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Converting your US driving license in the UAE

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In most cases, acquiring a driving license in the UAE means going to a driving school and taking a driving test. However, those who have driving licenses from the United States are exempt from this requirement as they can easily transfer or convert their existing driving license to a UAE license. The United States is among the countries where license-holders can swap a driving license, which was issued in their home country, with a UAE driving license. In this post, we present the process and documents required for the US driving license conversion to UAE.

Bear in mind that only US passport holders can convert their American driving license in Dubai and other emirates without the road test. Those who hold an American driving license but are not American nationals can still transfer the licence to a valid UAE driver’s permit after they successfully complete the theory test, road test and yard test.

roads in Dubai
American expats with valid US driving licenses may opt for a foreign driving license conversion


US driving license holders are expected to prepare the following documents for a successful conversion:

  • Original US driving license
  • Copy of the original US driving license
  • NOC or No Objection Certificate from the sponsor except certain professions
  • A complete form for the replacement of the license
  • Valid and original Emirates ID
  • Electronic eye test certified by the concerned emirate’s medical authority with two passport-sized photographs
  • Certified medical screening document (for senior citizens above a certain age bracket)

Professions that do not require an NOC document include prosecutors, judges, lawyers, shipmasters, consultants, military personnel, doctors and others. For a full list of NOC exempted professions applying for US driving license conversion in Dubai, visit the RTA website.

If you are converting your US driving license in Dubai, you’ll need to take these documents along to an RTA branch. They will then issue a valid UAE driving licence after which you can legally drive in Dubai.

Those of you opting to convert an American driver’s license in Abu Dhabi will have to visit the Drivers’ Licensing Department in Mushrif. The process can take longer in Abu Dhabi to convert the US driver’s license, but you should receive the new permit in a week’s duration. The fee to transfer the license is usually under AED 1000 if you do not have to take the road test, but it is subject to change based on policy updates. Here are the fees for converting the US license in Dubai as per the RTA website.

  • AED 200 for opening a file
  • AED 600 for issuing a license
  • AED 50 for handbook manual
  • AED 20 Knowledge and Innovation fees.


Female US citizen driving a car
An eye-test and optician certificate is a mandatory part of the driving license conversion process

Here are the steps for conversion of US driving license for one that is valid in the United Arab Emirates.

An eye test, and the post-test optician certificate, is one of the requirements for applying for a US driving license conversion to UAE license. Some eye doctors render this service for free while others might charge a small fee. Prices vary depending on the emirate you are applying for. Some service centres have onsite opticians which speed up conversions considerably.


The next step for a US driving license conversion to UAE is a visit to the traffic authority of the emirate you live in. Applicants are required to have the aforementioned documents with them at the centre in addition to a passport copy, residence visa and original passport.

All it takes is a bit of paperwork, a photograph and a visit to the traffic authority of the emirate you reside in to convert a US driving license to a UAE license. For US citizens who are residents in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or any other emirate, the process is pretty straightforward thanks to their exemption from driving tests.

US driving license holders with home countries not on the list of exempted countries need not worry as they are given the opportunity to acquire a valid UAE driving license after undergoing a road and knowledge test.


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