How to buy a car in Dubai

Have you recently obtained your license or maybe you have recently moved here with a valid overseas license. If so, it’s the perfect time to buy a car. Even though public transport has greatly improved over the years with the introduction of the Metro, a vehicle is a necessity for most residents in the UAE.

First step: Make sure you have the following paperwork;

  • Passport and a copy of it (make sure it’s not expired)
  • Emirates ID
  • Valid UAE residency and a copy of it
  • Valid UAE or GCC driving license
  • Salary certificate from your employer (This is not required of your buying from a private seller)
  • No Objections Letter from your employer (This is not always required, get one just in case)

Depending on if you are buying a new or second-hand car, not all of the documents mentioned above are required.

Before you do any hunting for the perfect car, plan a budget of how much you expect to spend! Of course, you can get a bank loan for the vehicle as well.

Finding the automobile

When looking for a new or used car to purchase, there are few ways to choose from:

  • The easiest & most secure way to buy a new or used car is to get online and use! From here you can see high-definition pictures, exact specifications and sometimes a video of new and used cars for sale from car dealers in Dubai and other Emirates. You can search with highly specific options and then call the dealer directly or send an email.
  • Head down to the nearest dealer you may have seen an advert for or heard about it from a friend or work colleague.
  • Newspapers and print magazines also contain vehicle advertisements, usually with few pictures and basic specifications with contact details of the seller.

If you choose to buy a new car, give the dealer a ring or email them to check that they have your preferred car in stock, double check their location and arrange a time to meet a sales representative. Once arranged, proceed to the dealership. As long as you have a UAE or GCC driver’s license you can go for a test drive. Two methods are available for payment; cash in hand or financing over the years. Dealers have bank representatives working in-house to make the process as smooth as possible. If you are buying a car new during Ramadan or Eid, great deals pop up ranging from discounts to extended warranty to free registration and insurance.

Once you have found your desired second-hand car, contact the seller via email or phone and arrange a time to view the vehicle, double check where the dealer is and what their timings are. It’s a good idea to check the car out before agreeing to anything, and ask if there is any service history (if there isn’t any, it’s a risk!). Also, ask the seller if there is any warranty remaining. This can also be seen on many of the car ads on Dubicars. If you know a trusted mechanic, it’s never a bad idea ask them to come down with you to check the vehicle or drop the vehicle by if the dealer agrees.

Second-hand cars are usually bought with cash only, unless it’s from a dealer and the car is of a certain age (usually five years or newer). In such case, finance options are often available from the dealer. Paying by cash can result in a discount if you barter with the seller. Regardless, if you want to go with car financing, your bank will often have a solution.

How to get car insurance in Dubai

Now that your desired car has been purchased, it’s time to have it insured via a company the Roads and Transport Authority recognises, such as AXA, AIG or RSA. The minimum level of insurance one can get is third party.

  • Third party insurance covers property damage caused by the insured vehicle, death or injury to any third party or person, fire if it’s not caused by the owner and if the vehicle is stolen.
  • Fully comprehensive insurance covers exactly the same as third party as well as covering the driver and depending on what packages are available 24/7 roadside assistance, car rental during damage repair and more are provided. There are also additional packages which insure your vehicle in other GCC countries.

Note that if you are buying a second hard car in Dubai which is ten years or older, some insurance companies will not provide you with fully comprehensive insurance. Also, note if you have had your licence for under a year or you’re under the age of 25 you can not apply for fully comprehensive.

Insurance kiosks can usually be found inside RTA registration centres. Alternatively, most if not all insurance companies can arrange an insurance policy online or via the phone.

The following documents are required in order to take out the policy:

  • Valid driving license
  • Passport with residency visa (copy is useful as well)
  • Vehicle registration details (the one you just purchased)
  • No Objection Letter NOC from your employer (in some cases)

Insurance policies are valid for 13 months or 12 months as standard and a one-month grace period given by the RTA.

Prices vary depending on the insurance company, how many doors the vehicle has and other factors.

How to Register a car in Dubai

Now that you’ve got insurance out of the way, it’s time to have the car registered. If you are buying a brand new car, the dealer will take care of the process for you. If you are purchasing a second-hand vehicle, the seller must be present, or a sale deed from said person must be shown.

Documents required for registration:

  • Passport (copy and original)
  • Driving license
  • Insurance policy
  • If the car is financed, an NOC and documents from the place of finance
  • Old registration card (used car only)
  • Original license plates (used car only)

Once you have all the required paperwork, the vehicle must be tested by the RTA to make sure it’s allowed to be driven on the roads and conform to certain emission outputs:

  1. Make your way to the nearest Dubai Traffic Department, Tasjeel Eppco, Shamil Emarat or Belhasa Wasel Car testing.
  2. Fill in the mandatory forms (some places will do this for you).
  3. Have an officer check if there are any fines on the vehicle. If any are present, they must be paid (No longer required as of May 16th,  2019, this is no longer required).   Fines can also be checked online if you know the plate number.
  4. Once all of this is completed, and inspection is approved, you will proceed inside for your registration card to be printed.
  5. You’ll be given the card, same number plates to put at the front and back of the vehicle and a small date sticker to be placed on the plates.

