On the Road Again
Going places? An International Driving License will help get you there. Here’s how to easily get yours in the UAE.
If the COVID-19 era has taught us anything, it might be to fully appreciate our previous ability to jump on a plane and go anywhere. Though we can’t do that right now, what’s to stop us from dreaming about all the trips we’ll take in the near future? It’s a fantastic time to do all your pre-trip homework, and one thing to never forget is your International Driver’s License.
Most would agree that the very best way to see a country is to drive through it. The first step towards a smoother drive in a foreign land is to obtain an International Driving License (IDL). Here’s the lowdown and why, how and where to get your IDL in the UAE.
Do I Need An International Driving Permit?
Your UAE driving license entitles you only to the privilege of driving in this country. If you’d like to drive elsewhere, you will need a universal driving permit. An IDL serves as both a proof of your identity and as recognition that you are a licensed driver in the country of your residence. It sometimes also referred to as an International Driving Permit (IDP). It’s issued by the official licensing organization in your country, is accepted in about 140 countries around the world and is valid for one year from its date of issue.
An IDL does not replace your UAE national driving license; it instead extends your UAE license and permits you to drive abroad. You need to carry both your UAE driving license and your IDL when travelling abroad, as authorities may wish to verify both documents. You will also be asked to show your IDL if you plan to hire a car abroad; it serves as identification just like your passport.
A Holiday Safeguard
An IDL may just prevent you from wrecking your holiday with an unwanted encounter with law enforcement. Countries in Europe and North America have stringent traffic laws, and the last thing you want is to be pulled over by police or fined an exorbitant amount of money for not having followed the laws of the land.
Getting Your IDL in the UAE
Getting your International Driving License couldn’t be easier. Check to see if you require attested copies of any of the below list and don’t forget to bring the original documents. Here is what you need to fill out an IDL application:
- Emirates ID
- Copy of passport
- Copy of your valid driving license
- Copy of valid residence
- A valid visa (UAE visa for expats or foreign visa for UAE citizens)
- A copy of your valid UAE driving license (for UAE citizens)
- Tickets (Proof of travel to a foreign country)
- Two passport-size photos.
Where Do I Go?
There are several ways to apply for an IDL in the UAE both online and in person.
To apply online, visit the IDL portal for the UAE. You will be asked to upload accompanying documents. Online applications usually take five working days to process, and the IDL will be sent to your address.
Alternatively, you can apply through the MOI UAE app available on iTunes and Google Play.
If you prefer in-person, visit any of the following offices:
- Emirates Post Offices
- Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Sharjah, RAK, Ajman, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain and the Western region
- D’nata Travel office on Sheikh Zayed Road
- Road Transit Authority (RTA) offices
Once you arrive, you will be asked to present all the required documentation. Your IDL will be ready within 30 minutes, so you can leave with it on the spot.
The cost of an IDL may vary, but it usually costs between AED170 to AED200, excluding VAT.
Don’t spoil your next overseas jaunt by leaving home without it. Bring your IDL any place you plan to take to the road!
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