Roadways in UAE

Roadways in UAE

This article offers comprehensive insights into roadways in UAE, including details on various transport options and services. Explore valuable information on driving regulations, traffic laws, obtaining a driver’s license, and vehicle registration procedures.

Roadways in UAE

Roadways in UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is known for its modern and well-maintained road infrastructure. The country has invested significantly in developing an extensive network of highways and roads, connecting its seven emirates, major cities, and key destinations. These roadways in UAE play a crucial role in facilitating transportation, trade, and tourism within the UAE.

Land Transport Regulation in the UAE

Federal Law No. 9 of 2011 on Land Transport governs land transport operations for both individuals and goods, whether within the UAE or to and from the country, utilizing authorized transportation methods.

Land transport encompasses a wide array of vehicles, such as cars, buses, trucks, and tractor-trailers that operate on roads, including those moving on railways.

Obtaining a License for Land Transport Operations:

To engage in any land transport activity, it is essential to secure a license from the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MoEI).

Applicants for this license must meet the following criteria:

  • Hold UAE citizenship.
  • Own or lease a land transport vehicle suitable for the intended activity.
  • Obtain the necessary approvals from the relevant local authorities in the respective emirate.

Furthermore, the transportation vehicles must be outfitted with safety equipment and adhere to all technical requirements. The terms and conditions for license issuance must be continuously observed throughout the license’s duration.

The licensee is also required to acquire an operational card from the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MoEI) and ensure that it is always kept within the transportation vehicle.

Requirements for Land Transport Drivers

Drivers of land transport vehicles are obliged to adhere to the following regulations:

  1. Carry all necessary documents as outlined in the law’s implementing regulations.

  2. Enter and exit the UAE solely through official entry and exit points.

  3. Travel on routes designated by the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MoEI) in coordination with the Ministry of Interior and local authorities.

  4. Stop and assemble at designated locations and observe the operating hours established by MoEI, in consultation with the Ministry of Interior and relevant authorities.

  5. Avoid obstructing roads or sidewalks with goods.

  6. Comply with any additional conditions specified in the implementing regulations.


International Land Transport

For operators engaged in international land transport, it is imperative to secure insurance coverage for the entire journey and procure a customs pass card from the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs & Port Security.

Both the licensed operator and the transporter involved in international land transport are accountable for ensuring the safety of passengers and cargo.


The law outlines consequences for breaching its regulations. Like Roadways in UAE, you may also like to read about Airways and Railways in the UAE.

Roadways in UAE

The UAE's Road Infrastructure Ranking

The United Arab Emirates boasts the world’s finest road network. According to the 2019 Global Competitiveness Report from the World Economic Forum, the UAE proudly secures the seventh position in the road quality index.

In a remarkable move towards sustainability and efficiency, the Ministry of Interior Development has replaced conventional lighting with energy-efficient LED lamps across all federal roads, spanning a total of 710 kilometers. These LED lamps are not only more eco-friendly, emitting fewer carbon emissions than their traditional counterparts, but also have a longer lifespan of up to 10 years and reduce energy consumption by 50 percent.

For further details, please refer to the article: All federal roads lights to be LED lamps’ – Khaleej Times.

Primary Road Network in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates continues to invest in the construction and upkeep of its road infrastructure, aligning with international standards and employing cutting-edge technologies adapted to the country’s unique environmental conditions. These road projects are designed to enhance traffic efficiency and connect different regions of the nation through a modern road network. The UAE’s road network effectively links various emirates and includes key routes like:

  1. E11 – This highway is the longest in the UAE, stretching from Al Silah in Abu Dhabi to Ras Al Khaimah. It goes by different names such as Sheikh Maktoum Road in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, and Sheikh Muhammad bin Salem Road in Ras Al Khaimah.

  2. E311 or Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road – Formerly known as Emirates Road, this road serves as a vital link between Dubai and the other emirates.

