Driving in Saudi Arabia

driving
Shutterstock.com
Updated 2020-04-21 09:55

Driving in Saudi Arabia is the easiest and most convenient way to get around. That being said, foreigners in Saudi Arabia will have to get accustomed to the driving style in Saudi Arabia. Getting a good understanding of driving etiquette and road signage is the first step to developing your road skills in Saudi Arabia.

You will also need to sort out your drivers' licence.  If you already have a valid licence from the United States, the United Kingdom or any European country, you have to convert it to a National Saudi Driving Licence. Here are a few areas you should keep in mind when starting to drive in Saudi Arabia.

 Important:

Since June 2018, women can legally drive on the territory of the Kingdom. With a historical decree,  the decades lasted ban on women driving, was finally lifted. It was a significant step for empowering women and for the mobility of both - expats and locals. 

Road conditions in Saudi Arabia

For new drivers and foreign drivers, Saudi Arabia's road may be a shock at first. The driving nature is very reckless, which makes sense considering that Saudi Arabia is ranked the #1 country in the world for most roadway accidents and deaths. Please take extreme caution when driving.

Recognised driver's licenses in Saudi Arabia

If you hold a driver's license from the United States, the United Kingdom, or/an international License, you may use it on the roads of Saudi Arabia for three months.  Meanwhile, you may proceed to converting your international licence to Saudi driving licence. Other nationalities must apply for new licence issuing. GCC nationals can use their valid driving licences in Saudi Arabia, without conversion.

Converting your driver's license in Saudi Arabia

Converting your licence to a Saudi Arabian Licence takes a few steps.This driver's license has a 10 years validity period and is issued following a computerised driving test. To apply for a Saudi driver's license, the following documents have to be produced:

  • The green application form (which is available at the Saudi Ministry of Transport office, on its website, or at driving schools in Arabic version only)
  • Your original Iqama visa along with a copy
  • Your original and valid passport along with a copy
  • Your original driver's license along with an official translation 
  • Four colour passport-type identity pictures
  • Your blood group test (can be obtained at certain hospitals or clinics)  
  • Reports of your eye tests (can be performed at certain  hospitals or clinics, or at the Driving centre)
  • Receipt of payment (amounting to 435 riyals and issued by a bank).

After the paperwork is done, you have to perform your driving skills for assessment, That “ first try” will take only a few minutes. If you pass it successfully, the next procedure is to attend a 3-hour class in which you will be taught the basics of driving, followed by a computer test. The main reason is to get familiar with the road signs in Saudi Arabia, and the tests are deemed to be very easy. 

Novice drivers in Saudi Arabia

If you are new to driving and would like to obtain a driver's licence, then you will need to produce all the above-mentioned documents. In addition, you will be required to attend driving lessons and pass a driving examination.

  Useful links:

Ministry of Interior - Renewal or replacement of driver's license
General Traffic Department
Fees
Auto Driver Club - Road traffic signs
Saudi Driving licence 

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.