Celebration as Saudi Arabia lifts travel restrictions on women

Saudi women no longer need a man’s permission to travel after the government changed a law that let men control women’s movements with an ap

  • According to the Saudi Gazette, amendments to legal restrictions on travel men men and women over the age of 21 can get a passport and travel without asking anybody.
  • Under the previous system, women needed to ask a man before crossing a border. 
  • The changes in the law also grant women permission to register the birth of a child, a marriage, a divorce, or a death. This too was previously only possible for men.

Women in Saudi Arabia have been granted the right to travel without a male guardian’s permission, in a shift which removes one of the most prominent restrictions on the status of women in the country.

According to the Saudi Gazette, Saudi authorities approved amendments to regulations which would allow women to apply for and obtain a passport without permission from a male guardian.

The change was hinted last month by anonymous Saudi officials speaking to the Wall Street Journal, and has now become official.

The amendment will allow women aged 21 and over to apply for a passport themselves, and remove rules that required women to receive permission each time they wanted to cross the Saudi border. This gives them equal standing with men on the same age.

The change to the law follows a global backlash over the system, about the realities of the system, which proved a significant barrier to women trying to flee the country.

Many of the requests were administered via a Saudi government app, called Absher, which allowed guardians to grant and rescind travel permissions with a few button presses on their smartphones.

The fact that Apple and Google had approved the app for download via their app stores prompted criticism of the companies, but both continued to offer the service.


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