Expat females in Saudi can get driving licenses from today

Published:  22 May at 6 PM
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Today is the day on which expat women in Saudi Arabia can apply for their driving licenses.

From today onwards, expat women living in Saudi who have valid overseas driving licenses can apply for their Saudi driving permits. However, according to the original report female Saudi nationals over the age of 18 will need to wait until June 24th, at which point they’ll be allowed behind the wheel on Saudi roads for the first time ever. The process necessary for expat women to obtain licenses is slightly different from that applying to Saudi citizens, but will include assessment of their driving skills.

In addition, the Saudi authorities have announced that females will also be allowed to drive motorcycles, trucks and vans as well as cars. For Saudi women activists, the official change of heart is an historic step forwards, but it should be set against the fact that the kingdom is still one of the world’s most restrictive societies as regards women’s rights. One Saudi female seen practicing her motorcycle-driving skills at a motor racing circuit on the outskirts of Riyadh said it feels like freedom.

One concern for would-be Saudi female motorcyclists is what to wear in order to conform with Saudi’s strict rules. The long, flowing coveralls worn in public places are totally impractical for riding motorcycles and not much use in the cabs of trucks and vans, with most women hoping overall safety gear will be allowed. The lone motorcyclist was taught to drive off-road by her father when she was just 14 years old, in the hope that some day in the future women would be allowed to drive. His daughter told reporters he’s overjoyed the change has finally come.
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