How to Import Vehicles into the UAE?

Importing a car in the UAE is not just possible, it is quite a smooth process if you follow the proper guidelines. There are certain requirements and regulations that more or less remain the same for all emirates. It is easier to import newer cars but not entirely impossible to get older cars. There is a lot to learn about the process and this guide covers all the important aspects. Let’s start with the criteria.


Any UAE resident can import a car that is less than 10 years old. However, for a vehicle older than that, you will require special permits from the concerned authorities, such as the Road and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai. Also, importing left-steering cars is recommended as you can drive a right-hand drive car in the UAE only if is its 25 years or older. The car must not be damaged in any way before being imported.


Before you start the process of importing your vehicle in the UAE, make sure you have the following documents in place:
  • Original invoice of the car that proves ownership and value
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Original and copies of your passport, visa and driving license
  • Original shipping receipt
  • Credit to pay the custom fees
If you have the documents, you can follow these steps to begin the importing process.



Once the imported car reaches the UAE, it goes through the clearance process. The clearance happens at the entry points like Jebel Ali Free Zone, Port Rashid or Port Zayed depending on the emirate. Once the authorities approve the vehicle after inspection, you will pay a fee to them. This fee amounts to 5% of the vehicle’s worth in the UAE.
The clearance of imported cars in the UAE happens at different entry points depending on the Emirate

After the fee is paid, they will issue you a clearance certificate after the payment of customs duties. This may amount to around AED 4,700 (this is an estimate and the amount varies slightly depending on the country of origin). You will pay another AED 700 for the container inspection.

You must pay this amount upfront for the vehicle release at the port’s customs inspection office. When it is cleared, they will give you blue export plates to attach to the bumpers. The plates cost AED 60 with an additional sum of AED 10 to procure the clearance certificate paper.


Once your car has been cleared, the next step is to get it tested. Before you go to any vehicle testing centres in Dubai or other emirates, get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Industry Department at the Ministry of Finance and Industry by submitting the clearance certificate.

At the vehicle testing centre, the durability and safety of an imported car is tested

There are various vehicle testing areas all over the UAE. The three government-approved vehicle testing centres are:
  • Tamam
  • Tasjeel
  • Al Shamil

The documents required for vehicle testing are:

  • Original and copies of Emirates ID, passport and driving licence
  • Import documents
  • Custom clearance certificate
Vehicle testing adds to the cost of importing a car in the UAE. For cars imported from the GCC region, the fee starts from AED 120. However, for cars from areas other than GCC, the inspection cost is around AED 450. This fee varies slightly between different centres.

At the vehicle testing centre, several tests are run on the car to gauge its durability and safety of the road. Once declared fit to be driven on the UAE roads, it is time to move to the next step.


There are several companies in the UAE that will insure your imported car. The insurance quotes vary depending on the vehicle type and the insurance company. You will require the following documents for the insurance of imported cars in the UAE:

* Driving licence, passport and Emirates ID
* Vehicle inspection report


Once you receive your car insurance, the next step is to get your imported car registered with the DLD. You will need the following for registration:

  • Proof of purchase
  • Blue export number plates
  • Completed application form
  • Insurance documents
  • Original driving license, passport and visa (bring copies too)
  • Customs clearance letter
  • Residency proof (rental contract or utility bill) along with visa
  • Vehicle inspection clearance
Once your documents and proofs are approved and checked, you will receive a registration card and white number plates for your vehicle. Keep the registration card in your vehicle at all times.

Once your imported car is registered, you will receive a white number plate for your vehicle

These are the steps you need to follow for car import in the UAE. In case, it is not possible for you to import a vehicle of your choice from another country, you can always buy used cars in the UAE at affordable prices.

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