Until recently, most expats living in the United Arab Emirates have had to obtain UAE driving licences or rely on public transport. Even if an expat had a valid driving licence in their country of origin, they were unable to use it in the UAE. Only licences from a small list of other nations (including the UK and the USA) were recognised in the UAE. Now, however, the Emirates’ authorities are relaxing the rules regarding expats’ driving licences. They have recently added 13 new countries to the list of nations whose driving licenses are valid in the UAE. If you’re an expat from one of these 13 countries, you no longer need to worry about obtaining a licence in order to drive in the UAE.
The 13 countries are wildly varied. China is included on the expanded list of nations with UAE-recognised driving licences. This isn’t surprising, considering that it’s one of the most powerful and economically influential countries in the world. Small-yet-wealthy nations have also been included (such as Denmark, Luxembourg and the Netherlands). Nations such as Latvia, Romania and Serbia, which have less economic clout on the global stage, are also represented. If you’re an expat and you’re not sure whether your driving licence is now recognised in the UAE, it’s worth looking up the full list.
But what does this change to the law meant for expats who already hold UAE driving licences? Obviously, their UAE licences will still be recognised, but they will also have the option of using the licence they obtained in their country of origin. This may be significant if they are licenced to drive more vehicles in their home country than in the UAE. For example, if an expat is only licenced to drive automatic cars in the UAE, but they have a licence for automatics and manuals back in their home country, they will now be able to drive manual cars in the UAE, too.
If you’re currently living in the UAE and want to start driving a type of vehicle that you were licenced to drive in your country of origin, we can help. We’re happy to buy any car, so you can sell us your current vehicle to raise money for the one you really want to drive.