Drive in Bahrain with a UAE License and Conversion Process

can i drive in bahrain with uae driving license

Drive in Bahrain with a UAE License – This is a common query among UAE residents planning a visit or a move to Bahrain. The good news is, yes, you can drive in Bahrain with a valid UAE license.

However, the specifics depend on your stay’s nature and visa status. We will provide you with a comprehensive guide that will walk you through the process of driving in Bahrain with a UAE license, from its validity for short visits to the detailed process of converting it to a Bahraini license for more extended stays or employment.

Driving in Bahrain with UAE License

Regarding the question, “Can you drive in Bahrain with a UAE License?” the answer is a resounding yes, and you don’t even need an international driving permit from UAE. The validity of your UAE license in Bahrain depends mainly on your visa type.

Driving on a Visit Visa

Your UAE driving license is valid if you’re in Bahrain on a visit visa. This means you can drive rented and private vehicles without additional paperwork or procedures. This provision makes it convenient for tourists and short-term visitors from the UAE to drive in Bahrain without any hassles.

Driving with Permanent Work Visa

However, the scenario changes if you’re in Bahrain on an employment visa or have applied for permanent residency. In this case, you must apply for a new Bahrain driving license.

The good news is that the Bahrain Licensing authorities will provide this license without a driving test as long as you have a valid UAE driving license. This quick and efficient conversion process ensures that you can continue driving legally while living and working in Bahrain.

Converting UAE License to Bahrain License: Requirements

If you plan to drive in Bahrain with a UAE license on an employment visa, you’ll need to convert your UAE license to a Bahraini one. This process requires some specific documents and steps. Here’s what you need to know:

Required Documents

To begin the process of converting your UAE license to a Bahraini one, you’ll need to gather the following documents:

  • A copy of your CPR (Central Population Registry) card, both front and back
  • A copy of your valid UAE driving license, both front, and back
  • A passport copy (only if asked for it)
  • One passport-size photograph

These documents form the basis of your application and will need to be submitted at the time of application.

Availability and Age Requirement

The Driving License Issuing office, i.e., the General Directorate of Traffic in Isa Town, is open from:

Sunday to Thursday, 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM, and on 

Saturday from 7:00 AM – 1:00 PM.

The minimum age requirement for applying for a driving license in Bahrain is 18 years.

Step-by-Step Process for License Conversion

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary documents, you’re ready to begin the process of converting your UAE license to a Bahraini one. Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide to help you navigate this process:

Step 1: Visit the Driving License Issuing Office

Your first stop should be the Driving License Issuing office, i.e., the General Directorate of Traffic, located in Isa Town. Make sure to bring your original UAE driving license, CPR, and passport.

Step 2: Obtain and Fill Out the Application Form

At the information counter, present your original documents. The staff will verify them and provide you with an application form. Fill out this form with your details.

Step 3: Undergo an Eye Test

With the filled-out form, please return it to the counter. The staff will direct you to the eye testing area. Once you’ve completed the eye test and received the stamp of approval, return it to the information counter.

Step 4: Receive a Token for the Licensing Department

You’ll be issued a token at the information counter to see the Licensing Department staff. Attach the required documents mentioned earlier to your filled-out form and wait for your token number to be called.

Step 5: Make the Payment

When your token number is called, present your documents for review. After this, you’ll be asked to deposit BD 26.500 to the machine near the information area, or you can pay directly through a card-swiping machine.

Step 6: Receive Your Bahraini Driving License

In less than 10 minutes, you’ll receive your Bahrain-issued driving license along with a driving manual from Bahrain. Please note that your UAE-issued driving license will be retained and replaced with the Bahrain-issued one.

Important Notes

It’s crucial to note that your foreign driving license should be valid at the time of application. However, if you’re a citizen of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries, an expired driving license will be accepted as long as the expiration period is at most 6 months. 

For heavy truck licenses from the GCC, the driver must be above 25 years old and employed as a heavy truck driver.

Renting a Car in Bahrain with a UAE License

If you’re visiting Bahrain and plan to rent a car, you might wonder, “Can I rent a car and drive in Bahrain with a UAE license?” The answer is yes, you can. Here’s what you need to know:

Drive in Bahrain with a UAE License

Eligibility to Rent a Car

If you’re in Bahrain on a visit visa, you can rent a car using your valid UAE driving license. This is a convenient option for UAE residents in Bahrain for a short-term visit who prefer the flexibility of driving around.

Choosing a Rental Company

Numerous car rental companies in Bahrain cater to international visitors. When choosing a rental company, it’s important to compare prices, check reviews, and understand the terms and conditions of the rental agreement. Most companies require a copy of your valid UAE driving license, passport, and credit card.

Understanding the Rental Agreement

Before signing the rental agreement, ensure you understand all the terms and conditions. This includes the rental period, mileage limit, insurance coverage, and fuel policy. It’s also important to check the car’s condition before you drive off.

Driving Rules and Regulations

While you can drive in Bahrain with a UAE license, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the local driving rules and regulations. Although they are similar to those in the UAE, there are some differences that drivers should be aware of to avoid fines or penalties.

Tips for Driving in Bahrain

If you’re planning to drive in Bahrain with a UAE license, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the local driving rules and customs. Here are some essential tips:

Understanding the Rules and Regulations

Bahrain has specific rules and regulations for drivers. Here are some important ones:

  • Drive on the right-hand side.
  • Seatbelts are compulsory for the driver and all passengers.
  • Using mobile phones while driving is prohibited unless you have a hands-free set attached.
  • Drinking and driving is strictly prohibited.
  • At roundabouts, give right of way to vehicles already inside.
  • It is not permitted to turn right at a red traffic light.
  • Drivers who flash their vehicle’s high-beam headlights usually do so because they want to pass.
  • Parking on the road is not permitted except in marked bays.

Speed Limits

Speed limits vary depending on the type of road:

  • Within city limits: 60 kph (37 mph)
  • Outside city limits: 80-100 kph (50-62 mph)
  • Motorways: 120 kph (75 mph)

Additional Information

  • Always carry your driver’s license with you.
  • Move your vehicle off the road for non-injury accidents and call the police. An accident report must be filed within 24 hours of the accident.
  • Road signs are written in both Arabic and English languages.

With these tips in mind, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience when driving in Bahrain with a UAE license.

As a seasoned driver in the United Arab Emirates, I, Waheed Akhtar, share my experiences and knowledge to help others navigate the roads of this beautiful country safely and confidently.


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