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How to buy cars from UAE?

To the UAE’s high standard of living, safety and comfortable climate, it is safe to add another advantage: a developed used car market. Cars in the UAE are cheaper than in the US or the UK, with service being very affordable – these are the first two factors that contribute to the saturation of the market with vehicles. An additional factor is the large number of expatriates and expats who also become a constant source of used cars.

The UAE has a well-developed network of dealers specializing in the sale of used cars. Most of these companies offer a service warranty, insurance and even installments – all the same as when buying new cars. 

Features of Buying Used Cars in the UAE

To buy a used car on your own, you most often visit the Dubai and Sharjah markets. How much time do I need to spend looking for a used car? Sometimes one day is enough, but in some cases it may take a week to find a suitable car. A lot depends on the make and model and the purchase budget.

The registration of a used car takes no more than one day. In the case of a new vehicle, it may take up to 3 days. As for cash, you can bring an unlimited amount in the UAE, but for security reasons it is better to use traveler’s checks or wire transfer (it takes 1 to 3 days to credit the money). 

Documents for the car are issued only after full payment of its cost. A used car can be registered to an individual or a legal entity. The latter may be granted certain benefits. 

If you are buying a car on your own, be sure to check that the vehicle does not have re-export documents. If they are present, the seller may demand a refundable deposit of 5-6% of the vehicle’s value from the buyer before the car is shipped. The latter can only be refunded once the vehicle is on board the ship and the re-export documents are processed at UAE customs (this may take up to 2 weeks). 

If you buy a car from a company that provides comprehensive services, i.e. a turnkey car (delivery, paperwork), you can avoid all this. You can buy a car from the UAE at an online auction (go to the catalog). It is safe, fast and will require minimal involvement from you – the buyer’s task is only to choose the right car. Given the range of vehicles at the car auction – it will not be difficult to do this. 

When buying a car on your own, make a contract and register the car for the same person, then the buyer will have all the documents confirming the transaction during customs clearance. After the paperwork is completed, the buyer must have:

  • contract (original);
  • a check confirming payment;
  • the invoice for the car;
  • a copy of the certificate in English and Arabic (the original certificate is sent with the car).

To clear customs, you will need an invoice and a copy of the certificate. Sometimes you may be asked for proof of payment and an expert declaration – these points should be clarified in advance at the customs authorities where you will be cleared.
If you buy the car yourself, bargaining is always appropriate – you can get a significant discount on the purchase. 

As for delivery, you should determine in advance the extent of the seller’s liability during the car’s journey to the port of transit. Not all sellers specify the need to insure the car when drawing up the contract and are very reluctant to pay compensation for damage to the car during transportation. 

If damage is detected upon arrival at the destination point, a report must be drawn up, which will be certified by the transport agent and the port seal. The damage is then assessed at a service station and the documents are sent to the seller. This should be done as soon as possible, as the insurance has a limited validity period.


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