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  • Writer's pictureThe Dental Booth

Practice Dentistry in UAE after BDS

A lot of dentists think practicing dentistry in UAE is an easy process. But before relocating to a new country, one should always check the rules and registration criteria for working in a new country.

UAE is a federation of seven emirates - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain and Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah. In terms of economic and resource wealth, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the largest and most powerful emirates providing about 80% of UAE’s income.

A question most commonly asked is about the average income of a dentist in the UAE. It all depends on which clinic or hospital you get a job in and if you are practicing as a general dental practitioner or a specialist. In the United Arab Emirates, a dentist can earn a salary of AED 15,000 to AED 20,000 per month approximately depending on your experience and clinical skills. The average Dentist salary in the UAE is AED 180,000 per year. Entry-level Dentist positions start at AED 96,000 per year. Experienced senior Dentist positions can get up to AED 303,000 per year.

The highest salary per year as per Indeed in each of the seven Emirates is:

Dubai - AED 303,500

Abu Dhabi - AED 129, 611

Sharjah - AED 109, 428

Ajman - AED 81,961

Umm Al-Quwain - AED 100,201

Fujairah - AED 95,436

Ras Al Khaimah - AED 148,688

Before moving to UAE, one must write certain exams to start practicing as a dentist. To apply for exams in the UAE as a General Dentist, you must have a recognized primary degree (BDS or equivalent) from an accredited health science program, completed 1 year of the internship program, and 2 years of clinical experience. Dentists with no evidence of completion of the internship will need an additional 2 years of experience.

It is important that you decide your emirate of choice for work at the outset and align your exam preparations in relation to that emirate because the exam result is not always transferable between emirates. However, once the registration is done, you can transfer your license if you get one from one emirate to another, and that is also a long process but it’s doable.

To work in Dubai, one needs to pass the DHA eligibility exam. Passing the exam qualifies you to look and apply for work in Dubai ONLY and not anywhere else in the UAE.

First, you need to register on the DHA Sheryan website and submit the self-assessment form.

Registration Fee: 200 AED

Applicants Credential Review time period: 2 - 4 weeks

Next, you will fill out the application for DHA review and upload the required documents:

  • Nationally accredited Educational Qualifications recognized by DHA Professional Qualifications Requirements (PQR) (BDS/DMD/DDS)

  • Official Educational transcript(s)

  • Internship Completion Certificate

  • Recent professional experience certificate(s). (At least 2 years required post internship)

  • Valid professional License/Registration from the country of last employment

  • Valid Good Standing Certificate not older than 3 months (from State Dental Council)

  • Recent passport size photograph

  • Valid passport copy

  • Last two years Logbook for surgical specialties

Once the required documents are submitted to Primary Source Verification (PSV) agency (also, known as Data Flow Verification Process), you will receive the verification result.

Primary Source/Dataflow Verification (PSV) time period: 2 months

Next, you will select the date for the Prometric assessment by DHA. Only theory exam, which is a Computer Based Test (CBT). The exam is conducted digitally at centers present in various countries. Find out your nearest center, there is at least one center in every state of India. The Dubai Health Authority is fond of the newer technology and product names, so keep an eye out for such knowledge.

The DHA examinations’ time is 3 hours. The actual examination time is 2.5 hours for 150 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) for DHA. This means that the computer is timed at 2.5 hours when you begin your examination. However, your appointment slot will last 3 hours. The extra time will accommodate for the time you take to verify your identity and prepare yourself for the exam.

The results will be provided within 5 working days, along with an Eligibility Letter which is a document with which you can search for a job. The exam result is valid for 5 years, whereas the Eligibility Letter issued representing the result is valid for 1 year only.

After passing the exam, you can fly to Dubai and find a job. Some of the websites which are useful to find jobs are LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor. After finding a job, your employer will help you convert the eligibility letter into a dental license to practice in Dubai.

If you do not find a job within 1 year of the time period, you need not appear for the exam again, instead, you can renew the eligibility letter by submitting your most recent working experience in your home country or elsewhere.

The conversion of the eligibility letter into a license will require the following documents:

  • Dataflow report

  • Recent good standing certificate

  • Fees to issue the License: AED 3020 (Depending on your employer, this expense may/can be taken entirely or partly by your employer)

  • Delivery fees AED 20 payable cash upon delivery

Abu Dhabi and Al Ain: Department of Health (DOH) (Previously, Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD)) exam

First, you need to create a unique identification number through the DOH user management system. Next, you will apply for the Primary Source Verification through the Dataflow website and submit the required documents.

You will receive a notification of the application status through an electronic email being sent to the applicant's email. Update the application and documents (if required) and submit for "Credentialing Verification" through the DOH user management system.

Once you receive the approval for credential verification, you need to book the Prometric assessment – DOH exam. Passing the DOH (HAAD) exam is the first step to working in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. It gives you the eligibility to apply for job vacancies in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain ONLY and not anywhere else in the UAE. The rest of the process is similar to what DHA processes.

Sharjah, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah, and Umm al-Quwain: Ministry of Health (MOH) Exam Start with registering on

and, you will have access to the e-system. Once you have created the account, you need to upload all the required information and submit the assessment request through the electronic service.

Now for the next step, you will receive a link for Primary Source Verification (Dataflow Process). For the Dataflow process, you need to submit the initial profile approval and define a day on which to send the DataFlow report.

Once the report is received by MOH, you can choose the Prometric assessment (MOH exam) date. Passing the MOH license exam gives you the right to search for job opportunities and work in Sharjah and the above-mentioned emirates of the UAE only. The assessment certificate will be issued upon successfully passing all the examinations (in case of failure, the applicant may re-apply to take the exam). The remaining procedure is similar to the DHA process.

For the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Department of Health (DOH) exams, the actual examination time is 3 hours with 150 MCQs.

Pass score: Prometric exam results will be uploaded online electronically within 48 hours. Exam results will be based on the total number of correct answers. An examinee with a score of 60% and above is considered a PASS for DHA and MOH exams. An examinee with a score of 65% and above is to be considered a PASS for DOH (HAAD) exams. Your Pass result will be valid for five (5) years.

Total number of Attempts: Dentists are granted a total of 3 attempts to pass the exam across the Authorities (DHA, MOH, and DOH/HAAD). If a dentist fails all 3 attempts, they can only reapply for an exam with a higher title i.e., if a general dentist was unable to pass the exam after three attempts, they have to provide the certificate of additional training in a specialty recognized by the Health Authority. After the third attempt, the exam-going dentist is also not allowed to apply for a lower or equivalent title, i.e., a general dentist will need to apply to sit an exam for a specialty.

Break or gap in practice for DHA, DOH, and MOH exam

Non-UAE nationals will not be able to apply for a license if they have a gap of clinical practice of more than 5 years (and more than 10 years for UAE nationals). If the years of gap in experience is less than 5 years, then a prescribed number of CPD points or training is recommended to apply for exams and licenses.


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