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Getting a drivers license in Qatar (if you already have a license)

At the time of writing, this guide to getting a drivers license in Qatar is relevant and up-to-date, based on my personal experience. This post will be edited & updated according to feedback. Please feel free to share your experiences using the contact me page or via the comments section below!

This is a guide for those who already have drivers licenses from countries who do not need to go for driving lessons. The list of eligible countries can be found here.

There are 2 types of driving tests for getting a drivers license in Qatar: DIRECT & WITH LESSONS. If you have a valid South African drivers license, you will need to present it in order to qualify for the DIRECT driving test process (unless you want lessons which costs around 2500QAR for 10).

Note: I am writing this as a South African passport holder, if you hold another passport, your experience may be different.

Step1: Eye Test & Booking a Theory Test

I did this at Doha Driving Academy. I paid 50QAR to undergo a quick eye test. Ladies & men do this at the same place but ladies will jump the queue (sorry not sorry!). Once you pass the eye test, you head to the traffic department section (there is one at every driving school) to book your test date.

Then I paid 500QAR to receive the materials to study for the theory test. It involves downloading an app on your phone called “Driving test” and you will be scheduled to attend 2 training sessions where you will watch videos and do practise exams. My training sessions were cancelled due to covid and I did everything online via the app. The practise exams on the app are exactly what appears on the actual exam.

Step 2:Taking the theory test

Since the date I booked was cancelled (due to covid lockdown), I booked myself a new date when the testing centres opened. I did this through the Metrash2 app but you can visit the website here. You can book at ANY driving school/testing centre despite where you got the initial materials from. I went back to Doha Driving Academy for this. I found them to be disorganized and incompetent- do not recommend!

I suggest calling ahead to confirm the location & whether you will be allowed to take the test next day. Metrash2 does ask your gender when booking but sometimes it makes a mess. Testing is gender separate with one day a week (or month for some schools) being dedicated for ladies. If you show up on a day that’s not for your gender, you will have to rebook.

On the day of the test, show up at the appointed place, 30 minutes before your test time. Have your appointment card printed (it’s the one that’s e-mailed to you if you book through Metrash2 or the one they print and give you at the traffic department). Hand that in to the relevant person and wait for your name to be called.

The test lasts 20 minutes with 20 multiple choice questions but you should fly through if you did the practise exams. It only consisted of road signs (the easy ones!). You can get 18/20 and still pass. It’s done on a touch screen computer (bring your own sanitiser).

Once you pass, your result is recorded automatically so you know immediately whether you’ve passed or failed. This mean you’ve completed the first obstacle when getting a drivers license in Qatar. You can then proceed back to the traffic department section to book for a road test. At this point your QID number will show that you are registered for a direct test and so you will not need to book lessons.


They use outdated books to study from or just try to search for road signs online without purchasing the correct material. Things are constantly being updated. The app I used was updated twice while I was in process. So if you want to pass, make sure you’re studying the correct thing. Oh and they probably fail because they don’t bother to do the practice exams!

Step 3: Booking the road test

The next challenge in getting a drivers license in Qatar is the road test. If you choose not to book in person, you can book on Metrash2 for the road test. South Africans do not need to do the parking test (I believe this is only for 1st time drivers but I may be wrong). You can book your road test at any testing centre, it does not have to be the one you passed your theory exam at.

I personally recommend Karwa Driving School.

They were organized, helpful and they passed people who can actually drive and failed people who were most certainly not ready to be on the road. They only accept around 30 people per morning which means everyone gets done pretty fast. The less people they have to assess, the quicker you get your results.

Again, follow the procedure above about calling to confirm locations and whether your gender will be allowed to take the test on the appointed date. You are better safe than sorry. (Yes I am emphasizing this because it happened to me but Karwa was really efficient bout giving me the next available date).

Step 4: Taking the road test

This is the last step to getting a drivers license in Qatar. Arrive 30 minutes before your appointed test time with your appointment card printed out. Hand it to the person who will place you in the queue. While you wait, pay to rent the car you are going to use for the test. Its costs 350QAR and you can only pay by bank card.

Once you have paid, wait for your name to be called. You go as pairs out to the testing car(I think its a Toyota Camry). One person jumps in the back and the other person gets into the drivers seat. I recommend being the person who drives second (so you can investigate the terrain of the route and be prepared!). The traffic officer (likely to be a man) sits in the passenger seat.

