Riyadh to Dubai/Abu Dhabi by SAPTCO bus - My experience


I did this trip recently. As less information is available thought of sharing my experience.

The return trip to either Abu Dhabi or Dubai is SAR270. In addition you will have to get the VISA for GCC residents online. For the moment even on arrival visa is issued at the border, but sometimes SAPTCO makes an issue if you have not taken UAE visa before so better to apply for online Visa.

SAPTCO bus station is few kilometres from Batha. At the bus station you have to get a sticker for your bag at counter 5. I dont know any reason why you take this. But if you loose your bag you can may be prove.

After placing the sticker you take your bag and you have to put it to the luggage carrier by yourself, porters are available at a fee. The bus normally departs from gate 7. It is the same bus you take to Abu Dhabi and Dubai. When I told ticket checker at the reception that I am going to Abu Dhabi he didn't know that there is a bus to Abu Dhabi. So basically just tell you are taking the bus to Dubai, if someone asks near the reception. However, tell the conductor that you are getting down in Abu Dhabi, as sometimes you might be the only person travelling to Abu Dhabi.

I first thought there was just one bus. Actually based on the travellers seems like more than one bus travels on a day, all around the same time.

Female and family sits infront while single men sit in the back of the bus.

At the Saudi border the bus conductor will collect your Iqama. Then at UAE border you will have to get down and go and do the eye scan and stamping of entry.

The border and the break we took just before the border took 3 hours during Eid holidays. Altogether took 15 hours to get to Abu Dhabi.

In Abu Dhabi the bus stops way before the city. If you ask a shop owner will show you the place where you can take the bus to the city. The bus is not frequent and only travels once an hour. You can't hardly find a taxi from this place as well. But when you stand with your bags some passing by vehicle will offer a ride. Bargain and go for around 40-50 dirhams.

The bus stop in Dubai in very close to the Deira metro. Infront of Hyatt you find very small shops and travel agencies. This is where the bus stops. Next to Hyatt there is a big UAE bus station stop. Don't get misled that the SAPTCO bus stops here. As mentioned it is infront of Hyatt - near small travel agency.

Coming back from Dubai (I came back from Dubai) only took 12 hours. If it was Abu Dhabi would have taken abt 10.5 hours I guess. At UAE border the conductor collects the exit fee. You will get down and stamp your exit. At Saudi border your Iqama will be collected. Also bags in luggage and inside bus will be checked for illegal stuff at Saudi border.

When you come to the SAPTCO bus stand you can take a taxi inside the bus stand for a higher costs, or step out of SAPTCO gate and get a taxi for a lesser costs.

Hope this will be helpful for more travellers to use the SAPTCO bus when travelling to UAE.

Hello Savank,

Thank you for this detailed post about your experience  :)

Surely members will be able to relate to that and that will help those who will be traveling  ;)


Hello TS Savank, Thanks for sharing your experience to UAE. Aside from Iqama, did they require your original passport upon entering in the border? Any website for applying online visa in UAE?

Dear friend
                     I am planning to go dubai for eid from riyadh through saptco bus. your advice is truly appreciative. I have a doubt in obtaining visit visa for uae. Is it possible to get visa at border or where should I apply. I have Engineer Iqama.

I heard recently they changed their on arrival visa policies. You have to apply online before you go there. Please check with their online portal or contact embassy. I will be going there next month, so my office admin informed me about this change done by UAE.

Excellent post! Planning to go to dubai also by bus. Did you buy your tickets in advance? how and where? Thank you.

Book your ticket from saptco website..

Hi guys, first and foremost going by bus from riyadh to Abu dhabi through saptco, what is the name of the UAE border,
is it  Al ghuwaifat border? kindly confirm because i need it for my online visa application. and lastly aside from having your visa with you, you are also required to bring your original iqama?

as per saptco schedule. the trip going to uae is not everyday. please confirm

Rame.. Got them thanks.

Call them for schedules and buy them online.

Got them. Thank you.

Did this trip last hajj. Savank accounts pretty accurate. The sticker in the station is where you actually get listed in the bus manifest. Very important as you could be ejected from the bus if your not on the list.

Border stop Saudi side takes long and there wasn't much people but still took us 3 hrs both ways. Going back you go to al belad sham office near where the bus stopped in Dubai. Bus stops near the Border, Al Batha, for food and CR break.

Going back to Riyadh conductor collects 35AED for UAE exit fee.

Thanks Savanak for a very helpful post.


Sorry for the late reply as I did not login to EB recently. You can obtain online Visa to UAE from the following site (If you or your spouse has Saudi Iqama). Probably not given for all occupations, those occupations not falling might have to go on the normal route of obtaining UAE Visa. … pany=false

Reservation of SAPTCO tickets can also be done online.

Well you can also travel to some of the other GCC countries in the SAPTCO bus. Including Jordan which I really like to visit shortly. Currently I have not no idea about obtaining Visa for the other GCC countries.


Dear Friends

Savank information are right.
I would like add few more details.
- Online VISA only accepted at border and bus (if you go with family, apply first for you and attach your approved VISA image(convert to 100kb size) while apply for family members)
- Take color prints of UAE VISA (if possible), Iqama, passport
- At Abudhabi border (al ghuwaifat), entry stamp will be punched in your VISA's (keep it safe while return/exit) you have to show this VISA and they will collect it.
- keep in mind that UAE exit fee is 35AED & will not be accepted by cash. So there is a shop keeper having e-dirham smart card. he will charge extra 5AED per card.

I hope this information will help everyone.


Dear Sravan,
If I travel to Dubai by SATCO from Dammam for applying e-visa what is the border selection point?

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