Dubai is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. If you have extensive knowledge about Dubai and enjoy interacting with travellers, becoming a licensed tour guide can be a fulfilling and financially rewarding career path. This guide covers everything you need to know about obtaining a tour guide license in Dubai.

Eligibility Criteria for a Tour Guide Licence:-

To qualify for a tour guide license in Dubai, you must:

  •     Be over 21 years old

  •     Have at least a high school diploma

  •     Be fluent in English and preferably one more language like Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, German or Hindi.

  •     Comprehensive knowledge of Dubai’s culture, history, geography, attractions, infrastructure, policies, etc.

  •     Complete mandated training courses.

Types of Tour Guide Licences:-

The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) issues three types of tour guide licenses in Dubai:

  • Local Tour Guide Licence

A local tour guide license allows you to guide tours within Dubai. This covers sightseeing tours to places like Burj Khalifa, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Museum, Bastakiya, Dubai Frame, etc.

To be eligible, you must be a UAE national or resident. The exam and license fees for locals are less compared to other licenses.

  • National Tour Guide Licence

A national tour guide license allows you to guide tours across the United Arab Emirates. The exam has an additional section testing your knowledge of all seven emirates.

Citizens and residents of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are eligible for this license type.

  • Freelance Tour Guide Licence

A freelance guide license allows guides from abroad to lead tours in Dubai and the UAE. Getting this type takes more time as you must be hired by a local tour company first.

The eligibility criteria and exam process are more extensive for freelance licenses.

Educational Qualifications Needed:-

While a high school diploma is sufficient, pursuing additional educational credentials can help strengthen your knowledge and make getting a tour guide license easier.

Helpful programs include:

  •     Bachelor’s degree in tourism, history or a related field

  •     Course or diploma in tour guiding from a reputed local institute

  •     Specialized training in niche areas like adventure sports, marine habitats, falconry, etc.

Some employers may prefer candidates with additional tourism-related education. So this can improve your prospects and earnings potential as a professional tour guide.

Knowledge Needed to Pass the Exam:-

The DTCM tour guide license exam thoroughly tests your knowledge about Dubai and the UAE.

For the local tour guide exam, you must be well-versed in areas like:

  •     History of Dubai and the ruling family

  •     Dubai’s cultural highlights - food, clothing, sports, dances, customs, religions

  •     Politics and laws governing residents and tourists

  •     Geography and major attractions in each emirate

  •     Infrastructure including roads, metro, airports, ports, highways, etc.

  •     Economy and business environment

  •     Healthcare, security, and emergency services for tourists

  •     Shopping, entertainment and dining options

The national tour guide exam additionally covers topics like:

  •     Historical context of the formation of the UAE

  •     Biography, policies and vision of UAE’s founding father Sheikh Zayed

  •     Unique culture, traditions and points of interest of all seven Emirates

Overall, the exam aims to ensure guides have extensive knowledge to positively represent Dubai and the UAE. So, comprehensive preparation is vital.

Mandatory Tour Guide Training:-

To apply for a license, you must complete mandated training offered only by the DTCM-authorised Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management (EAHM):

Local Tour Guide Course

  •     20 days (100 hours)

  •     Covers roles, responsibilities and ethics

  •     Dubai’s history, culture, geography, infrastructure

  •     Presentation skills, rapport building with tourist

National Tour Guide Course

  •     30 days (150 hours)

  •     Additional components on all seven Emirates

These rigorous instructor-led courses combine lectures, self-study, exams and field trips. Many applicants take them twice to clear exams.

You also need current first-aid and UAE flag certificates from approved centres before license approval.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Licence:-

Follow these key steps to earn your tour guide license:

1. Enroll in the respective DTCM course

Apply to join the next available batch at the EAHM centre in Dubai. Prepare thoroughly before the course begins.

2. Complete classroom & field training

Attend all classes regularly for the entire duration. Pay attention to lectures, actively participate and clear exams.

3. Get medical test and security clearance

Book an appointment to get your medical fitness certificate and apply for a security clearance certificate from the Dubai Police.

4. Submit license application to DTCM

Prepare all required documents and submit your license application along with course completion certificates to DTCM.

5. Appear for the final license exam

Once DTCM verifies everything, you will receive an exam permit. Appear for and pass the written exam held at the DTCM office.

6. Get the license stamped & attested

Take your exam results to DTCM to get your new tour guide license issued. Get the license attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

And finally, you’re officially licensed to work as a tour guide!

License Validity and Renewal:-

  •     Tour guide licenses in Dubai must be renewed every 2 years.

  •     You must also attend 20 hours of annual training workshops on new regulations, skills development, etc., to maintain DTCM approval.

  •     Freelance tour guides require individual sponsorship of a tour company to stay valid.

  •     Letting your license lapse can mean redoing the entire course and exam.

So make sure you comply with renewal guidelines to continue guiding tourism in Dubai.

Career Opportunities as a Licensed Guide:-

Some avenues you can explore after getting your Dubai tour guide license:

  •     Join a tour agency: Work as an employee guide for an established tourism company catering to inbound travellers.

