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Transport & Driving

Independence on the UAE Roads — Having Your Own Car

Owning a car is very popular in the UAE, as the fuel prices are relatively low. But do you want to buy a car or import your own? And what about all the paperwork you have to take care of? Not to worry, our expat guide has all the information you need: from buying a car to choosing car insurance.

New Adventure, New Car

If you want the independence of having your own four wheels during your time in the Emirates, one option is to buy a car. You can choose between buying a brand-new car and a used car. The choice is up to you, but no matter which one you choose, you’ll find a wide range of brands and types of cars.

There are a couple of things you need to bring with you to the car dealership in order to purchase a new car:

In addition, you’ll need a salary certificate or employer’s letter and bank statements from the previous months if your car is financed through a bank or a loan from the company you work for.

If you choose to buy a used car, you won’t have a hard time finding one that meets your needs. Used cars are widely available throughout the UAE. You can find advertisements on websites or in newspapers. The Gulf News and Khaleej Times have classified sections for used cars. When you go to buy a used car, make sure to have your UAE residence visa and driver’s license with you.

Can’t Say Goodbye? Take Your Car with You!

Buying a car isn’t the only option you have. Of course it can happen that you’re too attached to your own car and you don’t want to buy a new one. No worries, you can always import your own car into the UAE without that much of a struggle — as long as you have all the required documents. These can differ per emirate, but in general you’ll need the following documents:

In addition, you might need an export declaration for the vehicle from the customs department in the country of export and a certificate of vehicle export from the traffic department in the country of export. Regarding extra costs, you might have to take possible fees for customs clearance charges and container examination into account. Also, if you are bringing your car to Dubai, you’ll need a Vehicle Clearance Certificate, which can be purchased for 60 AED at RTA Service Centers.

Making It Official — Registering Your Car

Then, once you have bought a car or your car has finally arrived, you have to register it in the UAE. The process of registering your car is different in every emirate. Therefore you have to make sure you check which specific documents you need to register your car in the emirate you live in. In general, you have to bring the following documents:

You might also need to get your car inspected, which costs around 50 AED. If the registration of your car is financed through a bank, you also need a “no objection letter”.

Adding everything up, the total fees for registering your car can differ a lot per emirate. The total amount can range from around 250 AED to 500 AED. You have to renew your car registration every year. To renew the registration of your car, you have to pay fees that range from 105 to 340 AED.

Taking Precautions — Insuring Your Car

Because of the crazy traffic on the roads in the UAE, there’s one thing you should get without a doubt: car insurance. Accidents occur quite often, and if you’re unlucky enough to cause one that results in a fatality, you have to pay diya — blood money. The amount of diya differs, but usually ranges from 200,000 to 500,000 AED — other fines regarding the accident not included. If you’re unable to pay the money, you can face a long time in jail.

Of course, this example is the worst-case scenario, but it shows that car insurance is absolutely necessary. There are two general types of car insurance you can choose from — third party and comprehensive.

A third party liability policy is mandatory and the most basic type of insurance. It covers death or injuries to a third party and property damage. It doesn’t cover damage to the insured vehicle. The other type of car insurance is a comprehensive policy. It covers your own car in case of accidents, fire, explosions, burglaries, and vandalism.

To insure your car, you’ll need the following documents:

Your car insurance policy will be valid for 13 months. It just takes a few simple steps to renew your car insurance and the car insurance company will remind you two months before your policy expires. It is not possible to renew your car registration without proof of insurance.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

InterNations Expat Magazine