Dubai Metro traini leaving a station

Dubai Nol Card: Everything Tourists Need to Know Paying for Dubai’s Public Transport & More!

by Dubai Travel Planner

New to Dubai and looking to navigate the NOL card system for public transport?

You’ve come to the right place, as we will talk you through everything you need to know about this contactless smart card so you can hit the ground running when you reach Dubai.

If you intend to use public transport in Dubai, you will need a Nol card. Nol in Arabic means fare.

Nol or a Nol card is a rechargeable chip card. You need a Nol to travel on Dubai’s RTA (Roads and Transport Authority) Metro, buses, taxis and trams. Your Nol is not only for Dubai Metro tickets, it can also be used for many other services in Dubai, including public park entry, parking meters, museums, and even paying for groceries at convenience stores!

There are several Nol card choices, though, which we know can confuse newcomers. We will talk you through all your Nol card options, zones for ticket prices, and what you should expect to pay, which is essential for getting around in Dubai.

What Types of Nol Card are there?

There are several different types of Nol cards. Dubai Nol cards come in:

  • Red Nol ticket
  • Silver Nol Card
  • Gold Nol Card
  • Blue Nol Card

Who needs a Nol Card?

All passengers aged five years and over need a Nol to use public transportation in Dubai.

The only exemption for paying fares in Dubai is “People of Determination”- the name given locally to people with disabilities who can use public transport for free. They must, however, apply for a personal nol card – more below!

How much is a Nol card in Dubai?

The price of the physical card and ticket depends on the colour of the card you buy. 

A Silver Nol, for example, costs AED 25 ($6.80), of which AED 6 is for the card, and AED 19 is a credit on your card, whereas a Red Nol only costs AED 2 but has no pre-loaded credit – more below!

How much does each Metro trip in Dubai cost?

The tariff you pay per trip on Dubai public transportation depends on which card type you use, and the zones travelled.

Dubai Metro Zones

Dubai is divided into seven zones. The number of zones you travel on a single journey will determine the rate that will be taken from your Nol Card. These zones apply to travel by Metro & Dubai Tram. To keep it easy, there are only three rates.

  • Tier 1 / 1 Zone: travel within 1 zone or less than 3 km, crossing two zones
  • Tier 2 / 2 Zones: starts in one zone and ends in a neighbouring zone
  • Tier 3 / 3+ Zones: crosses three or more zones

The amount you pay per journey is automatically calculated when you tap in and out at stations/stops.

Dubai Metro Map
Dubai Metro and Tram map courtesy of RTA. NB Zones 3, 4 & 7 relate to the bus network not shown on this map

How can I get a Nol card in Dubai?

There are several different ways you can purchase your Nol card.

  • You can purchase from ticket offices in all Dubai Metro stations and some Dubai Bus stations using a debit or credit card, or cash.
  • Dubai’s Nol Silver Cards and Nol Red Tickets can be purchased from some Ticket Vending Machines.
  • You can also purchase Nol Silver Cards in Dubai from RTA Customer Service Centres and RTA-authorised sales agents.
  • Nol blue cards can be purchased online only.
  • NEW – buy your Nol card online using the Nol Pay Application.

Which Nol Card suits my needs best?

So, with the option of four different Nol cards (Dubai Metro cards, which can be used for multiple forms of transport, including Dubai bus and tram), which type of card is best for tourists?

Most tourists will opt for Red or Silver Nol cards – here’s what you need to know about each.

Nol Red Ticket

The Nol Red Ticket is a paper-based ticket (card) that can be purchased from ticket machines for only AED 2. It is an anonymous card (i.e., it doesn’t need registering) and is best for occasional users of the Dubai Metro, including tourists.

You must then load credit onto your Red Nol Ticket (Red Nol Card). It can be loaded with up to 10 Single Trips or 5-day passes.

Nol Red Ticket key features

  • Low ticket price – only AED 2 upfront ($0.54 USD)
  • The minimum balance to recharge is AED 7.50
  • Valid for 90 days
  • Can be bought from any ticket vending machine at any time
  • Allows you to pay for the exact trip only

Example costs with a Red Nol Ticket

You will need to load these amounts onto your Nol Red card before using the Metro

  • 1-day regular pass AED 20 (for use on one type of transport only)
  • 1 day pass gold pass AED 40
  • 1 zone AED 4
  • 2 zones AED 6
  • 3+ zones AED 8.50

Silver Nol Card

The Nol Silver Card is the perfect Nol starter card for regular use with an e-purse that can be loaded with up to AED 1000.

