Saudi Arabia is unique in its many ways and one such reason until June 2018, was for being the only country in the world where women were forbidden to drive vehicles. Women of Saudia Arabia then started a campaign called ‘The Women to Drive Movement’ as more rights were denied for them by the government than men, women driving cars were arrested and their passports confiscated and with this campaign they wanted the freedom and right to drive motor vehicles on public roads. In 2007, Wajeha al-Huwaider and other women petitioned King Abdullah for women’s right to drive, which went unattended post which one of that attracted international media attention was a film of al-Huwaider driving on International Women’s Day in 2008. In 2011 this drive campaign intensified and it took a turn by showcasing 70 different cases of women driving to motivate other women. This carried on for several years after as well with no official aide provided to women instead strong warnings being given for those who drove or supported the campaign to be punished.
Luckily, this ban was lifted on June 24, 2018 however, not to mention multiple women were detained for supporting and rallying for lifting the ban continued to be in custody after the ban was lifted. Now women can get their driving licence and can drive themselves anywhere including expat women.
Steps to Get Women Saudi Driving License
Same procedure applies to both foreign men & women applying for drivers licence and they do not have to give away/up their existing drivers licence from their original country. The process for converting the foreign license to the Saudi license requires you to first enroll in driving school first.
First open an Absher account on the Ministry of Interior new account registration online or you can visit MOI Absher kiosks located around town to open the account. You need to enter your details, ID number or iqama and your own mobile phone number along with bank account details to create an Absher account. Also, usernames can be tricky so best to use a combination of words/letters and numbers and a short one that you can remember easily at the same time keep the account safe with a unique password. In order to activate the absher account, you will be prompted to validate your bank account details through online banking or the bank’s ATM.
Currently some cases of expat women not being able to open Absher account is still a challenge as they are listed as ‘dependants’ of their sponsors etc., which is going to be fixed soon. Expat women who have iqamas under employers and wives of Saudi have been able to create absher accounts so far.
Second, once the account part is done, go to the electronic services for booking an appointment with this path→ Electronic services- Click on appointments- click on traffic- click on book appointment.
You will need to upload the following copies for booking an appointment at the Moroor traffic office to do your driving test and give in person finger prints. It’s possible to book the appointment and not have the medical done yet.
- Scanned copy of Your ID
- Scanned copy of your valid driving license
- Scanned copy of translation of driving license (front and back)
- Medical report
Medical reports can be obtained only at certain clinics you can read about it from the SDLP site by downloading the PDF file which gives you names and phone numbers of the specific clinics in your area that are doing the medicals for the driving license.
What happens at the medical clinic? Have your documents ready, ask for a driving license medical testing and pay the fee ( I paid about 20 SAR with insurance, without it’s 105 SAR). Tip: if you hate blood tests then have with you a certificate which states your blood group and type. Otherwise they’ll draw blood to test for them.
At the clinic you can see a female nurse who does simple eyesight checks. After receiving approval of medical checkup you’ll have to wait for the officials to update details of your medicals into the system and ensure you wait till this is done as you receive a confirmation on your mobile through SMS confirming the medicals are done & report is uploaded which will be used for the license issuing process.
Fees: License payment will be processed through SADAD before your appointment for which the cost is 400 SAR for 10 years license and 200 SAR for a 5 year license.
We hope more and more women drivers for their own convenience drive and use this opportunity given by the Government which is their right.