Saudi Arabia will be lifting the ban on women driving on the 24th of June 2018 and Saudi driving licenses are now being issued to women. The first Saudi women got their licenses this Tuesday from the Moroor traffic office. On Wednesday the offices opened to public for women with appointments to convert licenses to come and get their Saudi driving licenses. I got mine on Wednesday morning and could not be more happy and excited about this! After receiving my license many people (hundreds, literally) have messaged me online asking for advice how to complete this process and apply for the Saudi driving license. So I’ve written everything I can think of regarding the process in this post. If any developments surface, I’ll be adding them here.
Please read about using car seats and safety awareness in cars from my previous article here: Children are treasures not airbags
I hope this post will answer the following questions: How to convert your existing license to a Saudi driving license? Can expats get a Saudi driver’s license? How to get the Saudi driving license application for expat women?
Converting a foreign license to the Saudi license is possible for women of any nationality with a valid driving license. You will not have to “give up” or surrender your existing license to get a Saudi license. The process is very similar to the one that foreign men go through to obtain the Saudi driving license. Both Saudi women who have obtained a license from a foreign country and expats can apply for the Saudi driving license with this same procedure.
There is a process you need to follow in order to convert the foreign license to the Saudi license. For the women who do not have valid licenses (license expired) or don’t know how to drive, you’ll need to enroll to the driving schools first.
First the woman has to open her own Absher account on this site: Ministry of Interior new account registration
Alternatively you can go to one of the MOI Absher kiosks located around town ( in Riyadh Royal Mall upstairs has one)
In order to make your own absher you need to enter your details, ID number or iqama and your own mobile phone number. Note you also need a bank account. Tip: Make sure that when creating the account you use a username that is long enough and contains letters and a number for it to be accepted. For example they will not accept username “letsdrive” but the system will accept “letsdrive2”.
To activate your absher, you need to validate through online banking or go to your banks ATM and do it there, this means you need to have a bank account.
There has still been reports that some expat ladies have not been able to create an absher for themselves if they’re under the sponsorship of a non Saudi husband, ie they are listed as “dependants”. Expat women who have iqamas under employers and wives of Saudi have been able to create absher accounts so far. This apparently is waiting to be fixed in the system and will hopefully be working for all women soon.
Once you’ve created the Absher account, the next step is to go to the Saudi Driving License Portal website
UPDATE APRIL 2019: SDLP site is no longer in use. the procedure to book appointment is now through the Absher account direclty.
At Absher go to Electronic services- Click on appointments- click on traffic- click on book appointment.
DOCUMENTS NEEDED FOR ONLINE APPLICATION :
-Scanned copy of Your ID
– Scanned copy of your valid driving license
– Scanned copy of translation of driving license ( both front and back)
Once the license copy and translation have been uploaded, you will be able to book an appointment to Moroor traffic office to do your driving test and fingerprints. It’s possible to book the appointment and not have the medical done yet. The appointments at the moment seem to be quite fully booked as it’s Ramadan and Eid vacation for the government employees. Tip: try to book in all locations of your city , try different times or even in another city! (If you’re really in a hurry ?)
The license payment has to be processed through SADAD before your appointment. The cost is 400 sar for 10 years license and 5 years license is 200 sar.
HOW TO GET MEDICAL REPORT FOR SAUDI DRIVING LICENSE: Medical report can be done at certain clinics only. See the link from the SDLP site to a 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.
There are two clinics in Riyadh which myself and a friend went to that worked. During Ramadan, the staff was absent during the day or had left early and we had to make several trips to find someone to complete the medicals. To ensure the person who is allowed to access the absher system to enter your medical report there, go in the evening after 9pm (during Ramadan).The clinic is open during normal working days starting form 10 am onward.
Location of clinic I went to for Saudi driver’s license medical check up: Saha Aldiriyah Medical Complex Abdul Aziz Al Burhan, Al Khalidiyah, Riyadh 13713 011 486 3555 https://goo.gl/maps/q5auj4nZz1U2
What happens at the medical clinic? Have your documents ready, ask for 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’ll wait to see the female nurse who will perform simple eyesight checks (wear glasses for it if you normally do during driving). After receiving approval of medical checkup you’ll have to wait for the person in the office to enter the medicals into the system. Make sure not to leave before you’re certain they entered it and you’ve got the confirmation of the same on your mobile as SMS. They will also give you a stamped medical certificate.