If the previous owner owns the right to number plates, the RTA will issue you with a randomly generated plate. If you would like to purchase your very own personalised plate you can for a fee. This plate will be yours unless you wish to sell it. The RTA has a variety of these plates on offer and holds auctions frequently; prices range from 250 AED all the way to 52.2 million AED.

Number plates come in two sizes short and long each costing 420 AED and 470 AED respectively. Arabic only plates are available on request, and new Dubai logo plates are available for 25 AED for short and 35 AED for long plates.

Registration on vehicles lasts 12 months with a one-month extra grace period bringing the total to 13 months. We’ve discovered the grace peirod is only for the insurance.

Registration must be done annually. Late renewal fees are charged at AED 20 per month.


Congratulations you’ve just bought a car, why not comment below and tell us what car you’ve recently bought!


    • Christopher Milbourne
      Author October 8, 2020 at 9:53 am

      Hi Amol, you can buy Dubai visa car but you need to de-register in Dubai, put on recovery to RAK and register again in RAK.

  1. Hi, im gonna buy a 2nd hand car. The mulkiya has still 10 months remaining, do i need to re-register again once i buy it or need to wait until the mulkiya expires

  2. Hi,
    I have finalized a car to be bought from Abudhabi. My visa is Dubai. But my license in just 3 year old and is issued from Abu Dhabi and I have some fines on it . Do I have to do anything special for the registration?
    Thanks in advance.

  3. HI,

    • Pholanun Latthitham
      August 2, 2020 at 10:08 am

      Dear Sir/Madam Maya
      My name is Mr. Pholanun LatthithamI am Thailand Citizens. I read yr questions n
      Want to help you too. But importing 2nd hand car in Cambodia or 1st hand you hv to check import tax ( customs tax, excise tax, n others tax ). For export car from dubai. You must hv shipper name or seller name in bill of lading n withdraw car register w its land transport. Then you can export it. Howver, if you are also interested to import 100 % teakwood classic car model era 60 from Thailand ( new assembly ).pls ctc me at email : [email protected]

  4. Hi,
    I’m looking to buy a car and register it on my name, But my driving license is only 1 month old (Dubai Issued)…But I have heard that I won’t be able to do so unless my license is at least a year old…so I want to know is it true and if it is then is there any alternative method to do so …thank you in advance…

  5. Hello please clarify if i can buy a car without driving license and what are the charges of registration or transfer of registration.

    • You can’t drive a car without a license but of you’re planning to buy a car without a driver’s license in Dubai it’s necessary to go to the police to explain the circumstances and receive approval, although we recommend contacting RTA for this matter.

    • To buy cars from the UAE or Dubai please visit our website Dubicars and select the model of the car you’re looking for. Once you choose the car you can use the call or email buttons to contact the seller.

    • Mr.pholanun latthitham
      August 2, 2020 at 10:16 am

      My name is Mr.Pholanun Latthitham. I am Thailand citizens. I am seeking car agent in middle east. My car is 100 % teakwood classic model made. I can make spare parts as teakwood in all car body parts. So if y r interested.please ctc to my emailed : [email protected]

  6. Hi
    I want ro know i i can buy a car and registred under my name and pay all governement fees and inssurance too but i am steel looking for a job in dubai not yet having any valid UAE residency steel like a tourist but that will help me looking for a job there is it possible to buy it or not please.
    Thank you

  7. Hi,
    I have finalized a car to be bought from Dubai. My visa is also Dubai. But my license in just one month old and is issued from Abu Dhabi. Do I have to do anything special for the registration?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Christopher Milbourne
      Author September 23, 2016 at 12:54 pm

      Hi Prathy, there are two ways to do this. 1. Because your license is from Abu Dhabi the vehicle will have to be registered in Abu Dhabi. 2. If you have a family member living in Dubai, they can register it in their name.

  8. There are some show rooms at the motor markets selling cars GCC specs at lower prices than the market and they give 3 yrs warranty is that ok ?

    • Christopher Milbourne
      Author May 11, 2016 at 9:10 am

      While it is okay, the warranty isn’t from the official dealer, i.e., Al Futtaim or AGMC instead it warranty from Dynatrade.

  9. Hi,
    The second hand car we hope to buy passed it’s annual Wasel check just two weeks ago. Do we have to have it re-tested, or do we just pay for changing the name on the registration documents?

    • If you still have the passing paper then you don’t have to do the test again because the passing paper is valid for 1 month. just continue changing the name as long as your paper is less than 1-month-old.

  10. Hello,
    I would like to buy a car not GCC but Japanese imported which as already Dubai plates, will it be a problem to register it?
    Thank you.

    • Hello David, you can go to the main page of You will see a search box there then you need to set “Export only” in the Condition. When you click on search you will see all cars and that are for export. You can contact any dealer by calling or sending an email and ask about the procedure for exporting cars.

      Hope it will help you. Feel free to ask any questions.


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