The Silver Nol Card costs AED 25 upfront, which includes AED 19 e-purse value, and the ticket holder is anonymous, i.e. you don’t need to register your card.

Silver Nol Card key features:

  • Automatically calculates the cost of your trip and deducts it from your e-purse
  • Valid on all modes of transport
  • Maximum journey duration 180 minutes
  • The minimum balance is AED 7.50
  • Valid for five years

Example fares for the Silver Nol Card

Although the Silver Nol is AED 4 more upfront than the Red Nol Ticket, you get cheaper fares on the Silver card. You can only travel in regular class:

  • 1 zone AED 3
  • 2 zones AED 5
  • 3+ zones AED 7.50

Generally speaking, the Silver Nol will be your best option as a tourist if you are in Dubai for several days and intend to catch public transportation on several occasions.

Nol Gold Card

The Nol Gold Card allows the holder to travel in luxury and comfort in the Gold Class Cabin of the Metro. It is also an anonymous Nol card with the same features as the Silver Card, but with the added benefit of giving you privileged access to the Dubai Metro’s Gold Class seats for a premium fare.

The Gold Nol Card costs AED 25 upfront, which includes AED 19 e-purse value.

Gold Nol Card key features:

  • Access to Gold Class cabins on the Metro & Tram
  • Maximum journey duration 180 minutes
  • Automatically calculates the cost of your trip and deducts it from your e-purse
  • Valid on all modes of transport (premium seating only on Metro & Tram)
  • Valid for 5 years

Example fares on a Gold Nol Card

  • 1 zone AED 6
  • 2 zones AED 10
  • 3+ zones AED 15

If you prefer a bit of comfort and space on your journey then the Gold Nol could be your best choice, though note it does not guarantee you a seat if the Metro is busy.

Nol Blue Card (Personal Nol cards)

The Nol Blue Card is a secure, personalized smart card that is best for daily commuters. You can use the Blue Nol card on all types of public transport that are part of the Nol Card scheme.

The major difference between Blue and Silver is that Blue Nol cardholders can enjoy a secure card balance if their card gets lost or stolen.

The Blue Nol Card costs AED 70 upfront, which includes AED 20 e-purse value. You can load your registered Blue Nol Card with up to AED 5000 in value.

Blue Nol Card key features

  • Automatically calculates the cost of your trip and deducts it from your e-purse
  • Valid on all modes of transport
  • Secure card balance if your card gets lost/stolen
  • Personalized with a photo
  • Variety of secure online services, as well as SMS & email notifications to keep you posted
  • Valid for five years
  • Students, Senior Citizens, or social welfare holders pay 50% of the regular fare

The Metro fares are the same as you’d pay for a gold or silver card but with the added benefit of securing your balance. You can top up larger sums immediately without fearing losing your balance.

You can apply for personal Nol cards online or through the Nol Pay application.

Nol Fares Compares by Nol card

1 zone 4 AED3 AED6 AED3 AED
2 zones6 AED5 AED10 AED5 AED
More than 2 zones8.5 AED7.5 AED15 AED7.5 AED
Upfront cost2 AED25 AED (19 AED e-purse)25 AED (19 AED e-purse)70 AED (20 AED e-purse)

Water Bus Fares

The Water Bus in Dubai Marina charges a flat AED 2 per journey.

Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly and Annual Passes with Nol Card

In addition to the single-use fares above, frequent travellers on the Dubai Metro or other RTA services can pay upfront for the following fares (Students, Senior Citizens and Concession holders pay 50%):

NB Anonymous Silver/Gold Cards can only apply for a 7-day pass; For anything longer, you need to register your travel pass product

7-Day regular pass

  • 1 zone AED 50
  • 2 Zones AED 80
  • 3+ Zones AED 110

7-Day Gold pass

  • 1 zone AED 100
  • 2 Zones AED 160
  • 3+ Zones AED 220

30-Day regular pass

  • 1 zone AED 140
  • 2 Zones AED 230
  • 3+ Zones AED 350

30-Day Gold pass

  • 1 zone AED 280
  • 2 Zones AED 460
  • 3+ Zones AED 700

90-Day regular pass

  • 1 zone AED 330
  • 2 Zones AED 550
  • 3+ Zones AED 830

90-Day Gold pass

  • 1 zone AED 660
  • 2 Zones AED 1,100
  • 3+ Zones AED 1660

365-day regular pass

  • 1 zone AED 1,060
  • 2 Zones AED 1,770
  • 3+ Zones AED 2,670

365-day Gold pass

  • 1 zone AED 2,120
  • 2 Zones AED 3,540
  • 3+ Zones AED 5,340

How to Use the Dubai Nol Card

So, now you’ve sorted out what type of Dubai metro card you need, how does it actually work?

