How to Buy A Car in Dubai

How to Buy A Car in Dubai

Buying a car in Dubai is a necessity for those wishing to save their time when travelling to work, dropping the kid’s off at school and comfortably travelling around the country. New and used cars can be obtained via car dealerships or via special websites. To purchase a car, you will need to be a resident of Dubai and have a valid driving license. We will tell you which additional documents are required for the purchase transaction and how you can buy a car in the emirate.

What Should Be Taken Into Consideration?

You will be able to obtain a Dubai driving license without the need to endure driving courses and a driving license test if you are from one of 43 countries approved by the Ministry of Interior (MoI). If you have a residence permit, you will just need to convert your original driving license with a UAE one.

You can always brush up your skills in a driving school, which is also an essential step for those who know nothing about driving and wish to get a license, if they haven’t already got one from their home country.

To do this, you will need:

  • residence visa
  • Emirates ID
  • a certificate from an ophthalmologist or an optician
  • a copy of the driver’s license from your home country
  • passport style photographs

The list of the documents required can differ depending on the driving school. The driving exam comes after 8 hours of taking theory lessons and 20–40 hours of practical training. To apply for a local driving license based on you converting your own license, you can use the RTA services via their website or visit a Customer Happiness Centre.

You will need:

  • an original driving license from one of 43 countries
  • an electronic eye test
  • your Emirates ID
  • a legalized translation of the license in the case that it’s not in English or Arabic

On the RTA website, you will be able to learn more about seasonal parking cards, apply for changing the plate design and special plate numbers.

Note: RTA is Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority, and is a department of the Government of Dubai, which is responsible for planning and executing traffic and transport projects.

Cars in the UAE have the steering wheel on the left and drive on the right-hand side like in the USA and the majority of European countries. Road signs in Dubai are in both Arabic and English and are easily understandable. You might also want to use Google Maps, Waze or any other driving app to navigate your journey around the emirate.

Ways to Buy New Cars in Dubai

New vehicles can be purchased in certified dealerships. The majority of them specialize in more than one brand, and assist with the vehicle registration. Among the most well-known companies are Al-Futtaim Motors, Al Habtoor Motors, Al Tayer Motors and Al Nabooda Automobiles.

Toyota models, including compact, sedan, SUV, MPV and LCV options, as well as Honda models can be purchased in Al-Futtaim Motors. Ford and Land Rover models are best purchased at Al Tayer Motors.

Juma Al Majid Est. is an exclusive distributor of Hyundai, whilst Arabian Automobiles Company (AAC) distributes Nissan, INFINITI and Renault cars. Al Ghandi Auto offers Chevrolet cars.

If you wish to buy an ultra-luxury vehicle, keep an eye on Al Habtoor Motors, offering Mitsubishi, Bentley, Bugatti, Pagani and JAC. Al Habtoor Motors was founded in 1983 and boasts the largest Bentley Motors showroom in the world, which was opened in 2016 on the key highway of Dubai — the Sheikh Zayed Road. Audi, Porsche or Volkswagen can be obtained in Al Nabooda Automobiles which boasts several showrooms and service centres across Dubai.

Note: Any UAE resident can import a car thanks to special logistics companies. However, if a vehicle is 10 years or older, you will need a special permit from the RTA. Moreover, additional fees should be paid for importing a vehicle including a 5% fee of the car’s current value in the UAE, a clearance certificate which goes up to AED 4.7K (USD 1.3K), and the container inspection which costs AED 700 (USD 190).

How Do You Pay Utility Bills in Dubai?

New vehicles can be purchased in certified dealerships. The majority of them specialize in more than one brand, and assist with the vehicle registration. Among the most well-known companies are Al-Futtaim Motors, Al Habtoor Motors, Al Tayer Motors and Al Nabooda Automobiles.

Toyota models, including compact, sedan, SUV, MPV and LCV options, as well as Honda models can be purchased in Al-Futtaim Motors. Ford and Land Rover models are best purchased at Al Tayer Motors.