Things they observe:

  • Wearing the seatbelt
  • Adjusting the seat
  • Holding the steering wheel at 10 to 2 position
  • Adjusting the mirrors
  • Putting the car in the correct gear
  • Releasing the handbrake

Thats what I did when I got into the car. The route was a simple straight road with a left turn, a U turn and I didn’t even have to park the car afterwards. I drove for around 5 minutes. Be intentional about:

-Using the indicators when turning/changing lanes

-Observing in mirrors and blind spot when turning/changing lanes

-Paying attention to the changing of the traffic lights

-Keep to the speed limit

-Keeping in the ‘slow’ lane and only overtaking when necessary

I noticed that the lady who drove before me, didn’t do many of these things and subsequently did not pass. (Who speeds during a drivers test anyway?!)

NOTE: The traffic officer ONLY SPOKE ARABIC. His English was severely limited. I asked him to use hand signals and that’s how I understood where he wanted me to go. Just a warning because I was not expecting that!

Once you have finished your test, you head back to the waiting room and your name will either appear on a screen with your result after around 10-15 minutes or you will receive an SMS from Metrash with your result. Your sponsor will also receive the same SMS.

It costs another 250QAR (an expensive morning!) to receive the license card which is issued on the spot using the photo on your QID.


Total cost: 1150 QAR

The entire process of getting a drivers license in Qatar can take from 1 week to 3 weeks depending on the availability of dates & your gender. I also advise wearing professional clothes when going for the drivers test as some people have said this helps (I didn’t think it mattered but since I was going to work afterwards, I was in my work clothes anyway).

If you have recommendations of testing centers, driving schools or any other feedback from personal experience regarding getting a drivers license in Qatar, please feel free to share in the comment box below!


  • Kitty October 13, 2021 at 9:44 am

    Do you know, if I take half classes will I be able to change schools for the test or is just with direct?

    • expatpanda October 13, 2021 at 9:45 am

      I’m not sure because I didn’t take the classes ☹️

  • sarathkumar February 3, 2022 at 12:06 pm

    Actually i am 2 test was failed , and i ask to the captain in traffic mouroor department , they give a one more change , but how can i pay for the 3th test , i ask to doha driving academy , but he said 2 change only , you go another academy for the 3 th road, i dont know , please tell the right

  • Ganesh February 28, 2022 at 12:11 pm

    I am a Indian with a Indian Driving License am i also allowed to take direct test?

    • expatpanda February 28, 2022 at 12:13 pm

      I believe Indians need to register for driving lessons with a driving school. It would be best to contact one.

  • NEESHLIN April 2, 2022 at 9:54 am

    Hi, as a South African did you opt for the half course or direct test?

    • expatpanda April 2, 2022 at 10:04 am

      Hello Neeshlin. If you have a valid license then you will have to do the theory and direct test. There was no need for any course or classes.

  • ABDUL Rahim April 5, 2022 at 11:59 pm

    My profession is supervisor can i get license

  • Ben April 16, 2022 at 6:22 pm

    So, I already have my car DL from Europe from years ago and I’d like now to pass my motorcycle DL here in Qatar for later exchange it when I’ll be back in my home country. The problem is that when you pass a car DL in Europe, you get automatically the 1st motorcycle category on your paper (A1). It’s ok if you want to transfer it here in Qatar (because they don’t make difference, no category here, motorcycle is motorcycle). It will show on your DL card a full motorcycle licence. BUT, I’d like to pass it officially here in Qatar to have the full proof of documents after having passing the test here, this will facilitate the exchange once I’ll come back to Europe (they ask many documents).
    Problem, they don’t understand why I want to pass it here because it’s already shown on my Qatar DL that I possess a motorcycle DL, pfff!
    Difficult to explain them that I need to pass “officially” all courses (theory + practical) to facilitate the exchange in Europe.
    What is the solution? Any suggestions? Ask them to remove my motorcycle licence in traffic department system?
    When I saw the Title of this article (GETTING A DRIVERS LICENSE IN QATAR “IF YOU ALREADY HAVE A LICENSE”) I was confident but after reading the content it simply explains the normal process for those not having a DL.

