Posted by: Noni | August 6, 2008

International Drivers Permit for Dubai

From Gold Rush to Grid Lock!

On my my list of must dos in preparation to move to a foreign country; Get proper documentation to drive. I’m fortunate that I took the time to read the “fine print” on requirements for driving in Dubai. I figured no problem, I’ll go to AAA and get a IDP… Here’s what I found in the FAQ section on the AAA website :

I have a U.S. driver’s license, but I am a citizen of another country. Where should I obtain an IDP?

The IDP must be issued in the same country that issued the driver’s license. In the case of a driver’s license being issued in the United States, the IDP must also be issued in the United States. Contact your nearest AAA office to obtain an IDP.

Further investigation led me to information which saved me from being doomed to buses and taxis for months. (As I write this i began to think… What’s the traffic like in Dubai?) I heard that the traffic was crazy and the drivers worse… I decided to look on Google Images, I type in Dubai traffic… from what came up, it’s not looking so good. I guess the rumors are true.

So, back to the issue of driving in Dubai; in order to rent a car you’re required to have an international drivers permit. However, the permit must be issued from the country that issued your passport. Now this may seem like a no-brainer for most of you, but I happen to have two passports.

So what! How can that be a problem? Well, I hold both a Canadian and a UK passport, but my drivers license is from the state of California (where I have been living and driving the past 12 yrs) I can easily get a permit from AAA but I can’t use it in Dubai because it must also match my passport.

Solution – Head home to Canada, reinstate my license which expired in 1999  by surrendering my California permit and paying the $75 fee.  Then 7-10 days later I will receive my permanent card which can be taken to BCAA (British Columbia Auto Assoc) with 2 passport style photos and $15 and viola!  IDP that matches my Canadian passport.  I doubt I will ever drive in the UK but the permit will allow me to drive in most countries in the world.  The IDP is valid for one year from date of issue.

As for the traffic?  Well, as long as I have air conditioning and my ipod…


  1. Good to know for when I come over, thanks honey don’t forget to remind me!!!


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