  •     Freelance guiding: Independently promote your services to inbound groups visiting Dubai.

  •     Corporate tours: Specialize in curating tours catering to business travellers coming for MICE or corporate incentive tours.

  •     Niche private tours: Conduct specialized private tours for small groups interested in focused experiences like food tours, heritage tours, photography tours, etc.

  •     Overseas cruise ships: Apply to provide port lecturer services onboard cruise liners docking at Dubai ports.

As tourism booms post-pandemic, skilled tour guides are increasingly in demand in Dubai. A recognized license proves your expertise, enhances your credibility and opens doors to diverse tour guide jobs with good income.

Hope this guide gave you comprehensive advice about successfully getting licensed as a tour guide in Dubai!

Key Takeaway: Actionable Tips

  •     Check which type of license suits your needs

  •     Carefully study the exam syllabus and prep well in advance

  •     Don’t skip any EAHM training sessions

  •     Ensure all required certificates are valid beforehand

  •     Verify license renewal guidelines regularly

  •     Consider niche tour products with growth prospects


Obtaining a tour guide license in Dubai involves rigorous training and testing of your expertise. But it also makes you highly employable in Dubai’s booming tourism scene. Before embarking on the licensing process, reflect deeply on your true passion for the role. Compassion and responsible conduct will make you an outstanding ambassador for Dubai’s world-famous hospitality.


1. How much does getting a tour guide license cost in Dubai?

The costs include DTCM fees, medical certificates, and Emirates Academy training fees, which vary based on your nationality and the license type. Overall, expect costs between AED 7000 and 17000.

2. What is the minimum age to get a tour guide license in Dubai?

You have to be at least 21 years old to apply for a tour guide license in Dubai as per DTCM regulations.

3. Can someone with an international tour guide certification work in Dubai?

No, only DTCM-approved UAE tour guide licenses are authorized to conduct paid tours in Dubai. However, with a tour company sponsor, experienced overseas guides can apply for a suitable Dubai license category.

4. How long does it take to get licensed as a Dubai tour guide?

The entire licensing process takes 45 to 90 days, including mandatory training. However, it depends on course batch dates, medical certification and security checks.

5. When are Dubai tour guide license exams held?

DTCM schedules license exams in Dubai 2-3 times per month. Once your application is submitted, you will receive the next available exam date.

6. What is the passing score for the Dubai tour guide license exam?

You need a minimum score of 75 percent in the theoretical exam to pass and qualify to obtain the license.

7. Can I retake the Dubai tour guide exam if I fail it once?

Yes, applicants who fail the license test can retake it after a 1-month waiting period. But you can attempt it only thrice in one year.

8. Will a Dubai tour guide license allow me to work in other emirates?

No, to guide tours in other emirates legally, you need to apply for the National Tour Guide License specifically.

9. How do I renew an expired Dubai tour guide license?

If under 2 years lapsed, attend a 20-hour DTCM refresher course. If over 2 years, you may redo the full mandatory course. Archive license renewal rules.

10. Can freelance guides who are residents overseas renew Dubai tour licenses?

Yes, freelance tour guides living abroad can renew their licenses if sponsored by a local company and by attending renewal training online.

11. Can I provisionally work after completing the tour guide training courses?

No, conducting any paid tour guide activities without holding the physical license document is illegal, even after finishing training.

12. How long is the security check clearance to apply for a valid Dubai tour guide license?

The security clearance certificate for tour guide applications taken from Dubai Police stays valid for use up to 6 months.

13. Can I switch my tour guide license from a local license to a national license?

Yes, you can upgrade to a national tour guide license by taking the additional advanced training program in the Northern Emirates through EAHM.

14. What IT systems do Dubai tour guides need to be familiar with?

Guides should know DTCM tourist apps, virtual tour guide systems, online booking portals, and city smart services to assist tourists effectively.

15. Can a UAE resident renew their Dubai tour guide license while they are abroad?

Yes, residents overseas can renew their licenses by completing DTCM online training and submitting passport copies authorized by UAE embassy offices abroad.

16. Can freelance tour guides licensed in Dubai also work in Abu Dhabi or other emirates?

No, Abu Dhabi and other Emirates issue separate tour guide licenses. A Dubai license permits guiding tourists only within Dubai.

17. Do female guides need to cover heads on some Dubai tours?

Yes, head scarves should be worn when entering mosques and some historic sites. Cultural sensitivity is critical.

18. Where can newly licensed guides access tour guide job listings in Dubai?

DTCM site has accredited agency listings. Social media groups can also help. Attend travel fairs and network extensively.

19. What mandatory gear should new Dubai tour guides invest in?

Must-have gear is sun protection items, comfortable covered shoes, conservative clothes, city map printouts, a first-aid kit, water bottles, and a customized guide badge.

20. Should new guides in Dubai join professional tour guide associations?

Yes, memberships to the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations and tourist guide guilds help access mentoring support and continuous training.