    • expatpanda April 16, 2022 at 7:07 pm

      Hello Ben. Actually this article is for people who have a drivers license in another country that they cannot easily convert that license into a Qatari one. It’s not for people who don’t have a drivers license at all because that’s a more complex process. As I don’t have any experience with a motorcycle license much less the issue you’re facing, I cannot offer any advice. I do hope that you find a solution that suits you 😊

      • Angelo May 8, 2022 at 11:00 pm

        Hi, i saw youre quite active replying to inquiries, i have an schedule on may 23rd for direct test since i have saudi driving license, i am from philippines by the way. as per my understanding of the article, i wont be required to do parking test right? just theory and direct road test. please correct me if im wrong. my whatsapp is 30766696

        • expatpanda May 10, 2022 at 6:17 am

          Hello Angelo. My understanding is that you should be able to convert your KSA license directly into a Qatar one. If you’re unable to do that, then yes you will do the process as outlined above- theory & direct test with no parking. No need for any courses.

  • Ben April 17, 2022 at 5:17 pm

    No problem. Thanks for your reply anyway 😉

  • Roy April 20, 2022 at 1:05 pm

    The article seems quite informative and accurate based on my recent experience.
    I recently landed in Qatar and am going through the motions of getting a driver’s license. I had the impression that I could exchange my existing one for a Qatari one (some of them were on the exemption list), but it seems that things have changed recently and have to go for the direct driving test including a theory test.
    Started with talking to colleagues who had done it recently, visited a driving school, and the Traffic Department HQ. Different people, different versions, but the HQ has the final say on what you have to undergo.
    I found a lack of enthusiasm and response when they hear ‘direct test’ in the driving schools, for obvious reasons.
    The timings for the Traffic Department at the driving schools seem a bit convenient, especially for people going to office. I may have to take leave to manage it, from the theory classes to the test, and the driving test.

    • Angelo May 8, 2022 at 11:03 pm

      Hi, what could be that obvious reason? i was approached as well that its better to take half course when i already have direct test scheduled this month.

  • Jan August 2, 2022 at 10:24 am

    Thanks for good description. Today I went to Karwa traffic department for obtaining my direct driving test appointments. I brought my original Danish driving license among other documents. After one hour in queue I finally reach the counter just to learn they ask for an Arabic translation of my Danish driving license. So this comment is just to inform there might have been introduced a new rule lately. Anyway, I’m kicked back and now awaiting the translation before I can go back one day and join a new queue.

    • expatpanda August 2, 2022 at 10:30 am

      Is the text on your license in English or Danish?

      • Jan August 2, 2022 at 12:50 pm

        As it is an original Danish license it’s in Danish :-). But as I mentioned, I also had my international driving license with me, which is in several European languages but obviously not sufficient. I have googled it but nowhere it’s mentioned there is requirement for a translation – I just experienced it when I went, but maybe it’s also upto the person behind the counter…

        • expatpanda August 2, 2022 at 12:51 pm

          To be safe, I’ll add a caveat to the post to mention that non English and Arabic license require translation. Thanks for letting me know 😌

  • Annabelle August 26, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    Hi there, do you by chance remember what day of the week Karwa tests woman? I’ve booked an appointment on Metrash for the theory test and have tried calling to confirm but unfortunately no one seems to answer the phone…

    • expatpanda August 27, 2022 at 11:45 am

      I believe it was a Wednesday that I went but was a while ago.

  • Jan Bo Erichsen August 27, 2022 at 8:07 am

    Hi Annebelle
    I know that for men its Sun, tue and thorsdays

  • Dimitry September 14, 2022 at 4:55 pm

    Hi guys! So I went today to Doha Driving Academy.
    1. eyes test 50 QAR
    2. Present original license + Resident Permit – 50 QAR / get teoretical exam date
    (you can change exam date on Metrash 2 app with any School depending on availability – now days is giving only for next year)
    3. 200QAR for App Acces – Exam Questions.
    …. Will update u later….

    • Allan Oelschig September 26, 2022 at 8:10 am

      Hi Dimitry, any update yet?

  • taylan September 14, 2022 at 8:36 pm

    hey, what Russian citizens need for chance driving licance to Qatar one?

  • J January 13, 2023 at 6:53 pm

    Did you really need the app?

    • expatpanda January 13, 2023 at 7:20 pm

      Not really but the exam was exactly like the app so I was well prepared. Regardless I wasn’t given the option of whether I wanted it or not.

  • Francis February 16, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    Hello. I know this post is very recent and although the question was already asked, i just wanted to ask again (maybe there is a change in traffic department which I am not aware of), Is there really no parking test after a successful road test?

