Getting a driver’s license in Dubai is no easy game !

(Last Updated On: March 6, 2010)

Yaaay !! Passed my driving test in the first go - Now I hold ... on Twitpic

But its really over hyped and if someone like me can get it within 1 month and on the first try, so can you. 🙂

When I moved to Dubai, the one thing I was worried about more than anything else was getting a drivers license. I mean, that’s one thing people always warned me, it was a nightmare as many told. To cement off the rumors there were examples of people who tool upto 15-20 tries before they got theirs. I had to assume that it should take atleast some 5-10 tries for me. I don’t consider myself an expert driver, but I love driving, especially long drives with my folks. And I’ve driven across most parts of south India, big time, but that’s no qualification for a Dubai driver. The roads were confusing at the first look, and the testing authority guys were nothing less than “attrocious” as many told.

But I enrolled with a learning agency called Belhasa, and with my friends recommendation enrolled with a well mannered instructor, I think that helped a lot. He was a big help, and promised me that if I get the basics right, he’ll get me my license in the shortest possible time. Of course, unlike in India no bribing/recommendations can happen here, so you had to perform well, or try again later, ok tata bye bye.

I cleared all the preliminary tests with ease, honestly they were no big deal. The one crucial thing I learned was that before you started driving, you had to “unlearn” a few things. I mean if you were a long time driver, you had to unlearn all those driving habits of your’s. Like driving with one hand resting or using your fingers to turn the steering. 😉 My instructor taught me all the basics right and I had to keep repeating them however awkward it was. let me list out some of them for ya.

– Hold your hands on the steering wheel, above the first half. (Hope you understand whatever that meant.)

– While switching lanes, always look first to the rear middle mirror, then to the side mirror, then the blind spot and then back to the rear mirror.

And a plethora of other stuff. Most of them were awkward and you had to “act it out” in order to be a driver 😀

The final test is scary, many say but I think that is the whole thing. There is no reason to get scared here actually. Its where you have to be natural. It is tough because there will be three more guys with you in the car excluding the officer. And you get anything from 1-3 minutes to take the test. The officer mostly is an Arab officer from the RTA and not very “friendly” I should say. But that’s not the point. The point is whether you get tensed or not. If you get tensed, one can easily make it out even before you start driving when you search for where the hand break is and get clumsy with the gear  (like one guy with me in the car did). Just play it cool and don’t get clumsy, think like you’re driving with someone in your family and drive along, that’s all. The major point is keep passenger safety as your first priority, and not showing your “driving skills”.

Anyways, I got the license in less than a month and am proud of it, also considering me lucky and fortunate enough to get a good instructor. If you are someone who’s appearing for a driving test in Dubai, do let me know and I can give you his contact, if you’re interested.



  • Nice read Mani, congrats 🙂

    My neighbour is in Dubai right now, I have seen him drive so well here. (There is a 30m long narrow lane in front of his home and he has to do that in reverse gear, and he does it so well).

    I heard that he appeared for the test in Dubai thrice and haven’t got the license yet, so I can imagine. You rock 😉

  • Hi Mani,

    Just read your article. can you pls email me the details of the instructor and the driving school. it would be of great help.


  • Hi there,
    Congrats on ur license. May i have the contact details of the instructor you used and the driving institute.

    Cheers drive safe.