Even if you already hold a driver’s license from your home country, it’s important to get a driving license in the UAE. This involves taking up driving lessons, undergoing some tests, and of course, following the country’s traffic rules and regulations.
Basically, a driver’s license serves as proof that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to operate a vehicle safely. When driving, you must carry your driver’s license at all times. But what happens if you fail to bring your license? In this article, we will talk about fines related to driving licenses in the UAE.
- Issuance and Renewal of UAE Driver’s License
- Driving License Related Fines in UAE
- Other Traffic Laws and Violations
- The Bottom Line
Issuance and Renewal of UAE Driver’s License
Before anything else, let us first discuss several major points on issuing and renewing driver’s licenses in the UAE. According to Ministerial Resolution No. 177 of 2017, there are stipulations based on the age and nationality of the applicant:
- For drivers below 21 years old. Those who are below 21 years of age may be issued a driver’s license that is valid for one (1) year. This applies to UAE citizens, GCC nationals, and other nationalities.
- For drivers 21 years old and above. Those who are 21 years of age and above may be issued a driver’s license that is valid for two (2) years. This applies to UAE citizens, GCC nationals, and other nationalities as well. After renewal, the license becomes valid for 10 years for UAE citizens and GCC nationals, and five (5) years for other nationalities.
Driving License Related Fines in UAE
Once you have obtained your UAE driving license, be sure to know and obey the traffic laws at all times. These include the following driving license related fines, as stated in Ministerial Resolution No. 178 of 2017:
1. Driving Without a Driver’s License
If caught driving without a license, you will be charged an AED 400 fine. Always carry your license! After all, there’s a reminder on the back of your license that says, “This license should be with you when you’re driving and must be presented on demand to an authorised person.” Remember that!
2. Driving with a License Issued by Another Country
Even if you already have a license issued by your home country, you still need to apply for a UAE driver’s license! Otherwise, you will be fined AED 400.
The only exception to this rule is if you have a license that is issued by a country whose license is recognised by UAE authorities. Examples of these are driving licenses issued in the United Kingdom and European Union countries.
3. Driving a Vehicle Not Mentioned on the License
Your license indicates the type of vehicle that you’re allowed to drive, e.g. light motor vehicle, heavy vehicle, motorcycle, etc. If you are caught driving a vehicle that is different from the one stated in your license, you will not only get an AED 400 fine, but also 12 black points on your record!
4. Driving with an Expired Driver’s License
When the expiry date is drawing near, don’t forget to renew your driving license! If you get caught driving a vehicle with an expired license, you will be slapped with an AED 500 fine and four (4) black points. What’s more, your vehicle will be impounded for seven (7) days.
Also, take note that there is an AED 10 fine for each month that you fail to renew your driving license after it expires.
5. Failure to Hand Over Driving License
As mentioned earlier, there are traffic violations that involve not just a monetary fine, but also black points. The maximum amount that a driver could get is 24 black points. After this, his/her license would be suspended, and the case would be decided upon by a UAE court.
Let’s say, for example, that you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You will automatically receive 24 black points, and you’ll need to give your driving license to the authorities. Failure to hand over your license will lead to a fine of AED 1,000 for your first traffic violation.
Consequently, failure to hand over your driving license after a second violation involves a fine of AED 2,000. Eventually, failure to surrender your license after a third violation entails a fine of AED 3,000.
Other Traffic Laws and Violations
Aside from the above, here are some more traffic rules based on Ministerial Resolution No. 178 of 2017:
- Mandatory seat belts. All passengers inside a vehicle, including the rear seats, must be wearing seat belts. Otherwise, the driver will receive an AED 400 fine and four (4) black points.
- Child safety seats. Kids who are four years old and below should have child safety seats. If not, violators will received an AED 400 fine and four (4) black points.
- Front seat passengers. Front seat passengers should not be younger than 10 years old, and must be at least 145 centimetres tall.
- Distractions. Using your phone while driving, or engaging in other distractions, involves an AED 400 fine and four (4) black points.
- Ignoring traffic lights. Drivers who ignore traffic lights will face an AED 1,000 fine and 12 black points. Moreover, their vehicle will be impounded for a month.
- Reckless driving. Those who are caught driving recklessly will receive a fine of AED 2,000 and 23 black points. Furthermore, their vehicle will be impounded for 60 days.
- Speeding. Drivers who are caught exceeding the speed limit will face a fine of AED 3,000 and 23 black points. Their vehicle will also be impounded for 60 days.
- Driving under the influence. Those who are caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will have their licenses suspended for a year. In addition, a UAE court will decide on a fine and/or a prison term.
- Driver’s behaviour. The following violations related to the driver’s behavior also involve fines: blocking traffic, throwing garbage, crowding an accident site, driving without vehicle registration, driving a noisy vehicle, using expired tires, not leaving a safe distance between vehicles, and transporting passengers illegally.
DISCLAIMER: The above details are presented for general, information-sharing purposes only. To view the complete list of traffic laws and fines in the country, please visit the UAE Government Portal.
The Bottom Line
Whether it’s something as simple as forgetting to carry your driver’s license, or a serious offense such as “driving under the influence,” you should always be aware of the UAE’s traffic rules and regulations. If you don’t want to receive a fine, black points, or worse — a prison term — then you must strive to be a responsible driver!
That being said, if you are planning to get a driving license soon, take note that one of the requirements is an eye exam. Here’s a list of RTA-approved eye test centres where you can undergo a vision examination.