Saudi women to get passports without male guardians’ permission

Saudi Arabia’s higher authorities have given the green light for women to obtain their passport without requiring the approval of her guardian after approving amendments to the regulation for travel documents and Civil Status Regulation.

The amendments included granting the same rights to males and females above 21 years of age, and travel permit for custody, minors and those whose guardian has died only, according to local news reports.

The new regulation in a sense grants the right to adult Saudi women to travel without the permission of their guardians.

The amendments introduced in the regulation for travel documents include amendment of Article Two, which states: “Every applicant holding Saudi Arabian nationality will be granted a passport in line with the executive bylaw.”

“If necessary, the Minister of Interior can issue a passport or a laissez passer (temporary travel document) to any person who does not hold a Saudi Arabian nationality in order to use it for traveling outside the Kingdom and returning to the Kingdom.” Read the regulation for travel documents Article Two.

The amendments state: “The granting of a passport or a laissez passer to those under guardianship and the minors whose guardian has died will be according to what is specified by the executive bylaw.” Earlier, before amendment, Article Four of the regulation used to include all those under guardianship, before the recent amendment.

The new amendments include the wife among those authorized to report a marriage, divorce or a woman divorcing her husband (Khul’).

It is permissible for the father of the husband or the father of the wife or one of their relatives to report the incident.

The amendments have granted a woman the right to apply for and obtain a family register from the Civil Status Administration, after amending Article 50, which states: “Any of the parents can apply for and obtain a family register from the Civil Status Administration.

The responsibility lies on the husband, if he does not submit an application for the family register within 60 days from the date of signing the marriage contract (Aqd Al-Nikah), in line with the provisions of the executive bylaw.”

The previous decision came under the helm of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, who has brought in sweeping social and economic changes, aimed partly at weaning the country off its dependence on oil revenue.

He has also dismantled some of the strictest controls over women. Last year a driving ban was lifted, and rules were altered freeing women from needing permission from a male guardian to study at university, undergo surgery or get a job.

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