:

  • Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) website
  • Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE), which has offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Sharjah, RAK, Ajman, Fujairah, Um Al Quwain and the Western Region.
  • Affiliate members of ATCUAE
  • Ministry of Interior through the MOI UAE app available on iTunes and Google Play.
  • Emirates Post offices
  • Dnata office, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai

Required documents:

  • IDL form
  • Passport, valid residency & Emirates ID
  • Copy of valid UAE license
  • Two passport photos

Fees and process time:

As per the RTA website, obtaining an IDL will cost you Dh177, plus Dh20 Knowledge and Innovation fees.

Online applications are completed within three working days of receipt, so allow for five working days for all online applications to be delivered to your requested address. Over-the-counter applications can be completed within half an hour.

Procedure through RTA website:

  • The customer applies for the service through RTA website.
  • The system verifies the customer’s identity by sending an OTP to the phone number registered in the system.
  • The customer settles the required fees.
  • The customer receives an SMS within 2 working days with a link to display the digital international driving licence, until he receives the original copy of the new licence.
  • The customer receives the original copy of the new licence through 2 channels:
  1. Customer Happiness Centre Deira or Al Barsha
  2. Courier company with additional charges:

Normal delivery charges: Dh20

Same day delivery: Dh35

Delivery within 2 hours: Dh50

International delivery: Dh50

Things to remember:

  • You must get an IDL prior to your travel
  • Motorists can drive in more than one country with the same international licence
  • It is important to note that IDL is valid only for one year and needs to be renewed after expiry.

The IDL is different from your driving permit in the UAE; in the Emirates, you must have a valid local licence.

Also, refer to the website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to check which countries exchange a valid UAE driving licence. The website of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE website lists 174 countries that require an IDP.


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