A Comparative Analysis of Driving Licenses in the UAE and Pakistan

Acquiring a driving license is a crucial step towards mobility and independence in today’s fast-paced world. In this article, we will compare the process, costs, and accident rates associated with driving licenses in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Pakistan, providing insight into the driving culture and regulations in these two countries.

Driving License Ownership

In Pakistan, according to the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), around 7.5 million people possess driving licenses, representing approximately 3.5% of the total population. In contrast, the UAE has a higher proportion of driving license holders, with an estimated 80% of the eligible population (aged 18 and above) holding a valid driving license, as per the Federal Traffic Council.

Driving License Charges

The cost of obtaining a driving license in Pakistan varies by province and category of license. For example, in Punjab province, a learner’s permit costs PKR 60 (approximately USD 0.36), while a regular license costs PKR 750-1500 (approximately USD 4.60-9.20), depending on the vehicle type. Additional charges apply for medical tests, driving lessons, and practical tests.

In the UAE, the cost of obtaining a driving license is significantly higher. Applicants must enroll in a driving school, which can cost anywhere between AED 4,500-7,000 (approximately USD 1,225-1,905) for a complete course, including theory lessons, practical lessons, and tests. The actual driving license fee is AED 200 (approximately USD 54), but other charges such as knowledge test fees, driving test fees, and learning permit fees can add to the overall cost.

Driving License Process

In Pakistan, the driving license process involves the following steps:

  1. Obtain a learner’s permit by submitting an application form, medical certificate, and the required fee.
  2. Attend a mandatory driving course at a government-approved driving school or learn from a licensed driver.
  3. After the learning period (usually 42 days), take a driving test at the local traffic police center.
  4. Upon passing the test, submit the necessary documents, including the learner’s permit, to obtain a regular driving license.

In the UAE, the driving license process is more structured and stringent:

  1. Enroll in a government-approved driving school and obtain a learning permit.
  2. Complete the required number of theory lessons and pass the knowledge test.
  3. Complete the required number of practical driving lessons, followed by an internal assessment by the driving school.
  4. Pass the final road test conducted by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
  5. Upon passing the test, submit the necessary documents to obtain a driving license.

Accident Ratios

Pakistan has a high rate of road accidents, with an estimated 35,000 fatalities and 50,000 injuries annually, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. The primary causes of these accidents include poor road infrastructure, lack of traffic law enforcement, and inadequate driver training.

In comparison, the UAE has a significantly lower accident rate, with 3.5 fatalities per 100,000 population in 2020, according to the Ministry of Interior. The UAE government has implemented strict traffic regulations, rigorous driving tests, and comprehensive public awareness campaigns to reduce the number of accidents.


The comparison between driving licenses in the UAE and Pakistan reveals significant differences in the process, costs, and accident rates. The UAE has a more structured and rigorous approach to driver training and testing, resulting in a higher percentage of driving license holders and a lower accident rate. On the other hand, Pakistan has a more accessible but less structured process, leading to a lower percentage of driving license

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