The adventure of getting a driving license in Saudi Arabia
[url=https://www.pakwheels.com/blog-rants-and-rumblings/74-the-adventure-of-getting-a-driving-license-in-saudi-arabia.html?tmpl=component&print=1&layout=default&page= onclick=window.open(this.href,'win2','status=no,toolbar=no,scrollbars=yes,titlebar=no,menubar=no,resizable=yes,width=640,height=480,directories=no,location=no'); return false;" rel=nofollow][/url]
[url=https://www.pakwheels.com/component/mailto/?tmpl=component&link=aHR0cDovL3d3dy53Yml0dC5jb20vYmxvZy1yYW50cy1hbmQtcnVtYmxpbmdzLzc0LXRoZS1hZHZlbnR1cmUtb2YtZ2V0dGluZy1hLWRyaXZpbmctbGljZW5zZS1pbi1zYXVkaS1hcmFiaWEuaHRtbA%3D%3D" onclick=window.open(this.href,'win2','width=400,height=350,menubar=yes,resizable=yes'); return false;]
form action=http://www.wbitt.com/index.php/blog-rants-and-rumblings/37-blog-articles/74-the-adventure-of-getting-a-driving-license-in-saudi-arabia" enctype=application/x-www-form-urlencoded" method=post"
User Rating: / 38
Poorinput type=radio" value=1" /input type=radio" value=2" /input type=radio" value=3" /input type=radio" value=4" /input checked=checked" type=radio" value=5" /Best input type=submit" value=Rate" /input type=hidden" value=vote" /input type=hidden" value=com_content" /input type=hidden" value=74" /input type=hidden" value=http://www.wbitt.com/index.php/blog-rants-and-rumblings/37-blog-articles/74-the-adventure-of-getting-a-driving-license-in-saudi-arabia" /
Written by Muhammad Kamran Azeem
This article is written by my friend Sheikhk Javed, from Haiderabad, India, working with us , here in Saudi Aramco.
Let me share with you all the experience I had while obtaining a Car driver's license. I
mentioned it as a means of survival because its best way to beat boredom in the Kingdom. Driving
a car here gives you pleasure and most importantly it gives you a sense of pride of owning a car
which you can't even think of buying it back home in Asia.
After my company got me the Iqama (Resident permit), I requested them for a letter with
the chamber of commerce attestation stamp on it to apply for the driving license. My company
charged SAR 25 for it. Then I got the checklist of all the documents to carry to the driving
school. I gave my test in Dammam, so these details are specific to Dammam Driving School. I am
not aware of the procedures followed in other cities here.
I had to carry the following documents:
The driving school opens at 7.30 am here so try to make it early. The Driving school is
on the Khobar - Dammam highway. You can reach there by SAPTCO bus either ways or you can take a
taxi. As you enter the driving school, enter the building on your right hand side. You are
immediately mobbed by Arabic brokers as you enter the door. They spoke something to me and I
ended up paying SAR 100 even before getting the form. So please avoid them and I will let you
know why I paid SAR 100 later. As you are in the building there are two doors, one to your right
and one on your left. Please enter the room on your right hand side and you will find a big hall
with three doors on your left. You first have to enter the last door on your left as you enter
the hall. Here they issue forms to fill in for new or expired licenses. Please collect one form
and look for someone who speaks and writes Arabic and English. Usually companies are obliged to
send a Saudi along with you to complete the formalities but my company did not so I had a tough
time there. If you go along with a Saudi then it’s all simple. So I took a form and met this
broker who first spoke to me in English and offered to pay the License fees using his phone.
Believe me, a well educated person turns out to be an illiterate in this Driving school. After
having made this amazing discovery, I agreed to pay the License fee which was SAR 75 and SAR 25
was his service fees. I then asked him to fill in the form in Arabic for which he charged SAR
- While filling in the form they don’t write in the blood group, so if any one of you are
getting your forms filled make sure that you write in your Blood group.
Please do not pay the license fees until the day you get the driver's license. The fees can be
paid at Riyad bank and they charge SAR 75. I am told that the fee has gone up to SAR 400 now. So
please check before you pay. You have to give them your iqama no. and they will credit the money
to your iqama and get the receipt.
Then purchase a green colored file (must) from a Sudani who has set up a small
establishment in the driving school in the left door as you enter the building. You have to file
in all the documents in that green file only which costs SAR 5. Now this guy also translates
the License in Arabic, if you have a license other than that of GCC countries. In my case he
translated my Indian Driving License for SAR 45. Please get the translation done somewhere else
as it will cost you SAR 15 - 20. The benefit of having a license from your country is that you
can save SAR 400 of not attending the driving classes. You can save money only if your driving
license is in the form of a card and not a book. If it’s a book you will still have to go through
the driving classes. I strongly advise you to perfect your driving skills from your friends or
your relatives as you will learn nothing in the driving school. In khobar, they only look for
how you park your car and nothing else.
