The international driving licence (IDL) is among the most important documents a tourist can carry. Valid for a year, the document allows its holders to take road trips around the countries they visit.
The IDL is a United Nations convention and the UAE is among the scores of countries that recognise it. This means those visiting the UAE can legally drive in the country if they have an IDL.
Emiratis and expatriates holding a valid UAE driving licence can get an IDL for less than Dh200. They can use the document to drive vehicles outside the UAE.
Can tourists get IDL from UAE?
Tourists or visit visa holders cannot get the IDL from the UAE. They must get it from their home countries before arriving in the Emirates.
According to information available on the UAE automobile and touring club website, in order to drive in the country, one must have an IDL issued outside the UAE.
Under terms and conditions of availing an IDL in Dubai, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) says an applicant can use the international document in all countries except where the licence was issued.
“An international driving licence cannot be issued for temporary and interim licences,” the RTA adds.
Which cars can IDL holders drive in Dubai?
A notice posted on the RTA website says that visitors holding a valid IDL can rent a car or “drive a car registered to your name or one of your first-degree relatives”. They can drive a light vehicle or a motorcycle.
The UAE automobile and touring club says tourists are “allowed to drive only rented vehicles (rent a car)”.
The RTA states that transit visa holders can drive a vehicle here if they have a valid IDL and “approval from the insurance company”.
Can the IDL be used in more than one country?
According to the RTA, customers can drive in more than one country with the same international licence, provided it’s valid.
What is IDL mainly used for?
Essentially, an IDL proves that a driver holds a valid licence in their country of residence.
“It will also help protect you and your family in the event of an accidental vehicle damage while abroad, or the loss of legal identification such as a passport,” says the UAE automobile and touring club. “The primary function of the IDL is to allow law enforcement and other authorities in other countries to read your licence in their own language.”
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