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Saudi Arabia

Women traveling without mahram under study

JEDDAH: The Passport Department is currently drafting regulations that would see women travel without the permission of their guardians.
Maj. Gen. Sulaiman Al-Yahya, director general of the department in Riyadh, said the rules would be based on the reasons for travel, not age. The procedures to allow women to travel without permission include the interior, justice and social affairs ministries, and other bodies, he said.
He added that the passport department complies with court decisions that allow women to travel abroad, or get passports issued and renewed without the approval of their parents or guardians. These were in line with laws in “advanced countries,” he said.
Al-Yahya was speaking at a press conference to launch a two-month campaign entitled ‘Your Passport Your Identity,’ aimed at encouraging citizens to safeguard their passports.
Al-Yahya said the department is considering issuing a plastic card to accompany passports for identification purposes. He said that citizens can have the printing and photographs on their passports changed for free.
Meanwhile, Al-Yahya said the department was working with the Ministry of Labor to prevent expatriates who run away from their sponsors, from coming back, unless they agree to return to their employers. This would prevent the growth of the black market, he said.

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