How to apply for an International Driving Permit with a UAE licence

Some car rental agencies may accept drivers’ local licence for bookings

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If you are looking to go away this summer and plan on renting a car, there are some things you should know before you travel.

Most countries require visitors to have an International Driving Permit if they want to drive outside of the country which their licence was issued.

While some car rental agencies may accept your local licence at their discretion, others may insist on an IDP and could refuse a rental without one.

Most countries require visitors to have an International Driving Permit if they want to drive outside of the country in which their licence was issued.

What is an International Driving Permit?

In short, it is a translation of your national driving licence and enables you to drive in foreign countries without the need for further tests or application forms.

It is important to note that an IDP is an addition to your national driving licence and not a replacement.

To be on the safe side, you must carry both licences when planning to rent a car abroad.

The permit, which is valid for one year, proves that you hold a valid driver’s licence in your country of residence.

It will also help protect you as a driver in the event of accidental vehicle damage or loss of legal identification, such as a passport, while abroad.

How to get an International Driving Permit in the UAE?

There are several ways in which you can obtain an IDP to carry alongside your UAE licence. It has to be applied for prior to travel. All IDPs are valid for one year, so regular renewal is necessary.

In the UAE you can obtain your IDP through:

  • Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE), which has offices in all seven emirates, or you can visit the website and have it delivered
  • Ministry of Interior mobile application
  • Emirates Post offices
  • Dnata office, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai

You will be required to fill in an application form online or in person and will have to submit:

  • A copy of valid Emirates ID
  • A copy of passport and residency status
  • A copy of valid UAE driving licence
  • Two passport photos

How much does it cost and how does the process take?

An IDP is Dh170 plus tax.

Online applications will be completed within three working days of receipt, so allow for five working days for all online applications to be delivered to your requested address.

Over-the-counter applications can be completed within half an hour.

What countries require an IDP?

The website of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE website lists 174 countries that require an IDP, including Spain, Oman, Germany, Britain and India.

Do I need an IDP to drive in the UAE?

The UAE signed two UN conventions that made it a legal requirement for visitors to have a valid IDP in order to rent a car and drive.

Each visitor who plans to drive in the Emirates must make sure they obtain an IDP in their home country or country of residence before they travel.

If you live in the UAE and have an Emirati licence, you do not need to obtain an IDP to drive here.

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Updated: May 11, 2022, 5:53 AM