  3. E611 or Emirates Bypass Road – Stretching over 110 kilometers, this road offers an alternative route to Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed roads for drivers from Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, and Sharjah traveling to Abu Dhabi without passing through downtown Dubai.

  4. Sheikh Khalifa Highway – Connecting Dubai and Fujairah, this road significantly shortens the distance by 20 to 30 kilometers compared to older routes.

  5. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Road – It links various villages in the eastern region of the UAE.

  6. Dubai-Fujairah Road – This road traverses the Hatta mountain range and passes through the emirates of Dubai, Sharjah, and Ras Al Khaimah.

  7. Dubai-Al Ain Road – Providing a crucial connection between Dubai and Al Ain city.

  8. Sheikh Zayed Bridge – An impressive 842-meter-long and 64-meter-high bridge, it is the third major traffic route connecting the mainland to Abu Dhabi Island.

Toll System

Toll system in the UAE is as follows…

Toll System in Dubai (Salik)

A toll of AED 4 is applicable to all vehicles, including taxis, as they pass through the toll gates in Dubai. To comply with this system, vehicle owners must purchase Salik tags, which are readily available online and at petrol stations. Once obtained, these tags should be affixed to the front windshield of the vehicle. To ensure smooth usage, vehicle owners should periodically check their Salik balance by calling 800-Salik (80072545) or recharging it online through various channels.

Passing through Salik gates without the required tag can result in fines. Additionally, if a vehicle passes through a Salik gate without sufficient balance in the Salik tag and fails to recharge the card within 5 days, a fine will be imposed on the vehicle.

Abu Dhabi Toll System (Darb)

As of January 2, 2021, the emirate of Abu Dhabi began implementing a road toll collection system. Toll gates have been established at four key bridges providing access to Abu Dhabi city:

  1. Sheikh Zayed Bridge
  2. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Bridge
  3. Al Maqtaa Bridge
  4. Mussafah Bridge.

Account Activation for the Toll System

If you are a vehicle owner, you are required to establish and activate your account with ‘Darb,’ the toll gate system. This can be done through the official Darb website or by using the ‘Darb’ mobile application, accessible on App Store, Google Play, and AppGallery.

It’s important to note that vehicle identification is automatically conducted using the plate number, eliminating the need to attach a physical tag to the windshield.

Toll Rates

  • A toll of AED 4 will be charged to each vehicle passing the gate during peak hours, which are from 7 am to 9 am and from 5 pm to 7 pm, from Saturday to Thursday.
  • No tolls will be imposed during off-peak hours, as well as on Fridays and official holidays.

Exemptions from Toll Charges

Senior Emiratis, People of Determination, Emiratis with limited income, and retired Emiratis are eligible for toll exemptions, with a limit of one vehicle per individual.

If their vehicles are registered in Abu Dhabi, the toll system will automatically grant these categories an exemption. However, owners of vehicles registered in other emirates must access their accounts to claim this exemption.


In conclusion, the extensive network of roadways in UAE exemplifies the nation’s commitment to creating a well-connected and efficient transportation infrastructure. Understanding the significance of roadways in UAE unveils a comprehensive system that not only facilitates smooth domestic travel but also contributes to the economic activities and development of the country.

Exploring the landscape of roadways in UAE reveals a harmonious blend of modern highways, bridges, and well-maintained roads that enhance accessibility across various emirates. The strategic development and expansion of roadways in UAE play a pivotal role in supporting the nation’s economic growth by fostering connectivity between urban centers and promoting efficient transportation of goods and services.

The practical implications of well-developed roadways in UAE extend beyond mere convenience; they contribute significantly to the daily lives of residents and the smooth movement of vehicles. Whether commuting within cities or traversing the picturesque landscapes, the network of roadways in UAE ensures efficient connectivity and ease of travel.

As we conclude our exploration of roadways in UAE, it’s clear that this infrastructure is integral to the nation’s progress and development. The continuous investment and strategic planning dedicated to roadways underscore the UAE’s commitment to providing a reliable and modern transportation system for its residents and visitors alike.