Travel guides such as Frommer's and Lonely Planet agree that renting a car is the most convenient and sensible way to get around in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but renting a car was once a serious hassle because UAE law required an international driver's license. This is no longer the case, making renting a car in the UAE much easier. However, if you intend to drive the car over the UAE's land borders, be prepared for additional complications.

Review the rates and available vehicles through the websites of car rental agencies operating in the UAE. A number of international chains, such as Avis, Budget and Thrifty, are all present in the UAE, offering familiar service and terms. Chose an agency to work with.

Reserve a car with your chosen agency, either through its website or by calling them directly. This is the only way to ensure having the car you want when you want it, and online bookings usually offer discounted rates.

Arrive at the appointed time and place with your state driver's license, a credit card, and print-outs to prove you have an alternative source of rental car insurance if you are not using the rental car agency's insurance. Fill out the relevant forms and leave an imprint of your credit card as a deposit.

Inform the agency if you intend to visit Oman with the rental car, and take out additional insurance if this is the case. This is required for rental cars in the UAE.

Things You Will Need
  • Valid driver's license

  • Credit card


A U.S. driver's license is valid in the UAE, but only for non-resident visitors. If you have a residency visa, such as might be the case for students or those in the UAE in business, you must get either a local driver's license or already have an international driver's license.

Consult your personal auto insurance policy and/or credit card terms and benefits to see if either or both extends rental car insurance to the United Arab Emirates. You may be eligible for insurance automatically through your existing car insurance policy, or through the credit card used to rent the vehicle.