  • Make sure you have at least AED 15 on your Nol card before you use it
  • Place your Nol card on the card reader to “check-in”
  • Wait for the beep or green light to know you’re successful and pass through the gate/entrance
  • On leaving the public transport, you need to check out to ensure the correct fare is applied
    • At the end of your journey, place your card on the e-reader and wait for the beep or green light, then pass through the gate

You can now use the Nol Pay application too (Apple | Google Play) as a virtual card. If you have uploaded your Nol card information you can make a single tap with your phone in place of a physical card or ticket (Presently only only on certain models of Huawei and Samsung devices, iPhone is coming!).

Dubai Metro Station: Everything you need to know about Nol card Dubai

Topping Up Your Nol Card

nol pay application logo

When the balance is running low on your Dubai travel card, there are now several ways you can top up:

  • At any RTA ticket machine or ticket counter (Note that the minimum top-up now at a ticket office is AED 20)
  • Download the Nol Pay Application and top up with your debit or credit card
  • Online through the RTA website

If you’ll be using Apps and otherline services during your time in Dubai, make sure you have a Dubai Sim card and enough data!

a nol card top up machine in dubai for public transport tickets
A cash top-up machine for Nol cards

There are many upgrades expected to come to the Nol Pay system in 2024-25 and beyond. These changes will include family-group tickets, facial recognition, and stronger electronic security. We’ll update this information here as announcements come out.

More Frequently Asked Dubai Nol Card Questions

What is the Nol card price in Dubai?

This depends on what type of Nol card (Dubai Metro ticket/Dubai bus ticket) you want to purchase. There are different price categories for one-off/infrequent users (Red Nol), regular users (Silver Nol), and those who want to travel in a premium cabin (Gold Nol). You can also get a registered ‘Blue Nol’ – though you’ll pay the same fare on a Blue Nol as Silver or Gold, depending on what fare type you top your card up with.

Where to buy Nol card in Dubai?

You can purchase your Nol for the first time from any Metro station kiosk or vending machine, as well as many bus stops and tram stations. If you are arriving in Dubai from DXB, there are plentiful ticket vending machines at the Metro station, and staff are on hand to help.

How do I check my Nol card balance?

You can top up your Nol card at Nol recharge stations found all over the city, as well as online via the RTA website or with s’hail app.

How much credit do I need on my Nol card?

Dubai Metro Fares are calculated not only on zones but also on the type of ticket you are using. Use the price guidelines above and keep a minimum balance of AED 7.50 on your card (NB, that AED 7.50 can be used on your last journey)

Do I need a Nol card if I will only be using taxis in Dubai?

Whilst a Nol card can be used to pay for taxis in Dubai, taxis still accept cash and card payments other than Nol. If taxis are the only transport you will use in Dubai, there’s no need to go out of your way to get a Nol card unless you’d like one for paying for park entry, shops and other handy features.

Can I get a refund on my unused Nol card balance?

Blue Nol card is the only card that allows you to apply for a refund. It is wise to use any of the other electronic cards to top up only to the amount you think you’ll need to use.

Can I get a Blue Nol card as a tourist?

You don’t have to be a resident to benefit from the registered Blue Nol card. If you are a frequent Dubai visitor or think you’ll be heavily using the card during your trip to Dubai, then it would make sense to go to the extra effort of having a Blue Nol card registered, though be mindful you’d need an address to collect it from.

Can I use Gold Class Metro cabins with a Red Nol ticket?

You can use your Red Nol Ticket to pay as you go for use on regular or Gold; just make sure you top up the right amount and bear in mind Gold tickets cost more on a Red Nol Ticket than if you outright buy a Gold Nol Card.

Which Nol do I need to use the women & children’s cabin on Dubai Metro?

