How can I convert my license to a UAE license? Is my home country license convertible?

dubai_carIf you have just moved to Dubai and are lucky enough to already have a car driving license and even luckier to have obtained a license from one of the selected few countries mentioned later in this post, you have just saved yourself a whole lot of effort, time and money!

Dubai is an interesting place with interesting rules. It is never a simple yes or no answer to a posed question, ‘Are you completely sure you are ready enough to pass your driving test in one round, or two rounds, or three rounds?’ The answer to this highly depends on various factors, usually immeasurable, such as luck, examiner’s mood, your confidence, etc. Be wary of the fact that learning driving and obtaining a license in Dubai is getting trickier and expensive day by day. I have known friends who have spent thousands of Dirhams just to get their driving permits even though they have had years and years of prior car driving experience in their respective countries. Not all licenses are convertible of course! Some are and some are not. Convertible license is definitely a global phenomenon and Dubai has its own list of countries and rules on this subject. If you are a resident of, AND have a license from one of the following countries, you are right away exempted from the rigorous process of taking a set number of driving lessons or appearing for various tests – it doesn’t even matter if you had never driven on the other side of the vehicle whereas you will be now! The list of such countries allowing for this exemption is as below:














South Korea



New Zealand







Saudi Arabia

South Africa





United Kingdom

United States

All you have to do is submit a few documents and pay a small amount of fees, and you have got your permit sorted out!

Note that however if you own a permanent car driving license from one of the aforementioned countries but are not a resident, or in other words do not have that country’s passport, unfortunately your license is NOT convertible. It might have taken you by surprise, but it is true that you would still have to give the final road test despite no clear evidence of you, as a non-resident, being a better or worse driver than a resident holding the same driving license as yours. On a positive note, you will however be exempt from taking any lessons or parking test or a signal test. All you have to do is go for a few theory lessons, give you theory test and go directly for a final road test if you wish. You definitely do see at least some of the benefits of holding an international license, albeit non-convertible.

Whatever the rules are, it is nonetheless always beneficial to take a few lessons if you are driving in a new environment with different roads, rules and regulations.

The story on the other hand does not end here. Whether you have obtained a license through convertible or non-convertible means, you cannot in any way whatsoever, as exciting as it may sound, start driving right away. Insurance is a crucial aspect that needs to be taken care of before you get on the road. Third party liability insurance is mandatory whereby you take out cover for any damages or injuries to a third party to which you are liable. Comprehensive car insurance, on the other hand, as the name suggests, is fairly comprehensive and in a nutshell, covers for any loss or damage to you or your car as a result of an accident. Again, if you are lucky enough to have the privilege of a convertible license, you can also occasionally avail insurance related advantages. For more information on that, feel free to base touch with me and I’ll unveil what your personal shoppers have in store for you!

Alfred is the insurance genius behind and its wonderful insurance personal shopper services. With us you don’t only find the best insurance deals in the UAE, you are also protected by a sound knowledge-based infrastructure and over seventeen years worth of experience in the insurance industry.

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