Rules for displaying number plates in the UAE

Dubai number plates

Unlike in other parts of the world, UAE number plates have always been a sensation, with many coveting the prestigious one-digit plates.  The Emirati number plates’ culture is a well known exorbitant affair, with prestigious number plates fetching millions of dirhams. Even though we might not be in a position to afford the VIP single-digit number plates, we must have number plates on our cars or else face stringent penalties. Whether you are looking to register new number plates or change your current plates, this wecashanycar guide will help you understand the process and requirements.


Who issues number plates in the UAE?

Number plates are usually provided during the vehicle registration process. If you are registering a new vehicle, the vehicle dealership will normally handle the entire process on your behalf. However if you want to register a used car in Dubai or any other Emirate, you must handle the registration process on your own. You also have the option of using your insurer or a dealership to undertake the registration process on your behalf. Depending on the Emirate where you register your vehicle, you can obtain your number plates from the traffic authority and vehicle licensing body in the Emirate.


Digital or smart application of number plates is available via traffic department websites of each Emirate or through the Ministry of Interior website. Dubai residents can undertake registration through the RTA Website and Ministry of Interior while residents of other Emirates can use the Emirates Vehicle Gate. Once you register the vehicle or renew your registration, you will receive your number plates as well as a vehicle ownership card (Mulkiya) and a sticker indicating the expiry date of your registration.

Process of obtaining number plates in UAE

Registering a new car in UAE and subsequently obtaining your number plates is quite straightforward. All you need is to get insurance from a registered insurer and the online or manual application for registration. Once you get these you can pay the registration fees and collect your car ownership card, the plate numbers and expiry date sticker.

Registering a used car and getting number plates in the UAE entails the following steps:-

  1. Inspection of the car to ascertain whether it is roadworthy. This is compulsory for all cars that are more than three years old and inspection is conducted in any authorised testing centres. Vehicles that fail the inspection must be repaired and repeat the test within 30 days.
  2. Obtaining insurance from a registered insurer
  3. Payment of any fine
  4. Application for registration via traffic departments and Ministries discussed above
  5. Collection of the Mulkiya and number plates.


You will need the following documents to register your vehicle:-

  1. Identification in the form of Original Emirates ID, passport copy and residence visa copy (if you are a resident)
  2. Vehicle documents which include the Vehicle Clearance Certificate, the transfer certificate, export certificate and possession certificate. If you have lost your export certificate, you will need a replacement certificate. You will also need a possession transfer certificate if you buy a used car from its previous owner
  3. If there is any loan on the car, you must electronically add the mortgage information
  4. Electronic car insurance document
  5. For companies, you must provide an official letter of authorisation in Arabic and a copy of the company trade license
  6. Old registration card if you are renewing your car registration


In addition to these documents, you will also need to present the old number plates.


Penalties for number plate violations

Display of number plates is mandatory in the UAE and there are stiff penalties for non-use and misuse of your number plates. If you are caught driving without number plates in the UAE you will be liable to pay a fine of AED 3000 and 23 black points. In addition, the vehicles involved in such violations will also be confiscated for a period of 90 days.


Drivers caught displaying a single number plate only or driving with unclear vehicle number plates will be fined AED 400 while drivers who fail to adhere to commercial vehicle number plates rules will be charged AED 500 and have their vehicles confiscated for 7days.


Special number plates

As mentioned earlier, number plates exude class and social status in the UAE and regardless of the type of car you drive, your number plates can command high respect on the road. Single digit plates and special dates number plates can be obtained from various trusted agents and RTA service centres.


The Vehicle Licensing Department in every Emirate is in charge of registering the special number plates. The RTA and Emirates Auction frequently hold auctions through which you can bid for special number plates. To buy one of these distinguished number plates you require your Emirates ID and traffic file number. For those who might not have a traffic file, you will need the following to open one:-

  • A title deed or tenancy contract
  • Proof of employment in a registered company
  • Proof of investment in UAE
  • Proof of ownership of distinguished number plates acquired before 2007


Besides the cost of the number plates, other service charges are usually levied towards obtaining special number plates. Participation in the RTA number plates auction requires a registration fee of AED 5000.


Dubai Digital number plates

In 2018, the RTA issued a directive requiring all motorists to get the new generation number plates by 2020. This move is expected to align all vehicle number plates in accordance with the new coordinated design. While the cost of upgrading your number plates will be AED 35 for short number plates and AED 50 for longer number plates, motorists who need the colored plates will have to pay an extra AED 400.


Further to these developments, Dubai is also testing smart license plates whose details can be altered digitally without any physical changes on the plates. The digital number plates will link different technologies and transport systems, making it easier for government and non government agencies to collaborate in improving safety and security in the transportation sector. Moreover, smart number plates will reduce theft of number plates and display important information such as trainee driver and insurance and vehicle registration expiry dates.


If you want to sell your used car quickly and avoid the hassle and lengthy process of registering it in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, wecashanycar can help you out.


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