It was 7.40 a.m. and as I looked at the boards it was all in Arabic except for one board
there which had the checklist of the documents one has to have printed in English. Fill in the
form, file it and then submit it at the same counter. Here's the tricky part, the police officer
will ask you in Arabic to look into an instrument which tests your vision. He basically asks
which direction is the letter 'E' facing and its usually facing downwards. Since I didn’t
understand Arabic, I looked around for help but nobody even spoke to me so I started reading out
all the English letters and the furious police officer mentioned it in the papers that I have to
go through the Medical test. When I turned back, two Indians who were watching me told me that
"the police officer was asking you which direction the letter 'E' was facing". Now, I really
felt bad as theses guys being Indians did not help me and instead watched me go through an
embarrassing situation. If you answer the officer's question correct, he will sign the papers
and then you can go to the counter in the opposite hall to pay for the driving test. Since I
failed the so called vision test, I had to pay SAR 50 for the vision test. Well this guy did
nothing except that he spoke in English and I answered all the questions right. He signed the
papers and then forwarded me to the blood test room, I got my blood test done and this guy
charged me SAR 35 and informed me that my blood group was A+ which I already knew since birth.
So after getting the medical report I took them back to the officer and he signed the papers.
I then moved to the hall in the opposite side and paid SAR 100 for the driving test and
also gave him 4 pictures. He gave me a receipt along with the Traffic signals chart and I filed
in all the documents i.e. the iqama copy, passport copy, Arabic translation papers of the
license, the license form, attested letter from sponsor and also the medical test report.
I then moved to the driving test area and gave my file to the instructor and he asked me
to come the next morning at 6 to give the test and he kept the file with him. I came back in the
evening with one of my friends and practiced parking the car. Please bear in mind that while
parking you will have to look in all the rear view mirrors and occasionally turn your head back
and also put on your seat belts not only for the test but also while driving.
The day dawned and my friend got one car to give the test on it as it would speed up the
process. You can get your car but of course don’t drive it to the school, you can drive it only in
the test area. The benefit of getting your own car is that you don’t have to wait in long queues.
If you choose to use their car you will have to queue up early in the morning around 4 or 5
otherwise wait in the scorching heat to get your turn. By default it’s a Saudi who gets the
chance first and then expats. As they open the gates at 6 am you will have to rush and search
for your file and queue up. Saudis have a separate queue and Expats have a different queue. I
drove in with my car followed the other Saudis, please do not smoke or chew gums as other Saudis
do, use indicators, and stop when you are shown the signal. The important thing is to reverse
your car and park it. Turn on the hazard lights and slowly and carefully reverse your car and
keep the car in a straight line. The examiner there will tell you which box no. you will have to
park the car. There are five boxes where you can park your car. The boxes are bordered with
plastic cones, please ensure that your car doesn’t touch any of the cones and the car should be
within the white box. After parking the car, just wait for the instructor's signal to get your
car out. If you follow all the rules you will pass. Please be patient and don’t be in a hurry as
you will end up spending more money if you fail. If you pass you will get your file back and you
will have to go to a class in the same registration building, however you will have to go inside
the hall and wait for your turn for the Traffic Signal test. They open at 7.30 am. When I was
there for the test the computer test was non functional so they conducted an oral test. There
will be a lot of pushing and jostling to get inside the room so be prepared.
Please memorize all the signs as they will be useful for the test and also when driving.
You will be called in turns and most of them clear this test. They will ask you to wait in the
registration hall to give you the file back. When I finished the test I sat in the hall for over
3 hours and there was no sign of the file returned to me at all. They told us that the officer who
signs the files was absent and we will have to come the other day.
I came the next morning and got my file. Now you will have to come another day to get
your license. This is the D Day as Expats queue up on the roads as early as 4 am to get the
coupons which the authorities issue in limited numbers. They issue 200 coupons each day and 1/4th
given to the expats and 3/4th to the Saudis. I was late as usual and was there at 7.20 am and
saw a HUGE crowd standing in front of the closed doors. Again Saudis have a different queue and
Expats follow a different queue. I tried to get in one of the queues but could not manage to get
in any so I stood in a corner as I was getting furious looks from people who were standing in the
queues since morning. As the doors opened at 7.30 am everybody tried to rush in and pushed each
other. The person who opened the door had a tough time managing everybody. He first allowed
Saudis followed by expats. A minor scuffle occurred at the doors and as everybody pushed in I
just went close to look at what was happening and a few Saudis pushed me into the room. A
gesture which I will be thankful for as I never imagined to get through that rush. The other
expats who were here since morning told me that I was lucky and I said I did nothing as somebody
pushed me inside. Well even here expats have a separate queue. Another scuffle occurred among the
saudis so the authorities stopped issuing the coupons to the Saudis and issued the remaining
coupons to the expats. It was the luckiest moment for all the expats as more than 100 people got
the coupons for receiving the license.
Then comes the test for patience. The server was down and the authorities did nothing
about it except wait till they were back up. There are 5 - 6 counters and I got my turn at 1.30
pm. You will have to submit the file at the counter and hand over the coupon. If you have you
iqama as a card you don’t need to submit a photo, if you have your iqama as a book you will have
to submit 2 passport photos with WHITE background. They will ask for the receipt of SAR 75 which
you paid for the license or if you have already paid it through mobile, you don’t need to give
anything. A wait for 10 more minutes and they will hand you over the card to freedom in the
I hope that you all will find my article useful, of course its a bit lengthy but I put
in all my experience along with it so that you don’t make the mistakes which I did. Please drive
safe and always put on your seat belts.