    I will be having my road test very soon so I just wanted to make sure. 🙂

    • expatpanda February 16, 2023 at 5:28 pm

      Yes this is correct. This has not changed for South African license holders.

      • Muhammad Usman July 5, 2023 at 10:48 am

        Hello mam,
        Mam tomorrow i have direct road/street test. I have two questions according to test if you can answer it will be a great help i wanted to know,
        I take the appointed on matrash for street test after passing theory there is mentioned LP details page and LP expired the date mentioned there so do i need to renew it again for street test or it was only for theory test.
        Second i have UAE license do i need to give Land P parking test also or only theory and road test.

        • expatpanda July 5, 2023 at 3:43 pm

          Hello! I don’t fully understand your question. If the learners permit has expired then I believe you will have to redo it before taking the direct test. A direct test involves driving on the street without parking. Regarding the UAE license, I believe you would only do a theory and road test. Please check with the traffic department for the most recent information.

    • Louise May 22, 2023 at 9:28 am

      Yes, I’d love to know this as well. I’ve got an Irish drivers licence so have taken the theory test here and now a DIRECT test in 2 days. Im trying to figure out if my direct test includes a parking exam or just road test!

      • expatpanda May 22, 2023 at 9:29 am

        A direct test is just going on the road and not doing parking (which is another test).

    • Muhammad Usman July 5, 2023 at 10:55 am

      Hy Francis can you please share you test experience with me i have road test tomorrow they take only road test or parking also if they take the same day or need to take another appointment.

  • Francis February 19, 2023 at 1:08 pm

    I see. so, this is not confirmed for all direct test applicants. Thank you.

  • Akil May 17, 2023 at 5:19 pm

    I have valid UAE driving it possible to convert to Qatar driving licence..??

    They asked me to pay 350 riyal for the application for the theory it mandatory to buy the application before theory test..They told so..but can’t believe

    • expatpanda May 17, 2023 at 5:49 pm

      You should be able to directly convert your UAE license into a Qatari one since the blockade is over. Check with another driving school. If not, yes you purchase the app, then use it to study for the theory test as I outlined in my blog post. Good luck!

  • Silas June 19, 2023 at 12:20 pm

    I am Kenya citizen with a Kenyan driving license am i also allowed to take direct test

    • expatpanda June 19, 2023 at 12:21 pm

      Sorry but I am honestly not sure about this. There’s a link in the post might help you to see which nationalities can convert their license.

  • May October 13, 2023 at 12:16 pm

    I booked a road test thru Metrash2 under Qatar School( earlier appointment date given under this school), but couldn’t find such school name in google for me to go for a test. Wondering someone can guide me with the information.

  • Tariq November 21, 2023 at 8:02 am

    Hi, it’s very informative conversation on steps of acquiring DL Qatar. May I ask you a query. I have just passed direct theory test and have been advised to get an appointment for street test on metrash app. May I change the school and dates frequently on metrash in order to get the suitable one. Regards.

    • expatpanda November 21, 2023 at 9:05 am

      Yes I did this.

      • Jakirhussain November 23, 2023 at 10:11 am

        I have Qatar license medium. Bus.i want light license Qatar
        I go to darict test.
        How mush price qat

  • Jakirhussain November 23, 2023 at 9:45 am

    I am Qatar bus license holder
    I want Qatar light license
    I go to darict test .?
    How much price

  • Chaterine November 30, 2023 at 6:04 am

    Hi I just did my direct theory test. I have a full Australian licence and my road test is in 4 months time as I can’t find a time that suits me. Is there a service in any of the driving school where you can practice driving a car so I am used to Doha roads? I only need 1 or 2 sessions of just getting used to roads here? I thought it’s rather weird doing a direct roadbtest in a car you have never been in or drive. Every car has different feel.

    • expatpanda November 30, 2023 at 9:36 am

      I am sure you can just pay for 1-2 lessons from any driving school without purchasing a whole package. Just call them and ask. The road test is also extremely simple and short, if you are an experienced driver, it will be a breeze.

    • Muhammad Tariq November 30, 2023 at 10:19 am

      You can find earlier date for road test by checking intermittently
      test dates offered by various driving schools at metrash2 app.

  • Muhammad Faizan Abbasi December 22, 2023 at 11:03 pm

    I also have a license, not a theory test. I have given theory test and am now waiting for the road test. Could you guide me on how to get a date? As per Metrash 2, all dates are now 4 months away

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