Dubai - Changing licence plates would cost a one-time fee of Dh35 for each short plate and Dh50 for each long plate.
In 2004, when Filipino expat Arnel Fernadez bought his first car in Dubai, he did not pay anything for its registration. He had paid renewal fees in the following years but he said the "cost was at least half of what he is paying right now".
It was announced on Thursday that all Dubai-registered vehicles should bear the new number plate design from January 1, 2020. This would mean Fernandez, whose car registration would expire next month, is about to shell out an additional Dh70 (Dh35 each for front and rear) for the plates - on top of the Dh350 renewal fee for a light private vehicle, Dh150 for inspection, Dh20 knowledge and innovation fees, and Dh10 for the car sticker.
Another long-time resident, Andy del Rosario, who bought a sedan during Eid this year, however noted that the cost of registering and licensing a new vehicle in Dubai has been reduced to Dh400 - from the previous fee of Dh460 a couple of years ago.
But his friend, Marge Santos, who bought a second-hand vehicle in January this year, paid more to register her 2014 Toyota Yaris. She shelled out Dh350 for the change in ownership on top of the Dh400 she paid for the vehicle registration.
When she renews her vehicle registration next month, she will have to pay Dh350. She noted renewal cost only Dh300 two years ago. Plus, there is now an inspection charge of Dh170 for any vehicle over three years of age.
Both Del Rosario and Santos have to get new car plates for their respective cars.
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), however, clarified that "the replacement of vehicle plates for individual car owners will be elective" from January 2019 up to January 2020.
Company cars of both government and private institutions, on the other hand, are required to have the new plates by July 2019.
"As of July next year, the RTA will start the mandatory issuance of the new plates to vehicles registered in the name of public and private organisations. In January 2020, the RTA will start the mandatory issuance of plates for vehicles registered in the names of individuals," the authority said in a statement issued last week.
Changing licence plates would cost a one-time fee of Dh35 for each short plate and Dh50 for each long plate.
The regular plate comes in black and white, composed of three elements: the 'Dubai' brand logo, number and code. There is an option to get the coloured Dubai logo for an extra cost of Dh400 per plate. If the motorist already has such plates, the replacement will still be Dh35 for the short one and Dh50 for the long version. The luxurious number plate, which is shorter than the regular one, comes at a cost of Dh500 per plate.
According to the RTA, the introduction of the new generation of vehicle plates is part of its standardisation efforts. The move is also consistent with its preparations for the issuance of dual-code plates, especially as the stock of single-code plates is running low.
The RTA started the gradual issuance of new plates early this year, and no extra cost was applied for the newly registered vehicles. Any new car registration, starting January 2019, will also have the new licence plates.