Buying A Car In The UAE: Main Things Expats Need To Know

For residents who live permanently in the UAE, having their own car makes life much easier. It is also worth noting that public transport is well developed only in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. And in any case, having your own wheels adds mobility and independence from the bus and metro schedule. Therefore, if you are going to become a resident of this country, you should think about purchasing your own auto.

It is quite simple to buy a car for your own needs, as well as to sell it. Car maintenance (repair, refuelling) is not too expensive in the United Arab Emirates. In general, there is no reason to be inconvenienced by using public transport and refuse to buy your own vehicle. 

How to buy a car in the UAE?

The United Arab Emirates is a country where bureaucracy has been successfully defeated in all spheres. Purchasing and registering a car is no exception. The main difficulty is to choose the best option among the abundance of variants. The registration process and insurance will not take much time.

Conditions for purchasing

The procedure for buying a car is not associated with any special difficulties in the Emirates. But it has a number of nuances that motorists need to take into account.

Where to buy

The car market in the United Arab Emirates is full. So it will not be difficult to find a car that will suit you in all respects: price, model, year of manufacture, technical condition, etc. Residents who want the greatest choice can visit one of the major car markets. Abu Shagara in Sharjah and Al Awir (or Al Aweer) in Dubai are the leaders. 


The UAE car market has autos not only for every taste but also for every budget. Many factors affect the cost of a car: model, year of manufacture, condition, seller’s requests, mediators, etc. If you buy a car directly from the owner, then the price will be lower, because no middleman wants to get a percentage.

Remember that bargaining is possible and necessary in the Arab market. So feel free to beat the price by pointing out the car drawbacks and pretending that you do not really need it.

Formalities and Procedures

Once you have purchased a car, you need to register it. Do not delay the registration procedure. You are unlikely to be stopped by a police officer to check your documents, but you will run into problems if you become a participant in an accident. Then, in any case, you will have to call the police. And if it turns out that you are driving an unregistered car, you will face at least a fine.

Car registration procedure 

The new owner of the vehicle must take care of the registration procedure. If the car is not new, then it will have to pass an inspection. You hand over the old license plate, undergo technical inspection, get the new license plate. The whole procedure will take you no more than an hour. Prices for these services are constantly changing, so be prepared to take some extra money.

If you want to leave the old license plate, you can warn the civil servant about this. Otherwise, it will be replaced. Also, you need to provide a sales contract, your local driving license, a passed technical inspection document (if the car is not new) and an insurance policy.

Car insurance 

The car will not be registered if you have not paid for insurance. There are many insurance companies in the UAE. So it will not be difficult to choose the right one in terms of price and offered conditions. The cost of insurance depends on your driving experience, the car price and the availability of a deductible.

Who is not allowed to become a car owner?

Even if you have enough money to buy a car in the United Arab Emirates, you may not become the owner of it. That is, you can buy this car, but you cannot register it. The fact is that when registering a vehicle, you will need to show your local driving license. If tourists, having rented a car, can drive with an international driving license, residents are required to complete driving courses, pass exams and obtain a document in order to drive around the city. 

Having your own car is great. Getting across the city this way is much more convenient than using public transport. Just imagine how much time you will save, and how many things you can do!

Unlike countries where many motorists are hesitant to buy a car because the cost of gasoline and repair work exceeds their income, no one in the UAE faces such problems. The local road surface is simply flawless. You will not find old cars in poor condition, so you should not worry about frequent repairs. However, if you understand that there is no point in buying an auto, then you can rent, for instance, Suzuki from one of the local companies and run your errands. 

We wish you the best of luck and drive safely!