Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Getting your Driving License

I was supposed to write this post like many moons ago but being malas has always been the reason to procrastinate..well..until today.

Let's get to the chase, shall we? Now, if you have a Malaysian driving license you can either decide to use it or not.  You don't really get much leeway after all unless you are confident that you would pass on first strike. However, it doesn't hurt to try.  So, getting back on track, if you do have a Malaysian license:

Translate your driving license at the Institut Terjemahan Negara.  For translation services, you can contact Pn. Siti Nuraznie at the Malaysian Institute of Translation.  (I do have her contact number but feel it inappropriate to freely display it here.. so feel free to message me for it.) 
What we did was, we contacted her and scanned the documents to be translated, send it to her e-mail where she would reply with a quotation, pay her for her services, she would then translate the papers, and then set a date to collect it.  Once you have your documents (license in this case) go to Wisma Putra in Putrajaya and ask them to verify it.
Once you have done this, the remaining procedure could be done at the Malaysian Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

Advantages of translating your Malaysian driving license:
1.  You don't have to take your parking test.
2.  You will straight away go for your road test.

You will have to go to Tarif , about 120 km away from Ruwais to open up your file at the Traffic Police.  Submit your translated Malaysian driving license with a copy of your passport along with the visa stamp, a passport size photo (if you forgot to bring one, there is a small shop which provides services for photcopying and also instant photos) and a letter from the company hiring you or your spouse.

Once you have opened your file, the officer would send you to a doctor to get your eye tested just to check whether or not you're color blind.  Don't worry, the doctor's office is just 20 steps away from the registration office and the doctor was super cool man..a friendly chap.

After bringing your eye test result to the traffic police, you will then be asked to register yourself at the Emirates Driving School (the only driving school in the UAE). 


The classroom
Enroll yourself for the 2 day theory course, you can either choose to learn in Arabic, Urdu or English.  Obviously I chose English.. and once you have completed the course, there will be a written test  the following week.  As a woman, you are given the privilege to sit for the test on the nearest date as there is a maximum number of people for each tests.The males however will have to fight for the remaining seats. Hahaha...most of the males would die to get the nearest dates.

The written test is nothing to be nervous about.  If you are an experienced driver, then prior knowledge and common sense will get you there.  Mostly, the road regulations are quite similar but what may trick you is that here, we drive on the left side as compared to back home we are always driving the right way..hehehe (get the joke..we are on the right hand side so we are on the right way...hahahah..funny? no? well..hmmm..okay..)  Secondly, pay attention during your theory classes because during lessons, your instructor will pass on to you very useful tips. Thirdly, study your handbook..not religiouslylah..but just browse through it..

The handbook does come in handy!
Make sure you come for your written test..and be punctual!!!!  If something arises and you can't make it, inform the school beforehand via e-mail and set another date.  If you fail to turn up..hahaha..you have to book another test date. Free you say? Nopeeeeee... thats AED 50!
When you have passed your test, then you should prepare yourself for your road test.  Bring your test result back to the the traffic department and apply for a temporary ID card for driving that is.  If I can recall, I think this should cost you no more than AED 200. Then, once you get your temporary ID, you will also be given an appointment for your parking or road test.

For your information, the entire cost from opening your file to the written test should take you around AED 800 to AED 1000 which is relatively cheap.  I heard from some Malaysians in Dubai that these classes would cost them more than AED 3000!!

There are 2 scenarios when you have passed the written test.
A) If you declared your Malaysian driving license upon registering for the very first time at the police department:
Because you are recognized as a person with a license from Malaysia, you will directly go for the road test. Therefore, call the driving instructors, Kamal (for manual vehicles) or Javad (for automatic), of both whom are based in Mirfa which is located just 20 minutes before Tarif, for some driving lessons.  I would advise you to take the lessons in Mirfa despite the long travel because your actual driving test would be held there.  So, it is better to familiarize yourself to the roads and traffic in Mirfa.
Each driving lessons would cost you AED 50 for manual and AED 60  per hour for automatic cars.  My say is that going for 4 to 6 hours of lessons should suffice depending on your confidence level.
Come early for your test.  Bring your temporary card and appointment sheet and submit it to the traffic department in Tarif.  The road test, as I have said, would be done in Mirfa.  A bus is provided to bring all candidates to the venue.  There will be two police officers with you in the car.  One in the passenger's seat while the other at the back.  It is not easy peasy lemon squeezy as they will really look at your driving skills at every angle..hence the two officers!  One silly mistake..then, they will tell you to stop the car and then you're out!
If you passed the test..mabrook..mabrook..the officers will sign your test form and take your temporary ID.  Go back to the traffic department, bring the test result and apply for your driving license.  They will serve you with sweets and a smile!. Your picture will be taken for the license. Pay AED 200 and you will get your 10 years driving license!  Voila!
On the other hand, if you did not pass the test, well, then you have to go back to the traffic department and apply for your parking test before you can do your road test the second time.  
I am not sure if they will be smiling or offering sweets and all because I passed my road test the first time as well.. hahahhahaha.. gloat gloat gloat again..

