Saudi Arabia recently announced that women can now travel alone and they no longer require male guardianship or permission to travel independently. The regulations allow women aged 21 or older to apply for a passport or travel abroad independently, without the permission of a male member of their family. According to a statement released Friday from the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Information, the new regulations also extend the ability to work, register births, marriages and divorces or serve as the legal guardian of minors regardless of sex.
The ‘guardianship’ rule required women to secure permission from men in their families, at times even their own sons, to travel solo. Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US Reema Bandar Al-Saud tweeted, “I am elated to confirm that KSA will be enacting amendments to its labour and civil laws that are designed to elevate the status of Saudi women within our society, including granting them the right to apply for passports and travel independently”.
I am elated to confirm that KSA will be enacting amendments to its labor and civil laws that are designed to elevate the status of Saudi women within our society, including granting them the right to apply for passports and travel independently. 1/4
— Reema Bandar Al-Saud (@rbalsaud) August 2, 2019
According to The New York Times, “The new regulations, made by the Saudi cabinet and published in a government publication, are the latest in a series of steps by the kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to shake off the kingdom’s image as one of the world’s most restrictive places for women.”