First batch of Saudi women receive driving licenses 

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Esraa Albuti, an executive director at Ernst & Young, shows her driving license issued by the General Department of Traffic in Riyadh on Monday. (Saudi Information Ministry photo via AP)
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Tahani Aldosemani, an assistant professor at Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University in Al-Kharj, Riyadh region, displays her driving license that she received from the General Department of Traffic in Riyadh on Monday, June 4, 2018. She was one of the first 10 women to get a Saudi driving license since the Kingdom lifted the world's only ban on women driving. (Saudi Information Ministry photo via AP)
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A Saudi woman speaks to an officer before her driving exam at the General Department of Traffic in Riyadh on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Saudi Information Ministry photo via AP)
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A Saudi woman buckles her seat belt before doing a driving test at the General Department of Traffic in Riyadh on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Saudi Information Ministry photo via AP)
Updated 05 June 2018

First batch of Saudi women receive driving licenses 

  • Saudi Arabia is all set to allow women driving in three weeks, about ten months after a royal decree was issued announcing the end of a decades-long ban on women driving.
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is seen as the force behind the lifting of the ban.

JEDDAH: History is in the making in Saudi Arabia as the General Directorate of Traffic issued first driver’s licenses to 10 women on Monday.

The Kingdom is all set to allow women driving in three weeks. An official statement said the 10 women who were issued licenses already held international licenses. They took a brief driving test and eye exam before being issued the licenses at the General Directorate of Traffic in Riyadh.

Following the issuance of licenses, a video showing a woman receiving here Saudi driving license went viral online. The social media was also abuzz with the news and excited Saudis took to Twitter to express their feelings on this historic day.

“Thousands of congratulations to the daughters of the homeland, being issued the first license in Saudi Arabia,” a tweet by @saudalzmanan read.

Congratulations poured in as other tweeps expressed their happiness for the woman who appeared in the video. “Congratulations. I want to befriend her so that she can pass by and give me a ride and maybe show me around Riyadh city with her,” said Maryam (@m36010216).



“Thanks to the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques (King Salman), we finally saw the license being handed over to our Saudi sister by a Saudi authority. Now, not only you can drive abroad (but in Saudi Arabia as well),” said Louie Alfassi (@Louie_alfassi).

“This is one happy lady. Good luck,” See Brown (@sebbrown86) commented on the viral video.

This will allow women across the Kingdom drive their cars from June 24. After confirming the validity of foreign licenses submitted via an online portal (http://www.sdlp.sa), and assessing applicants’ ability to drive by conducting a practical test, the first group of women received their Saudi licenses on Monday.

This measure is part of the traffic department’s preparations to implement a royal decree allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia. 

In September 2017, a royal decree announced the end of a decades-long ban on women driving.

Five Saudi universities have launched driving schools for women: Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh, King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, Tabuk University, Taif University and Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University.

The Saudi Driving School, at Princess Nourah University, the first for women in the capital, was launched in partnership with the Emirates Driving Institute in Dubai, an established driving school in the region.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, is seen as the force behind the lifting of the ban. His Vision 2030 reform plan for a post-oil era seeks to elevate women to nearly one-third of the work force, up from about 22 percent now.


Saudi Embassy evacuates 300 tourists from Lebanon

Updated 19 October 2019

Saudi Embassy evacuates 300 tourists from Lebanon

  • The embassy said that evacuees were escorted to Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut by Lebanese security forces to guarantee their safety
  • Three Saudia aircraft were used to transport them

BEIRUT: Saudi Arabia's embassy in Lebanon has confirmed it has facilitated the “evacuation of Saudi residents and visitors” from the country.
“The evacuation operation, imposed by the security situation in Lebanon and the importance of ensuring the safety of Saudi nationals, started Saturday at 5 a.m. after the Kingdom secured three Saudia aircraft to transport them,” the embassy told Arab News.
“Three hundred people were evacuated as of Saturday afternoon, while the total number of those wishing to leave remains unclear. We have identified a hotel in Beirut as a starting point,” it added, noting that most of those who had left were tourists.
The embassy also confirmed evacuees were escorted to Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut by Lebanese security forces to guarantee their safety.
Protests broke out in Lebanon on Thursday night, and disorder has disrupted roads leading to the airport, with burning tires blocking several key routes.
On Friday, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged its citizens already in Lebanon to exercise “utmost caution.”
Egypt’s Embassy in Beirut also called on its nationals in the country to avoid protest areas, Egyptian state news agency MENA said.
“The embassy calls on all Egyptian citizens in Lebanon to avoid the areas of gatherings and protests, to be careful in their movements and to abide by the instructions of the Lebanese authorities in this regard,” MENA reported.
Meanwhile, Kuwait’s Embassy in Lebanon asked citizens wishing to travel to the country to delay trips where possible.
“The embassy also calls on citizens currently in Lebanon to take utmost care and stay away from crowds and demonstrations,” it said on social media site Twitter.
Bahrain and the UAE warned against travel to Lebanon and called on their citizens in the country to leave immediately.