As soon as you have your residency visa in your passport you can apply for an Abu Dhabi driving license and/or motorcycle license.
You do not need to exchange (give up) your current foreign license, you will simply transfer your existing license accreditation (including any restrictions such as wearing glasses) and be issued a new UAE version.
Time License, Lessons and Test Requirements
Click here for more info how to get a first time driving license - how to book your lessons and what is required to complete your Abu Dhabi driving test.
Automatic License transfer is available for licenses issued from the following accredited countries:
UK, USA, France, Japan Germany, Italy, Belgian, Holland,
Switzerland, Denmark, Greece, Spain, Sweden, Austria, Ireland, Norway,
Turkey, Canada, Poland*,Korea (South)*, Finland, South Africa,
Australia, New Zealand.
It is possible to get an interim or temporary license while your residency visa application process is underway, however you will probably find that it is easier to wait and get the real thing, once your visa is stamped in your passport.
Most visa applications are completed in a week or two and your driving license should be issued on the same day you apply, so you will only be stuck using taxi’s or hire cars for a couple of weeks.
Simply attend the Traffic and Licensing Department (click here for directions) with your required documents,
25 AED for the eye check
200 AED for the license (plus small change for photocopying if needed).
- Your foreign license must be current in order to apply for an Abu Dhabi one
- You must have valid residency in Abu Dhabi
- The named holder of the foreign license must also be a national of the issuing country
- If you already have a UAE license from a different emirate, you must complete a different process, see the govt portal for more info
When you arrive, if you are on a visit visa you can hire a car using your local license (so long as its been held for over a year).
However if you wish to hire a car instead of purchasing one and have a residency visa, you must have transferred your foreign license to an Abu Dhabi driving license.
You cannot drive a hire car on an international license once you are offically resident, it must be an Abu Dhabi License.