Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Avez-vous un permis pour ce chèvre?

Beloved Wife, who’s lived in the UAE longer than the Goat, went through the rigmarole of renewing her driving licence a couple of years ago. It’s a ritual every driver in the UAE will experience every ten years. It was the Goat’s turn recently, and Beloved Wife assured him that the procedure was a doddle. His licence was going to expire in August 2013. As he now has a Dubai residence visa, he turned to the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai, even though his old licence was issued in Sharjah. Driving licences are now administered at a federal level, which means in practice that the licence retains a record of which emirate first issued it, but it can be renewed anywhere. This is the UNITED Arab Emirates, after all.

Here, then, is what happened to the Goat, offered here as a sort of public service. Useful information is shown in Bold, and lies irrelevant and superfluous items are indicated by Italics.

The Goat first went to one of the RTA-approved opticians for his eye test. He had to produce:-

Residence Visa
ID card
One recent mugshot
AED150 (The Goat later learned that Sharjah does the eye test at the Traffic Police for nuppence)

He was then advised by the optician that he had to go to the RTA office roughly opposite Dubai airport Terminal 2, and no other.

At the said RTA office, the Goat was given a letter for Sharjah Traffic Police.

Sharjah Traffic Police would provide an NOC to transfer the licence details to Dubai. Having got this NOC, the Goat should bring it to Dubai RTA with:-

Passport copy (Why?)
Residence visa copy (Why?)
ID card copy (Isn't this supposed to eliminate the need to produce the passport and visa at every encounter with Officialdom? And isn't the chip in the card supposed to eliminate the need for a photocopy? Apparently not.)
Eye test certificate
Original driving licence
Driving licence copy
Letter of No Objection from the Goat’s sponsor (Beloved Wife)
Sponsor’s passport copy
Sponsor’s visa copy
Sponsor’s ID card copy

So off the Goat trotted to Sharjah Traffic Police where, because the time was by then 13h10 and it’s Ramadan, he was told to come back tomorrow with:-

Passport copy
Residence visa copy
ID card copy
Driving licence
Driving licence copy

The following morning, the Goat eventually found a parking space in the mayhem that is the parking outside the Sharjah Traffic Police office. He queued for over an hour, and was then told that the computer system was down, and to come back tomorrow. He asked for the NOC letter so that he could do the licensing process in Dubai, and thereby avoid yet another trip to Sharjah. The Traffic Police refused, first because the system was down, and then because the NOC is not required; it’s possible to renew a driving licence in any emirate.

The Goat returned to the RTA where it was confirmed that the system was indeed down. But he also learned from the RTA - the same office; indeed the same desk where he’d been spun this dit about having to go to Sharjah - that licence renewal did not require an NOC from Sharjah. It could be renewed in Dubai at pretty much any RTA office.

Another day passed, and the Goat chose to park in the shade at Rashidiya metro station and to take the train one stop to the RTA’s quiet and civilised Umm Ramool office. He produced:-

Passport copy
Residence visa copy
ID card copy
Driving licence copy
Original driving licence
Eye test certificate
AED540 (Because that’s what Sharjah charges, and it’s gotta be cash)

And behold: a new UAE driving licence! Job done for another ten years.

So the process is indeed a doddle, once the fictional elements have been removed.



Anonymous said...

If you are legal or permanent resident and country does not issue the international driving license you should be aware of the following: Consumers cannot legally drive in most countries without obtaining a temporary or permanent driver's license from the country in which he or she plans to drive; and Our unofficial international translation of driver's license does not confer any driving privileges on consumers whose home countries do not issue International Driving Permits.

Grumpy Goat said...

I think you'd be better off with a proper IDP (if required) than any "unofficial" document.


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