Women Driving in Saudi Arabia, and How To Get Your License

*This entry is for those who already have a valid foreign or non-Saudi license.

Women driving in Saudi Arabia… who knew this day will come? There was a certain joy and excitement in the air when midnight of June 24, 2018 came. It was the first day that women in Saudi Arabia can drive! There were a lot of people who made this possible and we salute everyone who did their best to get this freedom to drive. For us, it’s not really the driving per se that we’re elated with. It’s the choice. Women are given the choice to drive or not drive. Unlike before when all women are not allowed to drive. We are ecstatic for Saudi women especially. Most foreigners or expats can drive in their own country so that’s a given. But majority of Saudi women can’t drive and weren’t give the freedom to do so since time immemorial. We’re happy for them!

Obtaining a driver’s license for women in Saudi Arabia have different steps. We tried to put them together in this infographic:

You have to know which category you are in. The Pink Tarha’s category? None of the above. We don’t know how to drive. And as of the moment, we’re not eager to learn. But who knows right? Someday, we’ll learn and eventually get our driver’s license. There’s always hope for us, haha. Anyway, this entry is for this category: women who already have VALID non-Saudi driving licences. Do you have a driving license issued from your home country? Or maybe an international driving license? Or a license issued by a country where you were before? Is your license valid? Is you license NOT EXPIRED? Well then, here are the steps you need to do. This information is from our friend, Jameelah (yes, she’s Filipina), who got her Saudi driver’s license yesterday! Yay! So yes, this is confirmed, verified information. #wagnamakulit #justread

1. Prepare the following documents:
– Iqama, and a scanned copy
– Foreign Driver’s License, and a scanned copy
– Translation of your existing foreign driver’s license from a certified translation office (make sure that it has the translation office’s stamp)

TIP: Our friend visited this translation office:
Middle East Office for Translation – https://goo.gl/maps/hnmiudKqhmM2

There are many translation offices in Riyadh and here are some examples:
Al Salim Translation Office – https://goo.gl/maps/rkfmsVLBaoB2
Almadani Certified Translation Office – https://goo.gl/maps/22Fe4SHUH9F2
Alomar Certified Translation – https://goo.gl/maps/wWDV37uSVvA2
Rawnaq for Certified Translation – https://goo.gl/maps/HxKBD79acfK2
Darleen Certified Translation – https://goo.gl/maps/DCMak99GZau
Lufta Certified Translation Office – https://goo.gl/maps/tqf2X5KA4c32
Al Ma-ajaem Translation Bureau – https://goo.gl/maps/XCvJfMvBFER2
Binbaz for Copyright Translation – https://goo.gl/maps/FqXpsbrxzyz

2. Create an Absher account.
Absher is an online portal by the Ministry of Interior (MoI) of Saudi Arabia to its citizens and residents (expatriates). It contains all electronic services provided to citizens and residents as well as news and events by the ministry. People can register online at the MoI website, submitting personal details at kiosks installed at various public places and markets.

The Absher portal by the MoI. There’s also an app.

NOTE: DEPENDENTS CAN GET A DRIVING LICENSE TOO! Because dependents of foreign workers cannot sign up for their own Absher account, there’s a belief that dependents cannot get their driving license because an Absher account is necessary for getting it. However, we have received a personal experience from one of our readers (thank you Sumbul Shahbaz!) that she’s a dependent and she got her driving license. She registered at the driving portal. At the registration link, you will be asked if you have a previous driver’s license. When you choose yes, it will ask you to visit a traffic department. If you have a foreign license but no Absher account, visit the Saudi Driving School at the Princess Noura University and the staff will guide you from there. You will have to pay manually then wait for the text message for your training. You will need to undergo a 6-hour training and then proceed with your driving test.

3. Log in at https://www.sdlp.sa/login.
This is the website of the Saudi License Driving Portal. Your username and password is the same as your username and password in your Absher account. Fill out the form and upload the documents. Finally, select an appointment. Wait for the text message that will confirm your selected the date, time, and location (including Google map) of your driving exam. (In the case of our friend, she waited for a month from the time she registered to the time she had to take the driving exam.)

