Even besides ever more popular metro, the driving in Dubai remains the most convenient means of transportation.
While tourists and people on visit visas can drive with International Driving License from their original country, the UAE residents have to have a valid UAE driving license.
For some lucky people coming from the below countries, getting UAE driving license is relatively easy. They take their (home country) driving license, passport and a letter from their sponsor (employer), go to the Police station and a hour or so later and 300 dhs poorer they come out with the driving license. These lucky guys (and girls) come from one of the following countries: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg , Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States.
The rest of the world has to go through the painful process of additional driving classes and passing a UAE driving test in one of the driving schools to authenticate their home country’s driving license. The process can take few months and costs couple of thousands of dirhams.
To us who need to do these extra steps this might not sound fair, however those measures are part of initiative that UAE government came up in their attempts to increase road safety. I guess we can just bear it and hope this helps them reach that goal!