How to get an International Driving Permit in Abu Dhabi |

How to get an International Driving Permit in Abu Dhabi

Despite your driving license being valid in your home, if you choose to drive abroad you will need a International Driving Permit.

Posted on

7 August 2013

Last updated on 2 January 2018
How to get an International Driving Permit

Your driving license is reflective of the fact that you can drive in your home country, however as soon as you travel to another land you will need proof that your driving license is real. Driving overseas without an International Driving Permit (IDP) could land you in trouble with local law enforcers, especially if you are planning to drive in countries where you cannot speak the local language! Without an IDP you could, in some cases invalidate your insurance which can be both costly and stressful, adding unnecessary hassle to your travels. Plus, there are many forgeries and identity theft that occurs worldwide. So make sure you're covered for any eventuality by obtaining your IDP well in advance of your travels. 

No matter what country you hail from, if you’re visiting the UAE, you will need an IDP. Your car rental company will not tell you this, in fact they are happy to just take your money and rent you the car. It is your responsibility to have an IDP, just in case you are pulled over. This rule also applies to new expats in the emirates. They are required to drive with an IDP until they obtain their residency in the UAE. Thereafter, they have to get a UAE driving license. Some countries are lucky and they can convert their driving license without much hassle, however other countries’ citizens will have to pass a written and practical test.

SEE ALSO: How to convert your driving license in the UAE

Who needs an IDP & why?

Official IDPs are issued exclusively in the Emirates by the ATCUAE and were established by the United Nations in 1949 & 1968 to overcome difficulties faced by motorists travelling in foreign countries in view of widely varying drivers license requirements.

While many countries now allow visitors to use their domestic driving licenses when travelling abroad, this can lead to language problems, and an International Driving Permit has a number of advantages including...

  • Proof that the holder has a valid driving license in their own country. As it is printed in ten languages - the five United Nations official languages, English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese, as well as German, Arabic, Italian, the Scandinavian languages and Portuguese.
  • Helping overcome language barriers between drivers and police.
  • The IDP document can also be a useful form of ID should you lose or misplace your passport.

How to get an IDP

So how do you go about getting IDP in Abu Dhabi? There are quite a few places that you can get one including AUH Travel Bureau, Al Masaood Travels, Emirates Post and Abu Dhabi Hospitality Company to name but a few agencies. The official IDP is issued by the Automobile & Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates (ATCUAE) and distributed through their agents. It is best to call the agent where you plan to get your IDP from in advance to ensure that they have an IDP for you – before you make the journey – and they run out often so don’t leave it to the last minute.
The documents you will need:
-       Copy and original UAE driving license with a validity of longer than six months
-       Copy and original passport with valid visa
-       2 passport photographs
The procedure to obtain and IDP is very simple; present all the documents and fill out a form. The fee is AED150. The IDP is ready in 5 minutes. So the next time that you’re travelling from Abu Dhabi – get your IDP before you go if you’re renting a car.

To visit the Automobile & Touring Club website, Click Here >>

Here is a list of outlets where official IDP's are available...

Emirates Post Office (EMPOST)
Abu Dhabi Hospitality Company (Duty Free)
AUH Travel Bureau
Al Masaood Travels
Al Masaood Travels – Al Ain Branch
Omeir TravelsAlsa Travel & Tourism LLC

Arabian Automobile Association (AAA)
Belhasa Advance Motorist (BAM)
Belhasa Driving Center (BDC)
Dubai National Air Travel Agency (DNATA)
Emirates Driving Institute (EDI)
Emirates Post Office (EMPOST)
HERTZ Rent a Car
IMC Middle East (IMC)
Orient Travel Services
Road & Transport Authority (RTA)

Emirates Post Office
Marur Typing Center
Sharjah National Travel & Tours (SNTTA)
Cosmo Travels

Emirates Post Office (EMPOST)
Brothers Tours & Travels
Fujairah National Driving Institute (FNDI)

Last updated July 2014