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Things to bring to your appointment :

  • Vehicle Registration Card i.e. Mulkiya
  • Driving License,
  • Emirates ID or Passport
  • Vehicle Service History (if any)
  • Original Key and Spare (if available)
  • And, your car of course :-)

How To Sell Your Amazing Vehicle in the UAE and Get the Best Price for It

The UAE has a reputation of being a difficult place to sell a vehicle. While it is not as simple as deciding one day “I want to sell my car” and putting it up for sale, like it is in some parts of the world, mastering a UAE vehicle sale is not as difficult as many people make it out to be

Understanding the Regulations and Laws

The first thing to understand is that there is a specific process that must be followed, even with a private sale, for a UAE vehicle sale to be legal. There are penalties associated with any infractions of the rules. Those penalties range from fines to impoundment, depending on the infraction.

UAE Laws

Several laws govern a UAE private sale.

One that often trips up sellers is the ban on any signs, advertisements or sales literature, including stickers, placards or descriptions placed on the outside of a vehicle or in the windows of a vehicle. While this is common in other parts of the world, in the UAE, it is illegal.

Getting caught with a sign or sticker advertising a vehicle is for sale, on the vehicle, can result in an impoundment. It is the type of infraction that most police will not overlook. UAE laws on the matter are clear and there is not much, if any, wiggle room.

Another action that can incur a fine is to wash it on the street. The best approach is to have the vehicle professionally washed if the sale is being privately managed. If the seller does not want to go that route, the vehicle must be washed in private away from public view. This includes washing it in any driveway.

In addition, all loans and fines on the vehicle must be cleared before the vehicle can be legally sold. A sale cannot proceed and a title cannot be transferred if there is an outstanding loan on the vehicle. If there is an outstanding loan on the vehicle that the seller cannot cover, there are options:

  • The seller can arrange with a buyer for a pre-sale payment to cover the loan, with the balance due at the point of sale
  • The seller can have a third-party cover the loan and pay it off once the sale is finalized (this is where the law is specific because for the sale to be legal, any loan attached directly to the vehicle must be cleared,)
  • A third-party vehicle seller can purchase the vehicle with the loan as part of the vehicle price and can cover the loan amount, giving whatever is left over to the seller.

The Road and Transport Authority Process

If a vehicle is sold and has an outstanding loan attached to it, the sale is invalid until the loan is cleared. To be considered “cleared,” the payment in full must be updated in the Roads and Transport Authority(RTA) system before the sale can go through.

It is up to the seller to make sure the RTA is informed of any clearing of a loan. If a bank is involved, the seller should discuss how to inform the RTA of the loan being paid off.

Once alerted that a loan has cleared, the RTA will update its system. The organization will then inform the seller that the system has been updated and their vehicle is legally considered cleared from the loan. The clearance from the RTA usually takes about 48 hours to go through and the seller will be notified by text when it does.

Because of the RTA process, it is best for the seller to put their vehicle through an RTA test before any advertising is done. This way, if there are problems, the seller can resolve them before offering the vehicle for sale.

The ownership of the vehicle cannot be processed or transferred until the RTA has cleared the vehicle.

Alternative to Handling the Sale Privately

Because of the rules associated with selling a vehicle in the UAE, many people look for alternatives to handling the sale themselves. This is often the case even if nothing is owed on the vehicle because of the restrictions on advertising.  

One option is to sell their vehicle to a third-party enterprise, which includes clearing the vehicle as part of their sales process. This third-party “buys” the vehicle from the owner who wants to sell and pays off any loans as part of the sale.

The benefit of this type of arrangement is that the group buying the vehicle sells in the UAE every day as part of their business. They know the laws as well as the market. They will assess the vehicle for sale, make an offer on it and if the owner agrees, the third-party will cover the cost of the loan and working it through the system.

From the seller's perspective, the benefits of this type of arrangement are:

  • They get a fair price on the vehicle,
  • They do not have to worry about advertising, online or otherwise,
  • The outstanding loans and the RTA process taken off their hands.

Another benefit is that if the seller is also looking to buy another vehicle, that can be handled as part of the trade-in process.

What to Look For

With any third-party sale, the seller should insist on the following:

  • The business has extensive experience selling in the UAE.
  • They have RTA certification, which guarantees the sale to them will be legal,
  • They will buy a vehicle in any shape.
  • They will give the seller a free, no-obligation estimate for the value of the vehicle upfront.

The process in the UAE, while strict, is straightforward. While it is not as simple as an individual deciding to “sell my car online” and throwing it up on the internet, or driving around with signs in the vehicle window advertising it is for sale, compliance in the UAE is easy, even from a private sale perspective.

If the seller decides to go with a third-party vehicle sales organization, the compliance process is even easier and there is no paperwork to worry about beyond the sales agreement.