Juma Al Majid Est. is an exclusive distributor of Hyundai, whilst Arabian Automobiles Company (AAC) distributes Nissan, INFINITI and Renault cars. Al Ghandi Auto offers Chevrolet cars.

If you wish to buy an ultra-luxury vehicle, keep an eye on Al Habtoor Motors, offering Mitsubishi, Bentley, Bugatti, Pagani and JAC. Al Habtoor Motors was founded in 1983 and boasts the largest Bentley Motors showroom in the world, which was opened in 2016 on the key highway of Dubai — the Sheikh Zayed Road. Audi, Porsche or Volkswagen can be obtained in Al Nabooda Automobiles which boasts several showrooms and service centres across Dubai.

Note: Any UAE resident can import a car thanks to special logistics companies. However, if a vehicle is 10 years or older, you will need a special permit from the RTA. Moreover, additional fees should be paid for importing a vehicle including a 5% fee of the car’s current value in the UAE, a clearance certificate which goes up to AED 4.7K (USD 1.3K), and the container inspection which costs AED 700 (USD 190).

Ways to Purchase Pre-Owned Cars in Dubai

Buying a second-hand car in Dubai is much cheaper than buying a brand-new vehicle. To avoid bureaucratic processes, it’s advisable to go to dealerships who will take care of the administration processes for you. Moreover, by purchasing a used vehicle via the official company, you will also be provided with consumer protection.

Buying a car from a private owner is a common practise in Dubai. Previously, expats could search for a car in newspaper ads, including Khaleej Times and Gulf News, however now, thanks to social media and the internet, the process has become much easier. You can find groups dedicated to cars on Facebook or just monitor the pages of your friends, who might repost deals of their acquaintances.

However, the most efficient way to find a used car is to visit websites advertising car sales, which include dubizzle, UAE Classifieds, OpenSouq, Yzer Motors and dubaicars. Each month over 20,000 cars are listed on dubizzle, while UAE Classfields offer the purchase of not only cars, but also commercial vehicles, motorcycles and even boats.

Note: To compare prices on cars, visit the YallaMotor Website, which is one of the most trusted automotive portals in the region. Here you will also find sections for new cars and electric vehicles, as well as reviews to make your final decision.

How to Save Money Whilst Purchasing A New Car in Dubai

If you want to save money, you should monitor the websites and the social media platforms of car dealerships. One of the best periods to purchase a car in Dubai is during Ramadan, which is a time where dealerships offer huge discounts and attractive benefits.

During Ramadan 2023 Al Nabooda Automobiles rolled out offerings for the Audi Q8, Q5 and Q7, in which buyers got:

  • one year free registration and insurance
  • an unlimited mileage warranty for 5 years
  • free maintenance for 5 years
  • roadside assistance for 5 years

Those interested in purchasing a Volkswagen in this car dealership also got a range of advantages, including:

  • the free registration of a car
  • a 7 year / 105K km service plan
  • 3-year roadside assistance
  • a 3-year / unlimited mileage warranty
  • a AED 7K (USD 1.9K) bonus on trade-in vehicles

Al Habtoor Motors also boasted interesting offers. Buyers of Mitsubishi cars, except for the Pajero model, got free car registration and a 20K km service. Moreover, clients of Al Habtoor Motors could also take part in a lottery with 2 kg gold as the main prize and 200 smaller gifts of 10 gm gold.

If you don’t want to wait for Ramadan 2024, keep an eye on the websites of car dealerships before UAE national holidays, when you will get a chance to obtain free insurance, as well as special packages.

Attractive offers can be taken advantage of during the summer while a lot of expats travel around the globe and aren’t that interested in purchasing a car in Dubai.

The New Year period is also one of the best times, due to the fact that car dealerships wish to dispose of old cars and start selling newer models. This is only a good option if you don’t mind having an older model.

