Transferring Car Ownership in Dubai: All You Need to Know

A 4-step Guide for a Hassle-Free Transfer of Car Ownership in Dubai

You decided to buy a new car and are wondering how to deal with vehicle registration and ownership transfer in Dubai? This short to-do list will save you from chasing papers and wasting time when registering the vehicle in your name.
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Buying a new car is a thrilling experience, but it often ends in a lot of paperwork-induced headaches. Which documents do you need to change the car's ownership and register it in your name in Dubai? Are there any extra costs? How do you know you are not inheriting unpaid Salik charges from the previous owner? The questions just keep buzzing in.
If you’re thinking of skipping the vehicle registration, don’t — unless you have an extra AED 3,000 to spare. Yup, you got that well: failing to produce a valid car registration when pulled over by the police will cost you a hefty fine. Surely, you can find some better way of spending that money.
So you want to know how to deal with it quickly and easily?
We got that sorted out for you. Just keep reading.
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1. Before the ownership transfer meeting
A wise man once said: "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." The same goes for dealing with car ownership transfer in Dubai. The diligence that you and the seller put in collecting all the necessary paperwork beforehand will directly impact the time it will take you to transfer the ownership at the designated office. Make sure both you and the seller follow this prep list to avoid unnecessary running back and forth at a later stage.
What does the seller need to do?
Settle the bills
Before the actual vehicle ownership transfer, make sure that the seller pays any outstanding fines or Salik toll charges. This can be done easily since in 2020, most of them can be paid online via RTA's website.
Next, if the seller has a car loan, he will have to pay it back and get the repayment confirmation letter from the bank. If you negotiated to take over the loan from the current seller, you would also need to visit the bank issuing the loan and get a no-objection letter, as well.
Have the car checked by a pro
Finally, the seller will need to have the car inspected by an authorised RTA centre and obtain a certificate proving that the vehicle is in good driving condition. This paper is valid for 30 days, so make sure that the buyer does not make the inspection too much ahead of time.
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The seller's paperwork checklist
At the car ownership transfer, the seller will need to bring the following documents:
  • The car registration card, also known as mulkiya
  • Emirates ID
  • Passport & Residence visa
  • A letter from the bank confirming the loan repayment (if applicable)
  • The certificate from the RTA mandated inspection attesting the car's condition
Important: there are some rumours that photocopies of visas and/or certificates may be accepted, but we recommend not to risk. Always bring original documents.
What do you need to do?
Get new car insurance
As a buyer, you have fewer things to worry about before the ownership transfer. The most important is to get new insurance for the vehicle. The second thing is to prepare the money for the transaction (of course). It can be either cash or a cheque issued by your bank.
Your paperwork checklist
At the vehicle transfer rendezvous, these are the documents you should bring along:
  • Emirates ID
  • Passport
  • Proof of residence, e.g. a copy of your Ejari contract
  • Valid UAE driving license
  • Car insurance certificate
Again, don't risk by bringing along photocopies. Always take the original documents with you.
2. On the day of your car ownership transfer
Pick the place
There are several places in Dubai where you can transfer the car ownership and get new car registration in your name. Head to the Dubai Traffic Police headquarters, or book a visit at any centre authorised by the RTA, such as Tasjeel.
What happens at the car registration office
Fill in your application form, which you can get at the typing centre of the office you’ve chosen. Then, head over to the registration desk, where you will submit the application and all the other documents listed above.
The clerk will process all the data and issue a new car registration card in your name.
Give a photocopy of the new registration card to the seller: he will need to send it to his insurance company to prove that the car is not registered in his name anymore.
3. The cost
There are two additional tabs you'll need to pick up when transferring the vehicle's ownership:
The service fee
The processing and issuing of the new car registration will set you back by AED 400, which you have to pay when finalising the registration at a Tasjeel branch.
Fancy a plate?
Unless you've agreed otherwise with the seller, you'll need to get new plates for your car, as well. Here is where you can let your imagination run free. A standard set of plates will cost you AED 35 or AED 50, depending on whether you opt for the short plate or the longer version. But you can also decide to go for the Dubai-branded or the deluxe versions, which will knock you back an extra AED 400 and AED 500, respectively.
4. If you’re buying a car from another Emirate
Keep in mind that you can register the vehicle only in the Emirate you are residing in. This is because there are two different traffic systems in the UAE – the Federal system, and the independent system in each of the Emirates.
So if you live in Dubai and planning on buying a car in Abu Dhabi, the process of transferring the car ownership will be slightly different. In this case, the seller will first need to cancel the registration in the Emirate where he is resident. Doing so, that the car will lose its current plates. Since there are no "temporary" plates available in the UAE, you will need to load the vehicle on a towing truck and transport it to Dubai to have it registered here.
The towing service will cost you around AED 500. Or, if you get it insured with our Beema comprehensive pay-per-kilometre insurance, it’s free: we’ll take care of picking up the car and sending it to the registration office for you. 😉
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In conclusion
The process of transferring vehicle ownership in Dubai has its peculiarities, but it's far from being complicated. If you stick to the plan and follow our checklist, the visit to the car registration office will last less than five minutes. If you fail to follow the plan, well, buckle up for quite some back-and-forth running. The registration clerk will not process your ownership transfer unless you've produced all the necessary paperwork.
Lastly, when budgeting the purchase of your new car, set aside some money in your piggy bank for these additional costs:
  • Registration processing (AED 400)
  • Plates (AED 35 – AED 500, depending on the type)
  • Towing the car from another Emirate – if applicable (AED 500. Or free, with Beema).
  • And of course – car insurance 😉 (click here, and we'll get you a great price in just a few clicks)