Saudi Arabia: Everything is in place for women to drive in June

Landmark decision to allow women to drive will take effect on June 24

A Saudi woman poses for a photo after having a driving lesson in Jeddah on March 7, 2018.
Saudi Arabia's historic decision in September 2017 to allow women to drive from June has been cheered inside the kingdom and abroad -- and comes after decades of resistance from female activists, many of whom were jailed for flouting the ban. / AFP PHOTO / Amer HILABI

All requirements for women in Saudi Arabia to start driving have been established, said the director of the General Department of Traffic.

Major Genera Mohammed Al Bassami said that women in the kingdom will be able to work as taxi drivers and in other traffic security-related facilities, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Culture and Information on Tuesday.

The landmark decision to allow women to drive in the country was announced in September, 2017 by King Salman. It is in line with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Vision 2030 and will take effect on June 24.

“In order to obtain a private driver’s license, applicants must be at least 18 years old while those applying for a public driver’s license must be at least 20 years old,” said Maj Gen Al Bassami.

“Applicants are required to pass a medical exam, theoretical and practical driving tests and complete the required hours of training in accredited driving schools.”

The statement said that five driving schools for women have already been established and all facilities for issuing licenses will be up and running at the beginning of June.


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Training will vary between six to 30 hours, depending on the applicant's driving skills, it added.

For women residing in Saudi Arabia but carry licences from abroad, they may be able to get replacements issued from one of 21 facilities across the country.

“All the halls and arenas mentioned above are equipped to receive replacement request,” said Maj Gen Al Bassami.

“The validity of the licence and the ability of those wishing to replace it will be determined by conducting a driving assessment in accordance with Article 37 and Article 37/2, which state that those who haven’t mastered driving should be referred to the Traffic Department even if they hold a driving licence, provided that the requested licence is compatible with the type of foreign or international license they hold.”