Documents Required for Car Purchases in Dubai

An individual who is older than 18 and is a resident of Dubai can buy a car in the emirate.

The list of required documents includes:

  • a valid driving license
  • an original and a copy of the passport
  • an original and a copy of the UAE residence visa
  • Emirates ID

Can I Buy A Car If I Don’t Have An Emirates ID?

If you are not a resident of Dubai, you won’t be able to purchase a vehicle in the emirate. However, people who are 21 years or older get an opportunity to rent a car if they present an international driver’s permit or a driving license from one of the approved 43 countries, as well as a passport and their tourist visa.

How Much Does It Cost to Buy A Car in Dubai?

Similar to other countries, you can buy a car in various ways. You can pay by cash, credit card or take out a loan. Even though in Dubai you will find a range of car brands, both used and new, buying a car is a costly process, especially for new expats who have just arrived in Dubai. That’s why potential buyers can make the most of a car loan through a bank.

You can understand the expenses regarding your future vehicle by looking at the following list:

  • the price of the car
  • AED 400 (USD 110) for the service fee for a light vehicle
  • AED 150 (USD 40) in case a vehicle was inspected outside Dubai / used / imported from another
  • source than a local dealer
  • AED 35–50 (USD 10–14) for the plate fee depending on its size
  • AED 20 (USD 5) for Knowledge and Innovation fees
  • other possible expenses

To get a positive decision on a car loan, you will need to show:

  • a salary certificate or a letter from your company with the amount of your monthly salary
  • bank statements from the last 3–6 months

Keep in mind that:

  • a loan term is usually 60 months
  • a loan can be secured by a deposit
  • the down payment for a car loan is about 20%

Car dealerships usually have connections with large UAE banks, which means that you will be able to solve all the issues without losing much time on financial questions. However, those wishing to find an attractive deal, should visit several banks and choose the one with better conditions.

The Steps After Purchasing A Car in Dubai

The new owner of a car should get car insurance, and should be done before driving a car. Driving without car insurance is considered breaking the law. The insurance will cost from 1.25% to 3% of the vehicle’s value, depending on your age, driving history and credit score.

The car registration is also an important process after a car purchase, no matter if it’s a new vehicle or an old one. Car dealerships can help with this process. If a car is 3 years old, it should be inspected in the authorized centre. To register a car at one of the Customer Happiness Centres or at a Vehicle Registration and Inspection Centre or via the RTA.

The car registration is also an important process after a car purchase, no matter if it’s a new vehicle or an old one. Car dealerships can help with this process. If a car is 3 years old, it should be inspected in the authorized centre. To register a car at one of the Customer Happiness Centres or at a Vehicle Registration and Inspection Centre or via the RTA website. As mentioned earlier, the service fee for a light vehicle is AED 400 (USD 110), whilst an inspection fee for this type of car is AED 150 (USD 40). More information about the process of registering a new vehicle can be found on the RTA website.

After doing this, you will be able to obtain a registration plate if you are the owner of a new car, with a sticker where the expiry date of registration will be written. A transferred registration is applied to owners of used vehicles. Cars are re-registered each year in the UAE, and in the case you fail to re-register, you will encounter legal troubles.

What Else Is Important?

Before making a purchase, you should learn more about the car market and seasonal offers. Sometimes it’s more profitable to buy a new car from an old model than a second-hand car, especially during the holidays.

Try to estimate your budget beforehand. It’s advisable to pay a 20% deposit for a car loan by yourself. Using bank finance to pay for the down payment can lead to a difficult situation in case you take a decision to leave the country, as you will need to pay the bank much more than the value of the vehicle.

If you are interested in buying an old car, you can check if the car has been in any accident via the Emirates Vehicle Gate website. The mileage history and service history should also be taken into account.

Note: In accordance with a report from Research and Markets, a compound annual rate of 8.3% from 2021 to 2025 is expected to take place in the UAE pre-owned car market, with over 1M used cars expected to be sold by 2025.

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