Driving was only a dream for women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The past few months have brought about so many different queries about the process to obtain a driving license and people giving contradictory answers.
Yes, the rules have been changing in the past 2 months. For now, they seem stable and here’s the process for you to obtain a Saudi driving license:
1. If you already have a valid foreign driving license from any country, you can directly go to sdlp.sa and register for a driving test appointment online.
Check this post out for more details: https://www.blueabaya.com/2018/06/how-expats-apply-saudi-driving-license.html
What do they ask you to do during a test?
You’ll be asked to go either right, straight, left or take a U-turn from the roundabout. Other things included in the test are: Overtaking, lane changing, 3 point turn, T crossing, and different types of parking (90 degree straight and reverse and parallel). They may ask for a zig zag but not many have encountered this.
You’ll be driving their car during the test. Remember to do the pre-drive settings. And most of all, don’t worry! Muroor tests are incredibly easy.
2. If you have no license at all, you’d have to undergo 30 hours of training at the Saudi Driving School in PNU campus, Riyadh which includes both theory and practical learning hours. You will be required to sit for a computer test at the beginning to clear the theory part and then give a driving test conducted by the school at the end of your practical learning hours. The whole process will consume time as you can’t attend classes every day.
As of now, priority is for Saudi women, but you can still register online at https://sds.pnu.edu.sa/ and wait for them to send you a sms. If you’re non Saudi, expect to wait a really long time up to 2 months or more as there is a long queue of women wanting to learn how to drive.
3. If you have a foreign license but it has expired, you can still obtain a Saudi driving license. You’ll have to undergo 6 hours of refresher training after which you’ll perform the driving test in the school and then head to the Traffic Police to obtain your license.
Expired license conversion Process explained in detail:
Step 1: Visit Saudi Driving School (SDS) in PNU Campus
Yes, visit them! Do NOT rely on what the helpline of SDS tells you. I was told to register as someone who never had a license before and wait for an SMS to be sent to me. Once, I get my date of registration messaged, I was to visit them and then show my expired license to reduce the training hours to only 6. But, like I said above, that won’t happen. You’ll be waiting forever for the sms.
When you visit them, show the ladies at the reception your expired license and take a token number and wait for your turn. You’ll be called to one of the windows and then asked to produce your Iqama and expired license (both original, no copies entertained). The employee will scan it, get you registered for those 6 hours and ask you for the payment. Please note that they do not accept cash. You’d be forced to pay by card.
Timings: 8 am to 8 pm; Saturday-Thursday
Cost: 550 SAR inclusive of VAT
Step 2: Visit the Practical Training SDS
You’ll have to go to their practical training school which is 6-8 minutes by car. If you do not have anyone to drive you there, call an Uber or Careem. The cost will hardly be 7-9 SAR.
📍المدرسة السعودية لتعليم القيادة – التدريب العملي
Princess Noura Bint Abdulrahman University، King Khalid International Airport، Riyadh 13416
Step 3: Book the schedule for your classes
Once you reach the Training School, enter it and move to the Trainees Hall to your right. Show the receipt that you received earlier during registration and book your classes. Your classes will be on alternative days for 2 hours each. You’ll be done in just 3 classes.
Tip: Try to book your last class in the morning before 12 noon. Why? Because you can finish your last class and directly book your appointment for the driving test on the same day. The Traffic Police finishes their work by 3pm, so, if you want to skip another trip to the school, you can manage to get the license on the same day itself.
Step 4: Complete your training hours
Arrive at the training hall at least 30 minutes before your time because the instructors do not really give the Trainees all the 2 hours. They finish in 1 hour and 30 minutes and sometimes lesser than that. This means that they may call your name much before your actual time slot.
Training takes place within PNU campus. The campus is large enough to give you a real feel of driving on the roads minus the traffic.
Tip: Try your best to stick to one instructor alone. Do NOT change instructors or you are bound to get confused! The first instructor taught me a two point turn while the next one insisted a 3 point turn is best and the other one just asked me to do whatever, as long as, I park in the correct spot.
Step 5: Make sure that you remind your instructors to get this registered in the system
Although the system will automatically recognize that your training hours are over, there have been times where despite completion of all 6 hours, the system only recognized 4 of them. This will prevent you from taking your test or force you to undergo another Training session unless you can somehow prove that you have done so. Save yourself the headache and just remind your instructor(s).
Step 6: Do your medical test
There are a lot of Government approved clinics which will do your medical test for the driving license and upload the results directly onto the system.
I did mine in Jarir Medical Centre in Malaz district and it costed me only 84 SAR. (Eye and blood test)
Step 7: Deposit 400 SAR for your license through SADAD
Pay 400 SAR for obtaining your license valid for 10 years through SADAD. It is 200 SAR for 5 years and 80 SAR for 2 years. Use your bank account, go to Government payment, choose Driving license, issue New license and then deposit the fee. Doing it before the test will save you the headache just in case something goes wrong and you are unable to pay on the day of getting the license.
Step 8: Book your driving test
Approach the same employees at the trainee hall who you had gone to, to book your class schedule and request to have your driving test booked. Choose the date and time according to your availability. Dates are easily available and you don’t have to worry about slots getting filled.
Step 9: Pass the driving test
This test conducted at the SDS main bui lding DS is much tougher than the one conducted by the Muroor (Traffic police). Instructors can easily fail you if you commit any major mistake or more than 12 minor mistakes. Remember to follow ALL the techniques taught to you by your instructor in order to pass the test. Trust me, the examiner can mark you down for as small as a thing as ‘hesitation’ lol.
Note: One of the girls with us in the car failed her test because she collided with the pavement. Another girl failed her test because she made too many minor mistakes. If you fail the test, you’d have to redo at least 4 hours of practical training before appearing for the test again. And that definitely means added cost.
Step 10: Collect your result document from the examiner and head to the Muroor to get your license
You will need a driver again to take you to the Muroor building which is a 3 minute walk from the Practical Training School.
Once you reach, enter the building and head to the right after informing the receptionist about the reason why you’re there. You’ll see a door in front of you and then a sign board directing you to the right.
Submit your result document to them and wait for it to get stamped and for the other formalities to get completed.
You may be asked to do the driving test again at the Muroor. The computer randomly chooses the person and if your names happens to be one of them, you’ll be asked to perform the test with a female employee of the Muroor for 10-15 minutes.
The test is pretty easy, and is just a breeze unlike the one conducted in Step 9 by the SDS. The Muroor lady and I talked and got to know each other while driving and before I knew it, it was already over!
Step 11: Collect the stamped result document and go the license issuing office in the same Muroor building
You’ll be given token numbers if there is a crowd and a male traffic police officer will take your Iqama and expired license to verify it. He will also take the result document to enter the details in the system before returning it back to you.
Your mobile number will be noted down and fingerprint taken. Once all of this is done, your driving license will be printed and handed over to you with a smile.
Step 12: Celebrate!
Enjoy safe driving on the roads of Saudi Arabia! Congratulations on the achievement!
This isn’t on the road. It’s offroading, lol. Do not attempt it on the road, please! 😂😂🤣🤣🤣
Did this help you? Did you notice any changes while you went? If yes, please leave a comment so I can keep the information up to date.
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Author’s Note: The steps may vary if conducted in any other region of Saudi Arabia. This post is about Riyadh’s SDS.