You can use your Red, Silver, or Gold Nol card for the women’s and children’s cabins on the Metro; it is the same price as other regular pass cabins, just designated for families only. It is clearly marked with pink lines at one end of the train (front or rear, depending on which way the train is going). The only cabin that needs a different fare is Gold.

What shops allow me to use a Nol card?

There are now over 2000 outlets in Dubai that allow tap and pay with Nol card; you can find them listed here. You can also use your Nol at Public parks that have a small entry fee.

Is a Dubai Bus Card the same thing as Nol?

Yes, there’s no separate type of transport ticket in Dubai for buses, all bus cards in Dubai are Nol cards.

Can I use Nol card for the Palm Monorail?

Previously, the Palm Monorail operated completely separate from the RTA system. Recently, the relevant authorities in Dubai changed this so that Nol cards could be used to pay the separate fare for the privately-operated Monorail – learn more about the Palm monorail here.

Can I use Nol on Etihad Rail?

In the future, yes, the NOL system in Dubai should seamlessly operate with the new Etihad Rail network across the UAE. Watch this space as changes to how we travel across the country are coming soon!

Does Nol also work in Abu Dhabi?

You can use the Nol card to pay your fare on the Intercity buses that run from Dubai to Abu Dhabi). You cannot, however, use your Nol on Abu Dhabi’s public transport system, you would need a Hafialt Smart Card – learn more here.

Where can I learn more about Dubai Metro?

The best place to start is the RTA website, or telephone queries (within the UAE) to 800 90 90

We hope this Nol Card/Dubai metro pass guide will help you navigate your way across Dubai. It is a big, sprawling city, but using the Metro can really help tourists get between the key attractions, and compared to other worldwide public transport systems, it is relatively low-cost, clean, and easy to use.

Fares and information in this guide are correct as of our last review in early 2024. Please confirm pricing directly with the RTA before purchasing.

More on Dubai Public Transport

Planning your travels around Dubai, you may also be interested in:

Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai

Take me back to the Dubai essential planning information home page

Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE and transit passengers self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our recommendation links.

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George Mbome Ateke June 8, 2022 - 8:58 pm

Greetings, please I wish to enquire if a tourist on a tourist Visa are obligated to pay fines levied on nol bus card upon exiting the UAE, thanks

Dubai Travel Planner June 10, 2022 - 1:12 pm

I’m afraid we don’t know the exact answer to this. If you were fined in person and they took any form of ID from you then you could run into serious trouble when leaving the country, no matter how small the amount they take unpaid debts very seriously here in the UAE.

Ali July 29, 2023 - 12:41 am

Hi I wish to inquire that if a person travels in bus without nol bus card and also have only visit visa then I want to know that is there any fine if it is then how can he pay without any slip

Dubai Travel Planner August 22, 2023 - 11:39 am

We do not known the exact consequences, but given traveling on public transport without a valid ticket is against the law anywhere in the world, why would you do it? Even a tourist can be fined for breaking the law. If you have an outstanding fine on leaving the UAE you will be held by border police until payment is made – we understand cash and credit card payment are accepted. If you cannot pay, a travel ban can be applied. Simply put, don’t break any laws in Dubai as consequences can be severe.

Peter September 7, 2023 - 10:01 pm

Is a Silver nol cart for personal use or can pay with it for two or more people at the same trip?

Dubai Travel Planner September 7, 2023 - 10:10 pm

Hi Peter, each passenger over 5 years old needs their own Nol card to go through the gates at Metro stations, unfortunately there’s no card sharing.

Karen October 14, 2023 - 8:28 pm

If you need to keep 7.50 on your NOL card does that mean you have to have 7.50 unused on it at the end of your Dubai trip or can you use the 7.50 on your last public transport trip?

Dubai Travel Planner October 16, 2023 - 11:35 am

Our understanding is you need this when you start your last journey, so you do not exceed the maximum fare for that trip.

tony December 31, 2023 - 2:17 pm

een nol silver 7 dagenpas (110 aed), kan ik hiermee onbeperkt reizen gedurende 7 dagen of enkel tot de 110 aed opgebruikt is ?

JZ February 8, 2024 - 5:57 am

Is it possible to travel on public transport in Dubai using a Credit Card?

Dubai Travel Planner February 8, 2024 - 10:02 am

At present, the system is only set up for payment with a physical Nol card or Nol card on your phone, not credit cards.


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