New Laws

25 October 2017

SAUDI ARABIA:  Women are allowed to drive for the first time  

King Salman has ordered the reform by way of royal decree, requesting that women be issued driving licenses, allowing them to drive for the first time in Saudi Arabia.

This is a positive step in a country that, until recently, only allowed men to drive and arrested or imposed fines on women who did.

Prince Khaled bin Salman, the country’s US ambassador, reiterated that women would not have to get male permission to take driving lessons and would be allowed to drive anywhere they wanted.  He was quoted saying it was ‘a historic and big day’ and ‘the right decision at the right time’.

Within the next 30 days a ministerial body will be set up to advise and the royal order will be implemented by 24 June 2018.

For years, rights groups in the kingdom have campaigned for the right to drive, where some women have endured imprisonment for defying the rule.

Many have employed private drivers to transport female relatives.

How will this affect expats?

This will impact expatriates already living in Saudi Arabia or women considering relocation opportunities there.

It is unclear, however, if Saudi Arabia will allow a drivers license exchange program for women expats holding a valid drivers license from their base country, or if they will be allowed/ required to take driving lessons.

Team Relocations will continue to monitor the progress and will provide updates as this news develops.



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