Modifying your car's appearance by changing the colour or even adding your own designs is legal in the UAE - within reason and as long as you have a permit.
Changing the colour and adding designs is allowed, within reason. "You can add one, two or three colours max," explained an administrative source at the traffic and licensing department in Abu Dhabi police.
"If you make it a rainbow, how will police be able to describe it? They can't say look for a rainbow coloured car."
While some cars appear at shows with various drawings and shapes added to the bodywork, it is unlikely a permit can be acquired for that level of paint job for daily use.
"Those are usually temporary designs for certain occasions, so they don't really need a permit because the only take the car during a specific show or parade," explained the source.
If any shapes, logos, drawings or letters are to be added, then the car's owner must go to the municipality for separate permit.
"I doubt complicated drawings or designs will go through though," he added. Changing the car's paint to matt rather than metalic does not require a permit.
"If the colour remains the same as the one mentioned on the car registration, there is no need for approval."
Changing the interior of the car does not require a permit either. However, mirror-tint windows are considered illegal and will not be approved.