Acquiring a driver’s license certainly does not come cheap in Dubai. This is a major expense that new drivers have to deal with, even before they factor in the price of a car, its registration and car insurance.

Getting a driver’s license in Dubai can easily set you back between AED 5,000 and AED 10,000, if not more. Also, each failed exam translates to stretching your budget further.

In the grand scheme of things, it pays to do your research since all driving schools usually have some ongoing promotions, corporate discounts, student discounts, loyalty programs, discounts on group buying websites and even offer interest-free instalments in association with select banks.  

RTA Guidelines For Driving License In Dubai

The Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai mandates a minimum 20 hours of behind-the-wheel training before taking a driving test , 15 hours minimum for individuals holding a 2 to 5 years old valid driving license in home country and 10 hours minimum for those holding a valid driving license that is more than 5 years old. The individuals with an existing license have to appear for an additional Evaluation Test which allows assessment of their driving skills.

In Dubai, an individual can apply for a light motor vehicle or LMV driver’s license and start training at 17 years and 6 months of age. The license, however, is only issued once the applicant turns 18.

RTA also allows for transfer of existing driver’s license, without having to take training or driving test in Dubai. This is possible for individuals who hold a valid UAE residence visa, and are a citizen of one of the following countries.

AustraliaAustriaBahrainBelgiumCanada
ChinaDenmarkFinlandFranceGermany
GreeceHong KongIrelandItalyJapan
KuwaitLatviaLithuaniaLuxembourgNetherlands
New ZealandNorwayOmanPolandPortugal
QatarRomaniaSaudi ArabiaSerbiaSingapore
SlovakiaSouth AfricaSouth KoreaSpainSweden
SwitzerlandTurkeyUnited KingdomUnited States

General Outline of the Driver’s School Program

A driver’s license in Dubai is issued on successful completion of all of the following stages of the curriculum.

  1. 8 mandatory theory lectures
  2. Theory test training
  3. Theory test
  4. Evaluation test (only for home country license holders)
  5. Practical training
  6. Internal yard test
  7. Assessment test
  8. Final road test

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Top Driving Schools in Dubai

We review the 6 top-rated, RTA authorized driving schools in Dubai.

  1. Emirates Driving Institute EDI prides itself on being the oldest, largest and the most successful driving school in Dubai. Since its inception in 1991, Emirates Driving Institute has trained and helped over 500,000 students acquire a driving license. They offer license acquisition training courses for a variety of vehicles like motorcycles, LMVs, forklifts, shovels, trucks and buses. For the convenience of their students, EDI offers free shuttle bus service for transport to and from the branches as well as free pick-up and drop-off in training vehicle for students residing within a 10 km radius of the branch.
  2. Belhasa Driving CenterBelhasa Driving Centre was founded in 2001 and currently operates a fleet of over 700 light and heavy training vehicles. Till this day, they have helped thousands of students acquire driving license with ease and convenience. For a small one-time payment of AED 15, registered students can obtain a bus card and take advantage of their transport services for travel to and from their branches.
  3. Galadari Motor Driving Center Galadari Motor Driving Centre first opened its doors in 2004, and since then, has helped over 350,000 students successfully obtain driver’s license for a range of vehicles in Dubai. In their years of service, they have been privileged to hold the record for the highest average of students clearing the final road test in the first attempt. GMDC offers transportation service for registered students at a small charge of AED 20 per day.
  4. Dubai Driving Center Dubai Driving Center was established in 2003 with an aim to promote save driving through professional training in the Emirate. They strive to deliver the highest standards of international driver training to the residents through a variety of UAE specific driving courses.
  5. Al Ahli Driving Center Al Ahli Driving Center has been working towards its goal of providing international level driver’s training and educating students on the latest driving techniques since 2006. Presently, they manage 18 branches across Dubai and continue to drive their expansion in the region.
  6. DriveDubai DriveDubai is an associate company of Emirates Driving Institute that opened its doors on 12/12/12. Since forming a partnership with Belhasa International group, DriveDubai has successfully positioned itself as one of the leading training centers in Dubai.

Driving School Cost Comparison

Following is an in-depth analysis of the cost of training programs at the 6 leading driving schools in Dubai.

It should be noted that these are the prices for regular driving courses for LMVs. Prices for night shifts, Friday classes, VIP packages, shifting as well as other vehicles vary.

Price for 20 hours includes registration fee, learning permit, driver’s handbook, eye test, theory training sessions, theory test, practical training, internal yard test, assessment, final road test and license issuance provided everything is cleared in the first attempt. Price for 15 hours and 10 hours package includes evaluation fee in addition to all of the above.

The final road test retake fee includes the price for 4 hours of additional training, RTA fee and extension fee, if applicable.

Failing any other test also requires additional hours of training as well as payment of re-take fee but the number of classes required and the exact fee, to some extent, depends on individual performance.

All prices mentioned are in AED and inclusive of 5% VAT.

Driving School
20 Hours Practical Training15 Hours Practical Training10 Hours Practical TrainingFinal Test Retake Fee
Emirates Driving Institute
6956.25
6378.75
5696.25
1029
Belhasa Driving Center
6135.75
5640.75
5040.75
838.50
Galadari Motor Driving Center
5134
4819
4294
733
Dubai Driving Center
6011.25
5465.25
4940.25
829.50
Al Ahli Driving Center
5462.50
4875
4297
795.50
DriveDubai6772.506247.505617.50829.50

Documents Required By Dubai Driving Schools

  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of Dubai residence visa
  • Emirates ID in original with a copy of front and back
  • Up to 5 passport sized photographs
  • Eye test certification from a registered optical center (if not performed at the driving institute)
  • NOC from sponsor (if sponsor is an individual, then copy of his passport and visa)
  • For individuals carrying a valid home country license more than 2 years old, copy of the license as well as the license in original
  • For individuals holding a valid GCC driving license, copy of the license as well as the license in original
  • Some driving institutes also require an affidavit from consulate stating you have a valid driving license from that country (If the license is a computerized card in English, an affidavit is not required)

Additional documents required under specific circumstances:

  • For female students who wish to be trained by a male instructor, NOC from the parent/ guardian/ husband as well a copy of their passport and visa
  • For individuals carrying a visa other than that of Dubai, trade license copies of both Dubai and visa owned emirate in addition to NOC from the Dubai branch stating that the applicant is currently working at the Dubai branch.

Key Points to Note

  • Only UAE nationals and expats holding a valid Dubai residence visa can apply for a license in the emirate of Dubai.
  • An applicant has to specify manual or automatic transmission vehicle training at the time of application. Individuals carrying an automatic transmission license are not eligible to drive a manual vehicle.
  • There is an additional charge for female students who require training by a male instructor.
  • Students registering for 10 and 15 hours of training are required to undergo an Evaluation Test to confirm their driving skill level.
  • While the prices mentioned above include the cost the eye test, it is possible to forgo the test at the driving school and opt for one at an RTA and DHA approved and licensed eye testing center instead. The eye test certification will be transferred digitally to your driving school.
  • Validity of the learner’s permits is 3 months from the date of issuance.
  • Validity of RTA file is 6 months from the date of appearing for the final road test.
  • GCC license holders as well as Emirates Airlines and Fly Dubai pilots and cabin crew holding a valid home country driver’s license can directly take the RTA theory and yard test, after successful completion and passing of which, they can appear for the RTA final road test.

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Disclaimer: Every attempt has been made to ensure the information contained in this article is true, accurate and obtained from reliable sources. This article is based on information available at the time of research on January 22, 2019.