NOTE:  It is not easy to pass the road test as the police officers are VERY stringent in assessing! 
(Amat Apis sayang..do you get the underlining meaning???? Do you ..do you?? Hahahahha)

B) If you did not declare your Malaysian driving license and played dumb and fragile as I did or have never had a license before, then you will have to take a parking test:
Call Mr Abdul Rahman in Ruwais and go for parking lessons.  His fees are the same as the above.  But for parking, 2 or 3 hours is sufficient..in fact 3 hours is more than enough unless you are a beginner.  For parking, practising in Ruwais is okay because what you need is the technique unlike for road test, you would need both the technique and road familiarization.
I passed my written test some time in October but the parking test was scheduled for me in December.  You can opt to bring forward your test date for a fee of AED 50. 
Come early for your test.  Bring your temporary card and appointment sheet and submit it to the traffic department in Tarif.  For parking tests, the test would be done in Tarif..just beside the driving school.  My husband and daughter was there to cheer for me!
If you pass your parking test, alhamdulillah.  Go back to the traffic department to get an appointment for your road test.  If you failed, then try again and again and again.  
I passed mine the first time..hahahah (gloat gloat gloat). 
After passing your parking test, then you will have to go for your road test.  Procedures are as in  paragraph A.

That's about it I guess.  To be frank and never to gloat..seriously.., the most gruelling part about the experience was never the tests but actually the long journey from Ruwais to Tarif and Mirfa for both the classes. driving practices and tests.  And again, I am lucky and blessed to have such a wonderful husband who diligently sent me and waited for me throughout the entire time although he was considerably tired...I am so indebted to him.  I guess it is because of this that Allah made me fortunate enough to pass in the first attempt for both tests.  Alhamdulillah..

My Enche Amat just came home, read this post and informed me that the Traffic And Licensing Department will be implementing new rules.
They are:
1.  Now, there is a mandatory 20 hours (if he is not mistaken) of driving practice before you are able to take the road test.
2.  When this is implemented..hahahaha...you better save up now..it would roughly cost you another AED 1000 just for classes..pheww...glad I took mine already!


Wan Sharif said...

Alhamdulillah.. Now En. Amat can also rely on you to drive around when he is not available.. Heard in Saudi woman can not drive!

Anonymous said...

wahh too much work..we only used our International License here, thank god!(depa tataupun benda alah tu tp ada tulis Algeria kt list tu kira ok aa)even the license oredi expired pun depa tatau nk cek..muahahah!

R.A.S said...

Ayoh Wang,
Alhamdulillah..yes, insyaallah..if i am able then I will.
Saudi is a very strict country..even in terms of dressing is controlled unlike what you can see here in the UAE. We are lucky that AMat Apis had declined the offer from Saudi coz I don't think I will survive being confined to the strict regulations that they have imposed. But naturally, it is for the betterment of the people ler kan..

R.A.S said...

Che Sue..yes..too much work..International License hanya laku if you do not have a residence visa. So, slim chanceler for me.
HAhahah...that terrible eh the administration in Algiers..wonder how you survive.

Peter Patrick said...


This is a great post. Thanks for sharing this information. This is true that driving makes your life more comfortable and convenient, but if you drive recklessly or without proper training it can harm you and other people around you. So it is really very important that which driving institution give you the proper training.

We are introduce a driving school which is the greatest place for driving training.

Driving Schools A to Z

Uncle Yee said...

Hi There, indeed a useful post.

Me and my wife will be moving to AD in Q3.

For the translated license, is it the domestic license or you have it converted to the International Driving Permit at JPJ?

Secondly, Wisma Putra is the Ministry of Foreign and Affair?

Hope to hear from you!

Many Thanks!

R.A.S said...

Uncle Yee,
To the first question, it is the domestic license that you have to translate.

And yes to the second question.


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jhannah said...

Hi! Thanks for your useful blogs on living in ruwais! :) can you recommend driving instructors in the area for practice driving before taking the road test. I opened my file in abu dhabi but will be transferring to ruwais in a week or so.

Hoping to hear from you,

Many thanks,

R.A.S said...

hi Jhannah
Sorry for the late reply. Have you managed to get the number yet? If not, do leave me your-3 email add.