Monday, 12 October 2009
Exporting a Car from Oman
What I'm writing here is what I wish I'd known when I decided to export my car from Oman to the UAE. No-one I asked could tell me what to do, and I could not find a single page on the Internet explaining how to export a car from Oman to the UAE.
Anyway, here's the information in case you need it!
It is possible to complete the entire export process in less than three hours if you're in the right place, doing it on the right day, and if you get started at the right time of day. The reason is that the relevant department of the Royal Omani Police has to be open at the same time as an insurance company offering the 7-day car insurance for car export. This means you need to do this 8.30 AM – 12.30 PM on a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. In other words, if you start 8.30/9.00-ish on one of these four days, you're OK. (It took me four days over a period of several weeks because I was always in the wrong place at the wrong time).
The best place to do this is in Muscat, and the best place to start is at the Shell petrol station opposite Muscat Airport. Next to this Shell station there is a translation and typing agency called Sanad. They have the form called "Vehicle Export Certificate" (in triplicate), which is the form you need (so you don't have to collect the form at the police station). They will type it in Arabic for your, for about 500 baisa or 1 OMR. N.B. the Chassis number and the Engine number has to be typed in normal, European letters and digits (the rest has to be in Arabic).
Next, you can go around the corner from Sanad to the Ahlia insurance company and they will sell you the 7-day car insurance you need. This is actually stamped directly on the "Vehicle Export Certificate" form and costs around 10-15 OMR. N.B. If your car is already insured by Ahlia, this will be free of charge (and if you want to drive to the office of your own current Omani insurance company – if this different from Ahlia – the insurance will, again, be free).
After that, you drive from Shell towards the Golden Tulip hotel on the service road that runs parallel to the motorway (in the direction towards Muscat). After you've passed the Golden Tulip Hotel, you'll see a police facility on the right-hand side called something like Traffic Police. You don't want this one. Instead you keep driving for a couple of hundred metres until you see a police facility with a tall drive-through structure (tall enough for lorries to drive through), about six or eight "lanes" wide. To the right of this testing facility, there's a building. This is the building where you take your completed "Vehicle Export Certificate".
Here, they will give you another form to fill in. They will also send you to the tall drive-through structure next door to have your car "inspected". What this means is that someone in the car testing area will check that the Chassis number on your form is the same as the one on your car. They will then stamp your forms.
Next, you go back to the building you came from and you queue up to see one of the police officers. The officer will take your form and he will ask for your yellow plates. You'll also need to pay for the export certificate (OMR7, using a credit card). They have no tools there to help you remove your licence plates, so you might want to bring something along. Otherwise you can just pull the licence plate off the car with your bare hands. I did it. It wasn't too hard, though a bit messy.
If you've got some tape with you, you can just temporarily put the blue licence plates inside your front and back windows while driving back to the Shell station. Adjacent to the Shell station, there is a car accessories shop where they have a riveter and they will rivet the new blue plates onto your car for OMR1-2.
That's it. You've now got seven days to drive your car across the border out of Oman.
When you exit Oman, you will need to present your car and the "Vehicle Export Certificate" (in triplicate) to the border police. They will check the Chassis number and stamp your "Vehicle Export Certificate". I think they'll also keep one of the copies. You will also need to pay OMR1 (using a credit card). This whole process on the Omani side of the border might take 30-45 minutes.
Importing a Car into the UAE
At the Emirati side, the border police will charge you import duty equivalent to 5% of the value of the car. The value of your car (dependent on model and year) is stored on a database (in Sharjah in my case, as I took my car to Fujairah), so the value of your car is not up for discussion. The value will simply be printed on the form and you will be asked to pay the 5% up front and in cash. In my case, the value was slightly higher than what I'd expect to get for it if I'd sold it in Oman, but it was probably not far off a realistic re-sell value in the UAE).
At this stage, some over-eager Emirati border guards might feel compelled to pull off your blue licence plates, thinking they are Omani. Try and stop them if they do this (I couldn't, and had to drive around without licence plates for over 24 hours!). The process on the Emirati side might be around 45 minutes to 1 hour. If you arrive in the UAE outside office hours, they might let you drive through and ask you to come back to the border the next day to pay the import duty (which is what happened in my case).
Once inside the UAE, you'll need to have your car tested at an Emirati Police testing facility (they check suspension, tires etc.). I can't remember what I paid, but I think it was something like 200-300 AED and this process took around 30 minutes. Once you've got your car tested, you'll need to buy an Emirati car insurance. Where I tested my car, there was also an insurance broker next door who represented all the major car insurance companies in the UAE (and he informed of the best deal if I wanted Oman included on my UAE insurance). He sold me a car insurance once he'd seen my car test papers.
One you've got your car test papers and the car insurance, you can go to the Emirati Traffic Police and they will process the registration of your car. This process took around 45 minutes in my case and I think I paid 500 AED, but I'm not sure. Once you've paid and they've completed the registration process, they've got this guy nearby – around the corner or something – and he'll create new plates and then fasten the new Emirati licence plates onto your car (they use screws, not rivets, in the UAE).
That's it! Your car export/import is done!