x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

International licence warning to drivers

Motorists told to make sure their licence is genuine

ABU DHABI // Motorists who plan to drive overseas using an international driving licence are being warned to check it is genuine.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) and the Automobile Touring Club UAE (ATCUAE) launched a campaign yesterday aimed at drivers who have an international licence.

Dr Nasser Saif Al Mansoori, director general of the NTA, sent out a fresh warning that counterfeit international driving licences can create major problems for those driving rental or private cars abroad.

Mohammed ben Sulayem, president of the ATCUAE, said: "People ... must be aware that using an unofficial international driving licence means that, in the event of an accident, their insurance becomes invalid."

Every year the touring club issues about 20,000 international driving licences to holders of UAE licences.

An official licence costs Dh150 and is valid for one year. Mr Al Mansoori said there are plans for a three-year licence..

It is not uncommon for both organisations to be contacted by Interpol to check if a driving licence obtained from a UAE-based motorist is genuine.

The UAE-issued international licence has the logos of the ATCUAE and the NTA as well as holograms, Mr ben Sulayem said.

Mr Al Mansoori said the NTA has also been contacted by local car rental companies looking to verify international licences issued by other countries.

A number of countries now allow visitors to use their home country's licence when driving abroad, but the ATCUAE said an international licence was advisable to avoid language problems.

"To ensure that insurance cover is valid, it is proof that the holder has a valid driving licence in their own country," Mr ben Sulayem said.

The UAE-issued international licence is printed in eight languages. "This helps overcome language barriers between drivers and police, while the document can also be a useful form of ID if they lose a passport," Mr ben Sulayem said.

UAE licence holders can apply for an international driving licence at ATCUAE offices in Dubai.

eharnan@thenational.ae