Regarding Dubai specifically, this process differs between those visiting and those who are residents and citizens.
If you are visiting Dubai and wish to rent a vehicle, it is advisable to apply for an international driving permit.
If you are a resident in Dubai, the process of converting a pre-existing driving license issued in another country varies depending on your nationality. There is no requirement to take a driving test if you are a license-holder from one of the following 35 countries to attain a UAE driver’s license.
AUSTRALIA, BELGIUM, SPAIN, FRANCE, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ITALY, GERMANY, DENMARK, CHINA, SWITZERLAND, LATVIA, ROMANIA, THE NETHERLANDS, SERBIA, SLOVAKIA, IRELAND, AUSTRIA, GREECE, SWEDEN, LUXEMBOURG, POLAND, SINGAPORE, CANADA, TURKEY, NORWAY, NEW ZEALAND, JAPAN, SOUTH AFRICA, FINLAND, HUNGARY, PORTUGAL, LITHUANIA, HONG KONG, KOREA, UK.
It is worth noting that Canadian citizens require a letter from the consulate. Also, licenses from the following countries will need to be translated:
Greece, Canada, Poland, Turkey, Japan, and Korea will also be required to get a translated copy of their driving license.
If you are not from one of the countries mentioned above, you will need to complete a driving test to get a UAE driving license.