oskar RNA localization to the posterior pole of the Drosophila melanogaster oocyte requires splicing of the first intron and the exon junction complex (EJC) core proteins. The functional link between splicing, EJC deposition and oskar localization has been unclear. Here we demonstrate that the EJC associates with oskar mRNA upon splicing in vitro and that Drosophila EJC deposition is constitutive and conserved. Our in vivo analysis reveals that splicing creates the spliced oskar localization element (SOLE), whose structural integrity is crucial for ribonucleoprotein motility and localization in the oocyte. Splicing thus has a dual role in oskar mRNA localization: assembling the SOLE and depositing the EJC required for mRNA transport. The SOLE complements the EJC in formation of a functional unit that, together with the oskar 3' UTR, maintains proper kinesin-based motility of oskar mRNPs and posterior mRNA targeting.