If you’re looking to hire a car in Dubai or will be driving your own vehicle in the city, it’s important to understand exactly how the Dubai toll system “Salik” works.
There are no toll booths in Dubai, but several major roads have toll points that you are automatically charged for as you pass beneath them.
Don’t get caught on unpaid Salik bills or misunderstandings; we will explain everything you need to know about using Salik in Dubai.
In this guide to road trolls in Dubai, we’ll cover:
What Exactly is Salik in Dubai?
Salik is an electronic tag system launched by the RTA (Roads and Transport Authority) in 2007 to help reduce congestion on major roads.
The electronic tag is a thin sticker that is attached to your car windscreen. Every time you pass under a Salik toll bridge, a payment will be automatically deducted from your online Salik account.
There are presently 8 locations across the city that operate Salik toll gates. These are found on Shiekh Zayed Road (Jebel Ali, Al Barsha and Al Safa), as well as two on Al Ittihad Street (Al Mamzar), Al Gharoud Bridge, Al Maktoum Bridge, and Beirut Street (Airport Tunnel).
It was also announced early in 2024 that two new Salike gates will be installed at Al Safa Gate South and Business Bay Crossing.
Dubai’s #RTA announced today the introduction of a new toll gate (Salik) at the Business Bay Crossing. The move is aligned with the RTA’s comprehensive strategic plan to develop and integrate road networks, public transport routes and services, and enhance technical road and… pic.twitter.com/C9JxQ56fdV
— RTA (@rta_dubai) January 19, 2024
What Does Salik Cost?
Every time you pass under a Salik toll gate, AED 4 is deducted from your account.
All tolls are operational 24 hours a day (though there are rumours abound in 2024 that they will introduce surge charging, similar to how rideshare services change have dynamic pricing).
There is no daily cap on how many tolls you will be charged for, however, there are a couple of exceptions:
- If you cross both of the Al Ittihad Street tolls within an hour in one direction, you’ll only be charged once.
- The Al Maktoum Bridge is free on Sundays from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM.
If you are using a rental vehicle your fixed charge per toll may be higher as the rental company will likely add an administrative fee (eg, Hertz charges you AED 5.25 per toll).
What if I am in a taxi?
Travelling in a taxi, AED 4 for every toll you pass during your journey will be added on to the metered fare.
What if my Salik balance has run out?
You will have a 5 day grace period to top up your account if you pass through a toll gate in Dubai without an active balance.
If you have not registered your vehicle, you get a 10 day grace period before you are fined.
How Do I Get My Car Set Up For Salik?
This will depend on whether you have a rental car or are driving your own vehicle.
Rental Cars in Dubai and Salik
The good news is that if you are renting a car in Dubai, all of the formalities of registering for Salik are taken care of for you by your rental car company. However, it’s important to note that the charges you incur for using toll roads will be charged back to you at the conclusion of your car rental period (plus, most likely, an admin fee).
Private Vehicles in the UAE
All private vehicles in the UAE, regardless of which Emirate your vehicle is registered in, must complete Salik registration before using one of the toll roads in Dubai or risk a fine.
You can pick up your Salik registration pack from any petrol station in Dubai Emirate (Emarat, EPPCO, ENOC and ADNOC). This includes an AED 50 per paid balance.
You can also order your Salik pack online to be delivered to your home/accommodation, but this will incur an AED 20 delivery fee, making your starting price AED 120 with AED 50 in credits loaded.
Once you have your pack, you’ll need an Emirates ID and your car registration card with a TC number handy to activate your account online, either using the Salike App (App Store | Google Play) or on the Salik website.
After your account is activated (you can only have one account per Emirates ID , but multiple vehicles can be attached to your account), you should immediately place the sticker on your windscreen in a place where your view is not obscured.
Reminders should be set once your account is active when your balance is running low. You can top up via the app or website, buy a Salik recharge card, or use cash deposit machines at participating banks.
What If I am driving inter-country?
If you are crossing land borders, for example, coming from Oman or Saudi Arabia by road, it’s still possible to buy a Salik pack from a petrol station and top up for the amount you will need.
What is the DARB Toll System
If you’ll be using your car to drive to another emirate, namely Abu Dhabi, you are NOT covered for tolls in Abu Dhabi by Salik.
Abu Dhabi has its own toll system called DARB. DARB toll gates only operate during peak hours 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM Monday to Saturday on the four main bridges that lead into Abu Dhabi island.
DARB worked on a number plate system rather than needing any sort of sticker or tag in your car. The good news for renters is again, your rental company takes care of the tolls as the vehicle will already be registered with DARB. Charges will come off at the conclusion of your rental.
Private vehicle owners in the UAE must register to use DARB – we have a detailed guide on our Abu Dhabi website explaining how DARB works.
NB – The big rental companies will most definitely have their cars registered for DARB and Salik. If you’re borrowing a car or using a budget rental car company, DO CHECK before driving that they have their vehicles properly registered and any potential hidden admin fees.
More FAQs on Salik in Dubai
No, you shouldn’t have to do anything with a rental vehicle, as it is the rental car company’s responsibility to register the vehicle – do make sure that you can see the sticker on your windscreen, though, so there are no unnecessary additional fines levied.
No, if you are only an occasional user or in the UAE for a short time, we’d recommend not topping up too much as once your Salik credits are purchased, there’s no refund on your remaining balance and it is not transferable.
No, accounts are registered to the vehicle owner; if you are selling the vehicle, we’d highly recommend you remove the sticker when selling and remove the vehicle from your account online so you do not incur any additional charges after the vehicle is sold. The new owner needs to add them to their own account and purchase a new sticker/top-up pack.
Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai
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