Are tourists or visitors allowed to drive Dubai-registered cars?

The rules have changed in recent years so it is no longer the case that someone on a visit visa can only drive a hire car.

I am staying in Dubai with my family and have a visitor visa for three months. My brother is a UAE resident with a residency visa and owns a car. I have a full and valid driver's licence from Canada so is it possible to drive my brother's car with my Canadian lic­ence? Do I have to get some kind of special permission or can I just go ahead? I have been given totally conflicting information and do not want to break the law or invalidate the insurance. SP, Dubai

The rules have changed in recent years so it is no longer the case that someone on a visit visa can only drive a hire car. The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has confirmed that a tourist or visitor can drive a Dubai-registered car in the UAE if they have an international driving licence. This is in respect of visitors who have both a driving licence and a passport from certain countries and this should be all that is required. (These countries include: all the GCC nations, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Germany, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Italy, United Kingdom, Turkey, Greece, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Romania, Poland, Finland, Portugal, Canada, United States, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.) All other nationalities must also obtain an International Driving Permit which is available in a home country or via Emirates Post in the UAE. Note this must be obtained whether specifically requested or not.

The final decision regarding insurance rests with the insurance company so in all cases the owner of the vehicle should check that the insurance company is happy with the situation as it is important to be properly insured. Ideally confirmation should be obtained in writing to avoid any potential problems in the event of a claim.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.

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