How Many People Are Allowed in Private Cars in UAE Today?

Driving in a private car is the best way to experience life in the UAE. But while going around the country is fun, it’s vital to understand the laws and regulations around private car usage. The number of passengers allowed in a private car is essential among the diverse factors.

Authorities in the UAE have guidelines motorists and passengers ought to abide by to ensure their safety and comfort. Failure to follow this guideline can attract legal consequences. So, in this article, we will explore the passenger capacity limit for private cars in Dubai or Abu Dhabi today. Also, in this article, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the guidelines set by the authorities in the UAE.

Passenger Capacity Regulation in the UAE

Compared to the Western perspective, there is a regulation in the UAE on passenger capacity which may seem odd. Whether you are in a private car or a public transport, this regulation ensures no vehicle commutes more passengers than it’s legally supposed to. Failure to abide by this directive from the UAE Police will lead to a hefty fine.

The maximum number of passengers allowed in a vehicle in the UAE depends on the license type, safety features like seat beats, and the vehicle size you drive. Although this regulation typically applies to standard private cars, it’s vital to note that larger vehicles may have higher passenger limits due to their seating arrangements and size. As such, it may be crucial to refer to the specific guidelines for each vehicle to determine the permissible passenger capacity.

General Guidelines for Private Cars

Overcrowding the passenger you carry in a vehicle poses a significant safety risk. It compromises seatbelt usage, restricts passenger movement, and even reduces your ability to control the car adequately as a driver. Knowing the general guideline for passenger capacity in a private car is vital.

Several factors influence the permissible passenger capacity in the UAE. So below we gathered some of them:

Seating arrangements

The layout of the seats in the vehicle plays a vital role in the capacity of passengers allowed in the car in UAE. Most cars, particularly sedans or hatchbacks, have a large backseat capable of setting three passengers, whereas larger vehicles like SUVs may have an additional row to accommodate more passengers. The more seats available, the higher the passenger capacity.

Seatbelts availability

As the seating arrangement is essential, it’s equally important that each seat has a seatbelt. It’s a requirement that each passenger in a private vehicle uses a seatbelt. So, even when seated at the back of a private car in the UAE, you must use a seatbelt.

Family members or not

Another quirk about the passenger’s capacity in a private vehicle in the UAE is that you can carry more people in your car if they are related to you. For example, in a typical small model such as a sedan, a total of 3 passengers is permissible, including the driver, if the passengers are of the same family. Similarly, more than three passengers excluding the driver in the same sedan, can be allowed in a private vehicle if they are of the same family.

Type of driver’s license

Another factor that comes to play when considering the passenger capacity allowed when driving a private vehicle is the driver’s license. According to the law in the UAE, most users’ driver’s license doesn’t allow them to carry more than five passengers. But if a motorist intends to carry more than five passengers in their vehicle, such an individual must purchase an unrestricted license for an additional fee.

Specific for Different Car Types

The guideline on the permissible passenger capacity mentioned above applies to all private and public vehicles. But there may be a few variations based on the different car types. Below, we delve into the specifics of various kinds of automobiles.


A sedan is a type of four-door vehicle with a traditional trunk. A typical sedan has five seats – three at the back and two at the front. As such, based on the guideline of people allowed in a private car in the UAE, four to five people can sit in a sedan.

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A coupe comes with a sportier style than a sedan. Generally, a coupe often comes with two doors and four seats – two at the back and two at the front. Similarly, based on the guideline above, four people can sit in a coupe.

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Sports Car

Sports cars are designed to offer better manoeuvrability, high acceleration, and speed. Due to their low ground clearance, most sports cars can only seat two passengers, the driver and a passenger.

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Station Wagon or Hatchback

A station wagon or hatchback comes with a two-box design meaning the cargo and passenger areas are combined in one large compartment. They come with five doors and can set up to five passengers – three at the back and two at the front. But based on UAE regulations, you can seat four to five passengers.

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A convertible, called a cabriolet, is a passenger car with or without a roof. Most convertibles come with only two seats which fall within the passenger capacity in the UAE guideline.

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A full-size SUV is a taller and boxier vehicle than a sedan. It offers an elevated seating position and more space. An SUV can come with up to seven to eight seats, including the driver, with three rows in total. In a full-size SUV, you can seat six passengers comfortably.

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A minivan can be considered the workhorse in the world of family cars. It is best at carrying cargo and people in an efficient package. They are called minivans because they are a mini form of a van. Most minivans feature adjustable seats in their second and third row. But generally, minivans come with seven to eight seats which can accommodate six passengers comfortably according to the UAE permissible passenger capacity.

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Pickup Truck

Pickup trucks are another type of car with an open cargo bed at its rear. Most pickup trucks have four to five seats and can accommodate four passengers.

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Exceptions and Exemptions

The whole idea of the UAE passenger capacity in a vehicle generally applies to private cars; there are a few exemptions and exceptions. For example, an individual can modify their vehicle to accommodate additional passengers by installing specialized seating arrangements per UAE regulations. But approval of such a project from the relevant authorities is crucial.

Additionally, taxis may be exempted from this guideline. For example, sitting at the back of a taxi, you must wear your seat belt. But if there isn’t one, there is no requirement for the driver to have a seat belt installed.

Penalties for Violating Passenger Capacity Limits and Related Law

There are penalties associated with violating the passenger capacity limit in the UAE. Some of these penalties include:

  • Up to AED 3,000 for violating the passenger limit;
  • AED 400 and 4 black points on your record for not wearing a seatbelt;
  • AED 500 and 4 black points for driving without valid documents;
  • AED 1,000, 12 black points, and a vehicle impounded for 30 days for disobeying traffic laws;
  • AED 3,000 and 24 points when driving passengers for commercial purposes without a permit.

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