If you’re learning the ropes as a first-time driver in the UAE, then you need to know about the country’s toll gates.
Where are they? How much do they cost? And how can you get around the toll gate system to save yourself a little time and money?
We answer all these questions (and more!) below.
What toll gates are there in Dubai? And where are they?
Dubai’s toll gates — known locally as Salik — are positioned at:
- Airport tunnel — costing 4 AED
- Al Barsha — costing 4 AED
- Al Maktoum — costing 4 AED (but free from 10pm Thursday to 6am Saturday)
- Al Garhoud — costing 4 AED
- Al Mamzar South* — costing 4 AED
- Al Mamzar North* — costing 4 AED
- Al Safa — costing 4 AED
- Jebel Ali — costing 4 AED
* Rest assured, you’ll only be charged once when you pass through Al Mamzar North and South gates in the same direction within one hour.
What is a Salik tag?
Want to use the toll gates in Dubai? No problem — you’ll need a Salik tag to get through.
Salik (Arabic for “clear and moving”) is the city’s electronic toll system, operated by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). The goal of having Salik in the car already is to help traffic flow smoothly without the delays caused by traditional tolling gates.
That means no booths, no collectors, and no fishing for loose change in your pocket.
Of course, you will be charged every time your car passes a Salik toll gate, but it’s done automatically through your prepaid Salik account. Cutting-edge Radio Frequency Identification in the tag identifies each car accurately.
A Salik tag has no batteries or moving parts, and functions properly in any weather. Simply place this clever little device on your windshield and you’re good to go (this step’s already done for you if you have an Invygo car FYI!)
Ready to change cars? Just remove the tag from your windshield and order a new one. A word of warning: you can’t remove the tag without damaging it, so try not to tinker with it unless you’re finished with it for good.
How do I register for a Salik account?
If you’re not an Invygo customer (yet!), then you’ve got a number of options when it comes to setting up your Salik account.
Firstly, you can buy a tag at almost any gas station across the city. Or you can order one online.
Either way, you’ll need to create a Salik account first, by following these steps:.
- Complete an application form online or at a gas station
- Submit the form with the necessary documents: a copy of your car’s registration card and your ID documents
- You’ll receive (or be sent) your Salik kit once your details have been verified
- Apply the tag to the windshield
- You’ll receive an SMS carrying your unique account number and PIN, both of which allow you to access your account.
If you buy your kit at a gas station, you’ll pay 100 AED (which includes 50 AED credit on the tag). Getting it this way helps you save a little money, as the online payment costs 120 AED in total (to cover delivery). You can top your Salik tag up at petrol stations or online — whichever works for you.
For Invygo subscribers though? It couldn’t be easier.
Not only do each of our cars come with a Salik tag included, but we’ll even auto manage the payments. All you need to do is sit back and relax as we add your monthly Salik amount to your monthly subscription bill — there’s nothing else for you to worry about.
How can I avoid the Salik toll gate system?
Drive during off-peak hours (if you can)
Salik gates are toll-free during off-peak hours — plus Fridays and public holidays, too.
Peak hours run Saturday to Thursday, in the morning (7am to 9am) and in the evening (5pm to 7pm). So, if you can work your driving around these times, your account won’t be charged.
Use an alternate route
If the back and forth through Salik is adding up to a hefty sum, you can use Al Khail road instead – a highway that has all the same exits as Sheikh Zayed road but without the Salik toll gates.
Make sure you’ve registered and keep your balance topped up to avoid fines
Can’t avoid the toll gates during peak hours? At the very least, you can avoid extra fines by registering and keeping your balance topped up.
If you pass through a toll gate without a tag, you’ll have 10 working days to buy a tag and create an account. Otherwise, you’ll be fined:
- 100 AED for the first day
- 200 AED for the second
- …and 400 AED for every day after.
If you drive through a gate without enough credit to cover the 4 AED charge, you can avoid a fine by topping up your balance and having the fee deducted.
Or — and it pays to say it again! — if you’ve got your car through Invygo, your Salik fees are automatically charged through your monthly subscription payment; removing the risk of fines altogether!
Okay, what about toll gates in the rest of the country?
It was announced in 2019 that new toll gates would be installed at four Abu Dhabi bridges: Sheikh Zayed Bridge, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Bridge, Al Maqtaa Bridge and Mussafah Bridge.
As of now, these toll gates are still free to use — and are advertised to stay that way until the end of 2020. When the fees do come into action, drivers will be able to pay through an automated system — much like Salik in Dubai.
However a Salik tag will not be accepted on Abu Dhabi tolls.
Drivers will need to register through the Department of Transport website, instead.
Keep checking back for more up-to-date information!
… that’s all you need to know!
As you can see, operating the toll gate system in the UAE is pretty simple once you know how — especially if you’re an Invygo customer.
You drive, and we’ll handle the rest.