Owning a motorbike in Oman as an expat

A few days ago, this story from the ToO was published which has some pretty big repercussions for people wanting to ride motorbikes here in the Sultanate. Now there's really two groups of people that this effects: Expats that want to ride bikes for leisure, and expats who want to ride bikes for work (eg delivery drivers).

Now, the reason for the rule change is because people have been taking the piss and getting a learner license and just never taking the test to get a full license. Think about it - how many delivery drivers have you seen on L plates? Lots I'm guessing.

The ToO article quotes a Colonel from the ROP who is head of the License Department as saying, "In case of expatriates, bikes are no longer to be registered without the prospective owner having a valid, permanent Omani driving license for motorbikes. Even if a person has got the learner's license, the bike still cannot be transferred in his name. Permanent license is a must!"

Which means that you're out of luck if you were thinking about buying a bike and learning how to ride - you can't buy a bike unless you have a full bike license and you can't take a road test to get a full license unless you have a bike registered in your name. A nice little catch 22.

I've searched, and been unable to find, for a list of transferable licenses. I know the story for cars, but I don't know what it is like for motorbikes. Logic suggests that if you can show your home country car driving license and get an Omani one issued (and just do the eye test) then if you have a motorbike license from the same home country perhaps they'll issue you with an Omani one and then you just carry on with the registration of a motorbike and go on your merry way. But I don't know if that is the case.

Coming back to the group of people that have been taking the piss with the learner licenses; the delivery drivers (mostly but not exclusively), this rule change hurts them the most. Those that already have learner licenses AND bikes registered in their name will be able to take the test to get a permanent license, but those who have learner licenses who are riding company bikes.... no dice. The bike they take the test on has to be registered in their name.

Now this is a bit of a heavy handed approach to the situation as it's going to stifle business of delivery services (be it food or something else) that use motorbikes. The ToO article even goes on to publish a whinge from a few catering business owners. Well... why are you employing people to work for you on learner licenses in the first place?

I'd say this whole thing could be fixed by making one small change in the old system - once you get your learners license, you have, for example, 6 months to take your test (and pass) - if not, your license is revoked.

Things as they are right now, for the businesses that sell motorbikes, must be pretty dire because now they can only sell bikes to Omani's, or people who already have a valid Omani motorbike license. Speaking of, Harley Davidson are launching their new Street 750 motorbike this week on the 30th of April at Al Makan Cafe in Qurum..... bit of unfortunate timing I'd say.

Ho hum. I always flirted with getting a Harley, I guess I won't bother now!

le fin.
Owning a motorbike in Oman as an expat Owning a motorbike in Oman as an expat Reviewed by Sythe on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 Rating: 5


  1. I have a Dutch driving licence for car and motorbike.
    While obtaining my Omani licence both licences were considered and accepted ... after eye test of course.
    I had to explicitly ask for motorbike licence to be included as well, but without any problems this was done.

  2. I think it is a great rule. And it is not ment to penalize people just protect us from all the reckless young Omani males who are now doing wheelies down November 18th street etc. I also can't buy a car in Oman or rent one without a full licence. What's the big difference? None. Same same.

  3. Hey,
    This is really very informative article you have shared here. I read and got much pleasure. I agree with you that without license motorcycle should not sell. Thanks for your nice sharing.

  4. With this news I'm heart broken, sad and upset.
    It doesn't make any sense that an expat can not get a license while a national can.
    Why this discrimination. My Omani coworker 39 years old has 2 Harley and he is an alright driver, while my another coworker who is a British CitiZen, got his bike license in oman. But me who is an Asian guy working here in a senior position in the company , cannot get a bike license. !!!

    How strange is this! ? There has to be an away out.

    I'm so sad, such a beautiful amazing Country with law that I don't get it!

  5. Hi,

    Good information but can anyone advise me on coming to Oman (as a British tourist) to buy a small motorbike and ride it around sightseeing? Are there second hand motorbike shops in Muscat and is insurance easily available? I'm thinking of coming in early March for about a month.

  6. You need to be a resident of Oman (or a citizen) in order to purchase a vehicle here. Best you could do is rent one. I don't know anyone that rents them, though I am sure they can be rented. Search out rental companies as a first start I guess.


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