Sunday, May 18, 2008

Getting a driving license in Abu Dhabi




If you have a driving license from one of the listed countries like GCC countries, USA and UK, you can directly get a UAE license without further ado - but ONLY if you are also a CITIZEN of one of these countries.

What this means is that an Indian citizen like me, who has a Bahraini driving license (a GCC country), cannot get a driving license straight away - while a Bahraini citizen with the same license can get a UAE license straight away. Kind of ironical, but that's the way it is. Maybe the roads here can make out what passport you hold, so its not safe for you to drive on them if your home country is not the country that issued your driver's license. :-)

Well, rules are rules. So you need to follow them.

If you have a driving license from another country (or if you are not a citizen of one of the privileged countries), you are allowed to appear for a road test straight away after undergoing mandatory 'theory classes' worth Dhs 780 at Emirates Driving Company (EDC) in Musaffah, Abu Dhabi. Before registering for the classes, you need to spend a few hundred dirhams to "open a file" at the Traffic dept, get an eye test, etc. This can be done at EDC or at the Traffic dept.

Once you complete the 4-day theory class, you need to appear for an online exam at EDC and you need to pass the test to get a 'course completion certificate'.

After that you pay 50 Dhs. to get an appointment for a driving test at the Traffic dept. (commonly known as Muroor). On the date of the test you pay Dhs. 40 rent for the car, and get on the car with 2-3 police officers. They are very strict and keep talking to you in a mix of Arabic and Urdu/English while you drive, which is kind of distracting. You basically need to take the car out of the Muroor compound through one gate and get it back in thru the other, but this involves getting on the road, and making a free right at a traffic light or two. The officer may even ask you to drive fast and overtake other cars.

Here are some things I learnt:
1. Dont panic no matter what the officer says. Be cool. (Yes, it is tough!)
2. If you've been driving automatic gear for the better part of your driving experience, apply for an auto gear license instead of manual gear. It really helps you save your time and money.
3. Look in the rear view mirror every 5 seconds for no reason. The guy sitting in the back seat is watching. Make sure you move your head towards the mirror to show him that you're actually looking at it.
4. Try not to overtake, unless the officer shouts at you to overtake. Be careful, and overtake only if its simple to do. Make sure you look in the rear mirror, left mirror, and out the window, again in a way that's evident to them that you're looking.

Unfortunately, I flunked my first attempt. So, off I went to EDC in Musaffah, where I registered for further training.

Part 2: The driving course at EDC


14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,

just wondering if you got any more tips for the driving test as mine is tomorrow.

cheers,
yazza

mahamood said...

my visa is from Dubai so i would like to open file in abu dhabi as i am working in abu dhabi branch.can i open file in abu dhabi?

Shijaz said...

Check with EDC in Musaffah

Anoop said...

Isnt it true that Sharjah takes upto 1.5 years to get near the licence for Indian citizens while whites/previleged country residents gets it in no time?

I havent even "opened file" as they accept Indian file opening only on Sundays!!
Anoop

My Diary said...

@anoop, i dont think there are separate days for each countries

that was a nice post...well i came across yours as i was just browsing the web for something related to road tests ....mine is tomorrow and yes , i flunked the first attempt...so i am practically a nervous wreck....right now.... actually last time there were two officers and they were actually talking to each other most of the time.... the only english i heard was u turn and stop..... i dunno i get nervous when they start blah blah in arabic.... it feels like they are telling me something to do which i by the way cannot understand.... whatever....hope i do this time...did you get your license btw????

premjith said...

My visa is sharja, I am woking in abudhabi.Proffession is marketing specialist. Sponsor is same.Can i open Driving licence file in Abudhabi

Shijaz said...

Hi Premjith,

Just call up Emirates Driving School in Abu Dhabi and ask them - that would be the best way to check, since the rules keep changing.

Shijaz

Shijaz said...

Hi Premjith,

Just call up Emirates Driving School in Abu Dhabi and ask them - that would be the best way to check, since the rules keep changing.

Shijaz

Anonymous said...

Hi Shijaz,

Did you have to get your Indian driving licence translated to Arabic and then attested by the Indian Embassy when you went to open a file or do you just take a normal photo copy?

Cheers,
Arav

Anonymous said...

Hi Shijaz,

Did you have to get your Indian driving licence translated to Arabic and attested by the Indian Embassy before opening the driving file or will a normal photo copy be enough

Cheers,
Arav

Shijaz said...

Hello Arav,

I had a Bahraini driving license, not an Indian one. I didnt have to translated the Bahraini one.

Shijaz

prashant said...

Arav,

Yes, you need to get your Indian licence translated into arabic and then have to get it attested by the Indian Embassy.

Prashant

Rajeev said...

If u r going to EDC always carry plenty of photocopy of passport, Visa copy Emirates ID copy, Most of the photocopiers at EDC r not not working properly,

Anonymous said...

Hi

if you guys really need to get this you need to work hard and think ...while changing lanes and overtaking make sure you check the mirrors and both the rear view and the side mirror.and then when it is clear to change you change Do not change the lane when very near to the vehicle always check the rear view mirror ,side mirror and shoulder to come back to the right lane.

All the best