HOW TO GET LICENSE TRANSLATED Search for certified translating service in your city.
EDIT: I have removed my recommendation for the translating service in Riyadh because he raised his pricing, after getting thousands of referrals through me ( disclaimer:I never asked for any referral fee or got any compensation for recommending him) Not cool to overcharge people just because I’m bringing all these customers to him, so I can’t recommend him anymore.
There are plenty of official translators around Olaya street.
Once you’ve done all these steps you’re good to go for the appointment at Moroor. I went to the one at Rimal area in Riyadh. It’s very far so make sure you have plenty of time to search for location ahead of your appointment. You will receive a SMS from MOROOR about your driving license appointment, time and the map.
Bring with you:
-copies of all documents
-Glasses if you need for driving
(we brought passport pics just in case but they were not needed, they use the same pic they have on the system)
– When your number is called, you will approach the desk and present your original id and original driver’s license. (Note: they do not accept photo copies, you must have the original documents. Also note: they do not keep your original license, as some have speculated. You will take it home with you.) They will verify all of the documents you have uploaded in the system. So do also have your translation with you in case they ask for it. Your thumbprint is taken.
– You then go to the practical driving exam waiting area. Here, they will explain the course to you and you will wait for your turn.
– Once you successfully pass the exam, you return to registration and are again given a number. Once called to the desk, you will give your thumbprint again and provide basic information such as your hair color, eye color, and home address (at minimum provide the name of the neighborhood/area you live in).
Note that these are the full requirements for exchanging your license at muroor. It is possible that you will be allowed to skip some of these steps in the future if you hold a driver’s license from certain countries. However, at our testing center, no one was exempted from any part of this process.
They’ll start with fingerprinting and entering your license details into system. After this you will go to have your driving test.
Driving test. Please note this advice is specifically for the Riyadh Rimal branch. I’ve heard that women who did the conversion in other cities did not have to take a driving exam, so it will depend on the location it seems.
Tip: Don’t be like me and lose your night’s sleep over it. The test is very simple and all the staff was very supportive and helpful.
During the driving test, you will follow the course which includes performing 2 skills: the three point turn and parallel parking. You have to get 75% to pass. The car is with automatic gear.
They will show you the map of what you need to drive and perform on the test track. A circle 8, 3 point turns and then in the end a parallel park (everyone’s favorite). The driving instructor does not enter the car with you, he will follow next to the car to evaluate the test and the one we had was very helpful and kept explaining what to do next.
All of the officers were in good spirits, smiling and the one who did our test had a good sense of humor too, he first joked that only one of us had passed the test! Thankfully we both passed and then proceeded back to the main office.
The last step is printing out the actual license. So you will get your brand new license in your hand when you’re done! This did not take more than 5 minutes. It’s the best feeling to have this document in your hand, I still kind of can’t believe it’s real!
I must say we were really impressed at how well organized the whole setup was. All the staff knew exactly what they were doing and followed clear process. Almost everyone spoke English, they were helpful and friendly throughout the process. Surprisingly not many women were there but it will surely pickup once people understand how the application process works.
I hope this guide helped you in applying for Saudi driving license. If so, please share it with your friends by linking to this post, or by clicking the share buttons instead of copy pasting my text or taking screenshots! This is not fair to the originals writers who spend many hours and days preparing them.
Happy & safe driving everyone!
Unfortunately the image they use for your driving license is the same one you have already on your file (iqama/ID) I say unfortunately because most people usually hate their iqama pics :)
The officer in charge mentioned that only Saudi driver’s license would be accepted as official document for women to drive, so I’d recommend converting your international ones, just in case.
P.P.P.S Got your Saudi driving license and ready for some adventures? Where to head for your first Saudi road trip? Some ideas here: Explore Arabia
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Hello there! I’m Laura, the founder of Blue Abaya- the first travel blog in Saudi Arabia, established in 2010. Travel has always been my passion- so far I’ve visited 70 countries and I’m always on the lookout for new adventures inside and outside of Saudi Arabia!