The SDLP website

NOTE: The SLDP website is in Arabic. You can use Google Chrome for an English translation of the website (or any other browser than can translate pages) or ask people who know how to read in Arabic to guide you in filling up the form. Or if you know how to read in Arabic, go for it!

Text message received by Jam from Moroor. It says that the appointment has been successfully booked. It also has the date, time and location.

4. While waiting for the day of your driving exam, do the following:
a. Get a medical report for driver’s license from accredited hospitals/polyclinics/medical centers. This is for blood test and eye test. It’s easier if you already know your blood type. The clinic will be the one to upload the results in EFADA but it’s important to get a copy of your results.

TIP:Our friend went to this clinic:
Al Warood Medical Clinic in Olaya – https://goo.gl/maps/1U2fh53kdv52

You can also check other medical centers here:
King Saud Medical City – https://goo.gl/maps/796nRPmJeuu
Al Habib Hospital – https://goo.gl/maps/ysNqgzwTsxq
Alkhozama Medical Clinic – https://goo.gl/maps/BTYSHXpPNdw
Olaya Medical Complex – https://goo.gl/maps/2c4tw4MpJzD2
Dar Al Shifa Hospital – https://goo.gl/maps/EE8sL2ydjw42
Olaya International Polyclinic – https://goo.gl/maps/RMFD1axd3862
Complete list here: https://www.efada.com.sa/EMC.UI/Hospitals/HospitalListForUnregistredUsers.aspx
*Blood test and eyes test are around SR 150.

b. Pay for your license fee via Sadad through online banking, phone banking or ATM. You can also pay on the same day of your appointment. Rates are SR 80 for 2 years, SR 200 for 5 years and SR 400 for 10 years validity.

5. Go and take your driving exam!
a. On the day of your appointment, bring the following:

What to bring!

– Original foreign driver’s license
– Iqama
– Translated driver’s license
– Medical report (just in case)
– 6 pieces photo (4 cm x 6 cm)

b. Test your driving skills.
Once you arrive at the Muroor office, ready the text message of your appointment, foreign driver’s license and iqama to verify the appointment at the reception. A number will be given to you and you just have to wait for your turn. Once your number comes up, your information will be verified and they will take your fingerprints. After this, just wait for them to call you again. All applicants will then be lead you to a trailer where a friendly officer (our friend asked us to reiterate this because a lot of applicants are afraid but don’t worry, the staff are helpful and friendly; they’re all men in this branch by the way) will explain how the test will go and what you will do in the track. There were around 12 applicants with my friend and after the explanation, anyone can go and do their driving test already. Just give your iqama and license to the officer and off you go to your test.

The driving track, are you ready?

TIP: Don’t be nervous! Like our friend said, the officers were friendly. Everyone is helping each other and there’s a united vibe in the air. They’re very supportive so go! They have a track where you will drive, do signals, do parallel parking, etc. The officer with you has an iPad where he’s tick off a list if you succeeded in doing the tests. If you know how to drive and have ample experience in driving then this will be easy for you. You can do it!

c. Wait for your license!
After the driving test, you will go back to the office into the nearest vacant counter so that the officer can verify if you passed or not. If you passed, then wait for your license as it prints! If you didn’t pass then you have to do the test again.

Our friend Jameelah! Congratulations!!! 🙂

5. Congratulations! You can now drive in Saudi Arabia! YOU GO GIRL!
Please take us on your road trip! Don’t make us list the dos and donts in driving here. As experienced drivers (since you already have a foreign driver’s license in the first place), you already know what constitutes safe driving. Right?! Haha. Be a safe and responsible driver!

LET’S GO JAM!

We’ll have a different entry for those who don’t have a driving license and need to attend the driving school first. We’ll try to interview someone again soon.

We would like to thank our friends Jameelah for sharing us her experience in applying for a driver’s license in Riyadh and Kim for relaying us the information. Thank you ladies! Yalla!

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Janelle
Janelle

The Editor-in-Chief speaks 7 languages: Filipino, English, Wit, Sarcasm, Truth, Creativity, and The Pink Tarha.

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