Whether you live in Dubai, or are simply visiting, a trip to Oman is a must. Best of all, you don’t need to fly. Driving from Dubai to Oman is fairly straightforward, and a great adventure. There are only a few things to bear in mind.
Read on for all the information and tips you need to help you plan your Dubai to Oman road trip.
First of all, there are a few different route options when driving from Dubai to Oman.
The two countries share several border crossings. However, only certain border crossings are open to tourists and non-GCC (Gulf Cooperation Counsel) citizens.
Of these, there are three main crossings to consider. Which one to take will depend on where you’re coming from/going to.
Hatta – Al Wajajah border crossing
This is the border crossing which is closest to Dubai, so might make the most sense if you are pressed for time. From the centre of Dubai, it’s 140 kms to the border and takes about 1 hour 40 mins.
Do not attempt to use the border crossing at Al Madam, on the E44 road, as this is only open to citizens of GCC countries. Instead, take the E102, bypassing the small “spur” of Oman which sticks up into the UAE, before joining the E44 to cross the border at Hatta/Al Wajajah. (See below map, which shows this more clearly.)
Once you’ve been stamped out of the UAE, you need to drive 3 kilometres down the road before you reach the Omani immigration post.
From here, it’s 85 kilometres to Sohar (takes about an hour), or 310 km to Muscat (about 3.5 hours).
Assuming the border crossing is smooth and hassle-free (see below), the journey from Dubai to Oman by road using this route should take between 5-6 hours.
Meyzad – Hafeet border crossing
Personally, I think this is a more interesting option, as you get to see a very different part of the UAE before crossing the border. It’s also a better option if you’re planning to head onwards towards Nizwa, Jebel Shams, or other destinations in central/southern Oman.
The Mezyad crossing is just the other side of Al Ain, the largest inland city in the UAE. If you have the time, it’s worth breaking the journey here and having an explore.
Al Ain, known as the “Garden City”, is an attractive place, built on an oasis in the desert, with lush greenery and tree-lined avenues.
It’s 160 kilometres from Dubai to the Mezyad border crossing, via the E66, and takes about 2 hours.
This is also a good crossing point if you’re coming from Abu Dhabi (190 kilometres, takes 2 hours).
Khatm Al Shiklah border crossing
This is another crossing close to Al Ain, and takes a similar amount of time to get to as Mezyad.
The main difference is that, unlike Mezyad, the UAE and Oman border posts are nowhere near each other. Once you’ve been stamped out of the UAE, you need to drive almost 30 kilometres before you reach the Omani border post. (This confused me a lot – I thought I’d accidentally driven into Oman without a stamp, but then didn’t know what to do about it so carried on driving…!)
As a result, this isn’t the best option if you’re simply driving to Oman from Dubai for a UAE visa run. But on the other hand, this crossing is usually less busy than the others, so you’ll probably get through more quickly.
Driving From Dubai To Oman: Border Formalities
The three border crossings noted above are usually hassle-free and fairly easy to navigate.
You’ll need to fill in an immigration form, and customs officials may want to have a look inside your car. (It’s best to avoid any obvious evidence that you’re carrying alcohol, if indeed you are.)
How long the formalities take depends on how busy the crossing is. If possible, try to avoid weekends (Friday-Saturday) and public holidays, when there are often long queues.
Depending on the traffic, the crossing can take anything from 15 minutes to 2 hours.
At the UAE border, you will need to pay an exit fee of 35 AED. Card payments are usually accepted, though it’s a good idea to also carry cash, in case the card machine is having a bad day.
There is no fee to exit Oman.
Citizens of many countries can obtain an Omani tourist visa on arrival. This costs 20 OMR and is valid for up to 30 days. You’ll need at least 6 months’ validity remaining on your passport.
Certain nationalities can apply for an Omani eVisa in advance, which speeds up the process considerably.
** I always use, and strongly recommend, iVisa.com. Their online visa processing service is quick, secure, and easy to use. **
If you do opt to get a visa on arrival, you should be able to pay using credit/debit card. Failing that, most major border crossings have ATMs, and/or money changers where you can exchange AED to OMR cash.
When (/if) you cross back into the UAE, you’ll be given another UAE tourist visa on arrival for free, unless you were previously travelling on another type of visa (in which case, double-check that it allows multiple entries).
Car Hire In Dubai
(This is important!)
Not all car hire companies in Dubai will allow you to drive their cars into Oman.
If you’re planning to hire a car in Dubai, you must check with the hire company that they’re happy for it to be taken to Oman. It’s a good idea to mention this to them when you’re shopping around for quotes, before you commit to the rental.
Some companies allow it, but others don’t. Unhelpfully, companies tend to change their policies on this fairly frequently, so it’s not really possible to provide a definitive list here. Always check before committing to the rental.
The best deals on car hire in the UAE are usually found on localrent.com. They compare the prices of local car rental companies, which tend to be significantly cheaper than the big international hire companies.
You’ll need to ask the hire company for an NOC (No Objection Certificate), giving written permission for you to drive the car into Oman. There may, or may not, be an additional fee for the NOC. Border officials will almost certainly ask to see a copy of this, so make sure you get one!
You must also ensure that you take the car’s registration card (called a “mulkiya“) with you. You need the original card (not a photocopy, which probably won’t be accepted by the border guards). Also check it’s still in date and hasn’t expired!
If you’re driving a friend’s car, you should have their proof of ownership, and their written permission for you to take the car into Oman (unless they are with you). This isn’t always asked for, but I’d recommend having it in order to avoid any potential awkwardness at the border.
You will need valid car insurance that explicitly covers you whilst driving in Oman.
Some Dubai car hire companies can provide this (ask for written proof of coverage). If not, you can buy Omani third party insurance at the border.
Not all insurers cover off-road driving. If this is something you’d like to do, check whether the insurers in question will cover you.
And you’d obvs need a 4×4. 🙂
Driving From Dubai To Oman: Other Practicalities
Driving from Dubai to Oman is, in general, very easy. Most main roads are paved and in excellent condition.
A 2-wheel drive car is fine for accessing most locations. A 4×4 is only necessary if you want to head off road into the desert.
Once you get out of the main towns and cities, phone signal can be intermittent. Download offline maps in advance (e.g. Google maps offline) if you plan to spend much time outside of the main population centres.
In both countries, road signs are written in Arabic and English, and traffic drives on the right.
It’s not technically illegal to bring small quantities of alcohol with you across the border, but I wouldn’t recommend doing this, to avoid any issues with customs. (And if you do, keep it hidden.)
It’s obvious, but don’t drink and drive. Both countries have a zero-tolerance limit (with stiff penalties), and you are likely to be breathalysed if involved in an accident.
Make sure your medical travel insurance covers you whilst in Oman. Policies that cover the UAE probably also cover Oman, but it’s always worth checking.
Dubai To Oman By Bus
If you don’t want to drive, Mwasalat operates a direct coach service from Dubai to Muscat.
However, I don’t really recommend this option unless you only want to visit Muscat. The public transport network in Oman isn’t very comprehensive and you might struggle to get around without a car.
In Dubai, you can catch the coach from Abu Hail station (in Deira), DXB airport T2, or Rashidiya Metro Bus Station. The service terminates in Muscat at Azaiba bus station.
Tickets cost 60 AED one way, and 95 AED return. However, you must purchase a ticket before boarding the bus. You cannot purchase a ticket online or on the bus itself. Tickets are available from Abu Hail station and the Mwasalat Office in Deira.
Check here for latest timetable information and further details.
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