Drive in Somaliland
General Traffic Rules & Procedures:
Under the Somaliland Traffic Law No 56/2013, general traffic rules of the country including the following:
- Somaliland is right side driving road;
- Eligible age for getting driving license is 18 years;
- The driving speed limit within inhabited areas, towns and cities is not higher than 40kms per hour;
- For the transports carrying passengers or vital goods, driving speed limit is not higher than 30kms per hour when passing by inhabited areas, towns and cities , and speed limit of not higher than 60kms per hour in the outside areas;
- Any person caught driving without a license shall be charged of a prison sentence starting from 1 to 6 months and a fine starting from SL SH 100,000 to SL SH 200,000;
- If you lose the Vehicle Registration Book, immediately inform the Traffic Police Authorities within 48 hours and you will be granted an attestation letter for temporary
- As a rule, the driver must have valid license, and Vehicle Registration Book, and must be taxpayer having the respective six-month road tax sticker attached on the front mirror.
- If you purchased the car, make sure to have the Registration Book transferred to your name at once, or you will encounter accusation of it because some of the people don’t change the name to evade the payable transfers tax of the government;
- If you are driving a rented vehicle, make sure to have the Car Rent Agreement Form with you, and your driving license. If you still encounter difficult with the traffic policemen, raise your complaint to your customer Motor Sale & Rent Centre;
- If you are driving a car you were lent by a friend or family member, then make sure you have the Vehicle Registration Book inside and show it up to the policemen when you are asked;
- Failure to follow the rule can result legal punishment including fine of money, arrest, and may put you in trouble;
- Somaliland Diaspora Agency issued a circulated a decree to Somaliland Roads Security Force to consider the legality of using the foreign driving license by Somaliland Diaspora returnees within Somaliland.
Drive in Somaliland with your foreign driving license:
If you do not have Somaliland driving license, you can still drive with your valid foreign driving license in Somaliland according to Article 72 under the Somaliland Traffic Law (Xeerka Wada-marista Gaadiidka Somaliland). The law states a person holding a driving license or other international authorizing document for driving issued by a foreign country can drive the same-weighed transport authorized in Somaliland. if your foreign driving license is issued in a way different from the way method stated by the related international rules, then a translating document written on of the principal languages spoken in Somaliland should be attached according to Somaliland Traffic Law. The Somailanders from the Diaspora, who sometimes raise complaints of the traffic policemen, need to be aware of the law, and practice it.
Procedure for Obtaining Somaliland Driving License:
The Ministry of Transport & Roads Development is responsible for issuing driving licenses n Somaliland.
- Complete application form (Available at the Transport Department Office);
- Two passport photos;
- Sight test and blood group testimony;
- Passing driving test;
- Pay license fees of SL Shillings SL Shillings 520,000 and SL Shillings 580,000 for light vehicles and heavy trucks respectively, plus other fees for relevant services;
- The driving license valid for one year will be issued for you by the Ministry of Roads Development;
- Annual renewal fees for driving licenses of light vehicles and heavy trucks are SL Shillings 130,000 and 140,000 respectively;
- The whole process may take 2-3 days.
NOTE: According to the Somaliland Traffic Law, the citizen holding a foreign driving license can have a same-sized transport driving license of Somaliland without passing the driving test stated by the Article 72 under the Somaliland Traffic Law.
Apply Temporary Driving Permit:
Although the country’s traffic law allows driving with foreign licenses, traffic policemen sometimes find difficult to identify the far-off driving documents, since Somalilanders from the Diaspora hold driving licenses of various world countries, and at the same time written in different languages such as Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch etc which are not spoken in Somaliland. In this case, if you may like to stay short time and may not decide to have Somaliland driving license issued for you as stated above, then you have option to request Temporary Diving Permit from the Transport Department. The procedure is simply as follows:-
- Complete Application Form (Available at the Transport Department Office);
- Copy of your foreign driving license (It must valid document);
- Two recent passport size photos;
- Pay fee SL Shillings 500,000;
- You will take the completed form and original receipt of the paid fee attached to it. You can drive with this document as long as you may be staying;
- Both nationals of Somaliland Diaspora and foreigners can apply.
Report your lost driving license:
If you lose your driving license, inform the Traffic Police Headquarter, and register your name and number of your lost driving license. The Traffic Police will issue you a Temporary Driving Document if you request
Rent a car to drive inside or outside Hargeisa
There are many Motor Sales/Rent Centres in the Capital City of Hargeisa, and in the other major city of Somaliland who have various types of light vehicles both for rent, and sale;
- If you are not known or are customer to the Motor Sales/Rent Centre, you must bring a person locally known to be guarantor for the responsibility of the vehicle (Damiin);
- The Motor Sales/Rent Centres usually enters agreement with the renter by filling in Car Rent Agreement Form with the vehicle specifications, and the agreed terms jointly signed, and stamped;
- You must have a valid driver license and passport (Foreign passport);
- You must pay the rental cost in advance or as you may agree with the Owner;
- You will be responsible for the fuel costs;
- You can rent a car with or without a driver (driver will cost you extra charges);
- You can rent cars of all types of the light vehicles including Grande, Land cruiser etc);
- Make sure to thoroughly check condition of the vehicle including tyres, brakes, lights, and that the owner is taxpayer, and have current six-months road tax sticker attached to the front mirror;
- If you fail in fulfilling any of the legal requirements, you have to abide by the law and follow the instructions the traffic police officer asks you.
What is the challenge to driving in Somaliland?
- Somaliland includes in the right side driving countries and the Somaliland Traffic Law states and enforces this while on the opposite over 99% of the cars sold and driven in Somaliland are right hand drivers or have the steering wheel on the right side of the car;
- Many of the traffic policemen may not read English and at the same time most of the foreign driving licenses those Somalilanders from the Diaspora have are issued in different foreign languages such as Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch, and German which are not spoken in Somaliland. Therefore if you are stopped and asked questions, you should keep cooperative by explaining the identity of your driving license and Tellling that you are driving with this in accordance to Article 72 of the Somaliland Traffic Law No 56/2013 and that you know it well.
For further information, refer to the Somaliland Traffic Law No 56/2013