How to renew your car registration in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

As well as renewal and testing fees of about Dh500, drivers can do the process online or get others to do it on their behalf


New toll gates installed on the E10 road in Abu Dhabi.

(Photo: Reem Mohammed/ The National)

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When it comes to your car, one thing you have to do every year is renew your registration. Fortunately, the authorities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have made the process relatively seamless as long as you remember to do it.

A 30-day grace period gives drivers time to renew their registration once it has expired. This allows owners to drive their car to the garage for repairs if it fails its inspection, which is also why insurance policies are 13 months long.

In the past drivers that did not renew their car’s registration after the 30-day grace period were charged a Dh10 fee per month.

But since April 15, people caught driving a car with an expired registration have been hit with a Dh500 fine and four black points when they pass through new toll gates in Abu Dhabi. Cars can be impounded for seven days and some drivers have lost these licences.

To help you prevent this scenario, here is a quick guide to what to expect at your next renewal:

Documents to prepare

First, you need to ensure there are no outstanding fines on the car. If there are any unpaid traffic fines, pay them off through the Dubai or Abu Dhabi police websites or pay them at the time of registration. However, if there are any pending black points on your car then you might have to visit the police to resolve this before you can register your car.

To renew your registration, you need your Emirates ID and driving licence as well as three important documents; the renewed motor vehicle insurance, the old registration card and a car test certificate stating that the car passed the examination.

Getting the car tested

New cars are exempt from testing for the first two years, after which you will need to visit one of the ADNOC or RTA vehicle testing centres to have your vehicle assessed and earn the “passed” certificate. This is to ensure the car is roadworthy, ensuring your tyres, braking, steering and suspension systems, chassis and chassis attachments are up to par. Depending on your vehicle category, you may also need to display your safety triangle, spare wheel and fire extinguisher. The test costs approximately Dh170, takes 20 to 40 minutes depending on customer volumes and is valid for 30 days. If the validity lapses, or the car fails and needs to be retested, the fees will need to paid again.


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Where to go

If you buy a new car in the UAE through a dealer, they will often take care of the registration for the first year. From the second year onwards though, you will need to renew the registration yourself. The UAE authorities have plenty of conveniently located centres where you can renew your car's registration. You can see the full list here for Dubai and here for Abu Dhabi.

How to renew

Now that you have all the documents in place, you have two options

In-person: Wait in line at the registration centre, pay the renewal fees (Dh350 in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai) and pick up the renewed registration card. You will also be handed a registration sticker with a new expiry date. Place that on the rear number plate over the old one, and voila, you are done

Online: Or you could try the online route by heading over to RTA's website or Abu Dhabi Police e-services portal. There you simply select your vehicle, submit the relevant documents online and confirm a delivery method (either courier or collecting the registration at any authority's office). After you have paid the service fees, your application will be processed within five working days.

Get someone else to take care of it

If you don't have the time for all this, you could try the RTA’s “Personal Appearance Service”. For this, visit the RTA’s customer service centre once and you will then receive a PIN on your mobile after registering your details. Anyone using the PIN can do the licensing work at the RTA on your behalf whether it’s for one car or multiple cars in your name. Other transactions like exporting, transferring or selling the number plate can also be carried out using the PIN. Note, however, that the PIN expires after your representative’s visit. For further visits, you will need to get a new PIN via the “Personal Appearance Service”.

Raaed Sheibani is a growth hacker at CarSwitch