Dubai is a city where people often travel long distances and owning a car becomes a necessity when navigating the city. The good news is that, overall, car prices are cheaper than in the U.S., U.K. and Europe, not to mention the considerably more favourable rates for petrol.
The idea of purchasing a car can be overwhelming for some expats living in Dubai. But the process can, in fact, be simple and efficient. Providing you do your research on the requirements and arm yourself with the necessary documents, so that you don’t get caught short at the last moment.
Some key points to consider before making the purchase are the resale value of the car, the cost of maintenance, the reputation of the dealership and if there are any promotions that can lead to significant savings. The Holy month of Ramadan is usually the best season to buy cars with car dealers offering cash back, free insurance and extended warranties and service packages.
Buying a New Car
There are a number of prerequisites to buying a car – new or pre-owned. Be sure to tick off everything in the list before you start browsing for the car of your dreams. These can include:
Only those with a valid residence visa will be allowed to apply for a UAE driving license.
Valid UAE driving license
Once you hold a residence visa, it is illegal to drive without a valid UAE license. Click here to find out if you can transfer your foreign license into a UAE license without additional tests.
To apply for a driving license, you will need:
- Passport original and copy
- Eye test
- One passport size photograph
- Valid Dubai residence visa
- NOC (No Objection Certificate) from employer/sponsor
For the large part, getting a car loan is easy if you can show steady employment (employment contract) and sufficient income (six months salary statement). However, mitigate the risks of taking out a large loan by carefully going over the terms of the loan, evaluating your ability to commit to the loan, and considering whether you should perhaps lease rather than buy a car.
You will have to show proof of insurance to your dealer to be able to take possession of the car. Use the Internet to browse for the most competitive rates. Keep in mind that is it much harder to get fully comprehensive insurance for older cars. If you think you will travel beyond the UAE borders to, for example, Oman, you will need to add a premium to your coverage.
Tasjeel, the official vehicle testing and registration company in the UAE, has 11 sites across the city where you can get your car tested and registered as road worthy. The documents you need to complete the annual registration include:
- Vehicle owner’s passport and residence visa copy
- Emirates ID card
- Existing vehicle registration card
- Insurance papers
Buying a Used Car
While the used car market in the UAE is estimated to be worth AED 11.2 billion, the pre-owned car market remains largely unregulated. In order to avoid being duped or scammed, go to an authorized dealer or study your options thoroughly.
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has some tips for those thinking of buying a used car:
- Make sure there are no fines on the vehicle
- Ensure that the vehicle is in good condition and conduct a technical inspection and safety check before purchase
- In order to maintain your rights as a buyer, hold back on paying the entire amount before completing all the needful procedures.