UAE motorists face fee increases in vehicle registration restructure

Car owners in the UAE will face new fees which could make buying and selling cars more expensive, as a new federally unified fee structure for vehicle registration and testing is introduced across all of the Emirates.

The fees introduced on 1 December by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum will apply federally and replace the piecemeal approach which had existed in the past.

The changes represent a major overhaul of all charges relating to driver licensing, vehicle registration and vehicle testing across the UAE, and will mean a general increase in costs. For example, a Dh100 increase for registration renewal that was Dh250 and is now Dh350. Opening a traffic file will now cost Dh200, an inspection report for a simple accident will now cost Dh500, and renewal of a light vehicle license will cost Dh350.

The sudden move by the federal government is part of a general effort to increase road safety and unify standards across all of the Emirates, with a view to making the UAE one of the safest countries in the world to drive. However, the changes have also caused concern, as some fees have more than doubled, and some fear they will make it harder for ordinary people to buy, sell and own cars.

The group of motorists hit particularly hard are international drivers attempting to convert their licenses for use in the UAE. The single one-off fee has been replaced with a series of smaller fees, including for the conversion cost and a new handbook manual, that has the effect of raising the total cost from Dh400 to Dh870.

This new set of fees is designed to complete the next step on the road to tighter traffic and vehicle regulations in the UAE, and follows the introduction of 17 new articles in July which introduced new motoring offences and made the punishments for some existing offences more severe in order to clamp down on road safety.

The Ministerial Decision No. 30 for 2017 was issued on October 4 to regulate traffic services and safety, and was published in the official federal gazette.