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Transport & Driving in the UAE

Expats moving to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or one of the other emirates might have to get used to the crazy traffic. It’s important to know which traffic rules to pay attention to, but also to employ defensive driving techniques — UAE nationals tend to have unsafe driving practices.

For some people, the UAE is “famous” for its many road accidents. However, the number has been steadily decreasing over the past years. This shouldn’t hold you back from driving your car though; the road network is very good. A good alternative in case you don’t want to drive a car is the public transportation network: there are several options to choose from if you want to travel around. When you arrive in the UAE, it’ll most likely be by plane. The busiest airport in the world is Dubai International Airport, which is a whole experience on its own. However, you can also fly to other airports in the UAE.

An Overview of Driving in the UAE

The most important thing you have to take care of before you can drive a car in the UAE is exchanging your driver’s license. For some countries this can be done very easily, but for other countries this requires some more attention. After that, you can choose between buying a new or used car — except if you have already decided to import your own car. Both options won’t cause that much trouble — as long as you have all the required documents. Whatever you choose, the next step is registering your car and taking care of insurance. Taking out insurance is extremely important, especially with the number of road accidents that occur.

The Public Transportation Network

Don’t worry if you don’t want to drive a car in the UAE; there are several modes of public transportation to travel around with. The most popular option is the taxi — they are available almost all over the UAE for a relatively cheap price. Next to taxis, buses are also an important part of the network. They are available in all emirates, and in some buses are even the only mode of public transportation. Dubai also has a metro and tram network, both relatively new. Abras and ferries are special modes of transportation in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. To pay for public transportation, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah introduced special cards that you can purchase. In most cases there are several cards you can choose from, looking at which one fits your needs best.
Adriana Rodrigues Zon
"The idea of getting to know other expats in Manila was very appealing to me, and I've greatly expanded my network in the Philippines. "
Jacques Paillard
"All expatriates in my company joined InterNations because it really helped me get accustomed to my new life in Manila. "

Our Global Partners

UAE Guide Topics