With car prices so cheap in Dubai, very few expats import their own cars into the country. Selling your car before you come and buying a new one once you arrive can save you a lot of time, effort and sometimes money. Cars which are bought and sold in Dubai are manufactured according to Gulf specifications. They have more powerful air conditioners, engine cooling systems and radiators. Most cars manufactured for overseas markets will have difficulty coping with the severe summer temperatures. You should also bear in mind the fact that you can only drive left hand drive cars on the roads in the U.A.E. In previous years restrictions have been in place only allowing the import of newer cars. Limits of ten years and five years have been set in the past. Currently no such restrictions are in place, but you should check with your shipping company prior to shipping. Up-to-date information can be obtained by checking with the Roads and Transport Authority(Tel: 8009090).
If you do decide to import, you will have to pay a 5% import duty on the value of your car when you come through customs. The shipping company you choose will be able to advise you on procedures and the necessary paperwork from your country of origin. International shippers include:
International Car Shipping
Auto Car Shippers
After your car arrives in the country, you will be given a green registration slip which you must take, with the car, to the nearest Tasjeel office. Tasjeel is a one stop car testing and registration center. The main one is located on Sheikh Zayed Road, just before you get to the Mall of the Emirates. As your car will not be registered at this point, you cannot drive it on the roads. You will need to arrange for it to be taken on a recovery truck. Once at Tasjeel, they will check the following:
- the car
- its chassis number
- your ownership papers
- the bill of lading from where it was exported
- the green registration slip from customs
- your passport with a valid residence visa.
Once this is complete, your car will be treated like any other car and must be insured and registered in the usual way (see the section about buying a car).
One thing to remember is that you cannot register a car in Dubai unless you have a residence visa. This normally takes about one month to come through. If you are importing a car, make sure that you get the timing right.