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IDP is essential when driving abroad
International Driving Permit (IDP), regulated by the United Nations, certifies that you are the holder of a valid driver's license in your country of origin.
Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world.
How to get your IDP
Fill in the forms
Have your driver’s license and delivery address handy
Verify your ID
Upload pictures of your driver's license
Wait for confirmation and you’re ready to go!
Do I need an IDL in KSA?
Don’t forget that foreign drivers need an international driver’s license in Saudi Arabia. You will need this, along with your valid driver's license, before you even get to rent a car from a car rental company. Other benefits of carrying an international driver’s license include smooth travels on the road, especially when driving between cities. This is because checkpoints are usually present along the way.
You can get your international driving permit for Saudi Arabia online in just a few clicks. If you want to order your copy, visit our application form page.
The minimum age to drive vehicles in KSA is 16 for motorcycles and 18 for cars.
Is an International Driving License Valid in Saudi Arabia?
Aside from their native driver’s license, tourists will also need an international driving licence to drive in Saudi Arabia. Whether they’ll be entering the Kingdom by car or renting a vehicle after they arrive, border officials and rental companies will look for an international driver’s permit, especially if the license is not in English.
Our website issues IDL that are translated in twelve languages and accepted in 165 countries.
Can Female Tourists Drive in Saudi Arabia?
Before September 2017, driving right of women in Saudi Arabia were practically non-existent. Decades before this, Saudi women had to be driven around by chauffeurs or male guardians. This is all because of the Islamic law (laws of the religion). And since Saudi is an extremely religious country, its citizens tend to stay faithful to this movement. It wasn’t until June 2018 that a woman can finally issue a driving licence in Saudi Arabia.
Although there is no formal law banning women from driving in Saudi Arabia, they can still be penalized for violating this rule. This has caused women's rights activists to protest on the lifting of the driving ban by taking videos of themselves behind the wheel, resulting in their detention. This is a huge step to assert the rights of Saudi Arabian women to drive a car like their male colleagues. In the end, all of their actions have paid off as the ban has officially been lifted, and women can finally drive.
How Can I Get an International Driving Licence in Saudi Arabia?
Note that you cannot get an international driving licence from Saudi Arabia. However, you may still order one after arriving in Saudi. If you are applying for an IDP from our website, remember that you can get it anywhere and anytime since it will be mailed to the specific address you provided.
Make sure to visit the website’s main page to be directed to the application form. The steps in getting your IDP are simple and easy.
Driving Rules in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)
Every country has a set of road rules and regulations that foreign visitors must follow. Knowing these rules would help prevent accidents and violations as Saudi officials are stricter on tourists than locals. Don't forge that wearing seat belts is mandatory.
Don’t Forget Your Valid Driving License
Before you even think about driving on Arabian roads, be sure to check if you packed your license. You will need to provide your license as you rent your Saudi automobile, and you’d need to present it to authorities in case they demand it at checkpoints. If you are coming from foreign countries and your national drivers license isn’t in English, make sure to get an international driver’s license for Saudi Arabia. Remember that this only acts as a translation and does not replace your actual driver’s license.
Lastly, your national driving license is only valid in the country for three months. If you want to stay longer, you will have to get a Saudi driving license. For Saudi driving license, you will also need additional documents such as iqama (residence permit) number.
Always Carry Your IDP With You
An International Driver’s Permit, informally known as an international driver’s license, is a translation of your foreign license. You need to take it with you when driving abroad since it’s usually one of the must-haves for car rentals. There are very few requirements for an international driving permit in Saudi Arabia, so make sure to get yours now.
Before applying to get your copy, you may want to know more information about an international driver’s permit for Saudi Arabia. We at the International Drivers Association issue IDPs that are translated into twelve languages and are accepted in over 150 countries. Do note that these permits must be issued from your home country; thus, you cannot get an international driving license from Saudi Arabia.
Drink Driving is Illegal
Alcohol is illegal in KSA, and entering the country drunk may result in your arrest. Don’t attempt to smuggle alcohol or drink-drive because of the strict rules implemented in the Kingdom. Punishments are harsh, and you can be fined, flogged, or imprisoned for simply carrying alcohol.
Foreign drivers must remember that getting caught drunk driving is the highest traffic violation. If you are caught doing so, your driving license may be suspended, and your trip would be cut short.
Mobile Devices are Banned While Driving
Using your phone while driving poses a potential safety hazard since your attention from the road is divided. The same can be said for taking calls and using Bluetooth devices. Due to the high cases of accidents in Saudi, officials implemented road traffic rules regarding mobile devices. If you’re caught using your phone, you will be fined or even detained. So make sure to set it aside when driving to avoid any accidents or violations.
Never Exceed the Speed Limit
Over speeding is one of the top causes of accidents that occur in KSA each year. That’s why it is important to drive below the speed limit. Bad conditions such as sand storms may affect the highways’ visibility, so drive cautiously to avoid potential crashes.
Collisions with animals like camels are also common. Camels have big bodies and long legs, allowing their center of gravity to be higher. When vehicles crash onto their legs, their bodies land on the cars, crushing the passengers inside. When you see camels and other animals passing, slow down your speed and continue once they are finally off the road.
Saudi Arabia Has a Points System
In January 2020, a revelation proposing a points-based system would be implemented in Saudi Arabia within the next six months. Different points are allocated for particular traffic violations, and the number of points depends on their severity. The least is 2 points, and the maximum is 24 points. They cannot be omitted until a year after the offense occurred.
Some violations include drifting, running past the red light, and even driving under the influence. The list does not include failure to carry a driver’s license, but this should not stop you from bringing it at all times.
Top Destinations in Saudi Arabia
With the capital of Riyadh and from its natural wonders to its deep-rooted culture, this country has a lot to offer in history and tradition. As one of the countries with the earliest traces of human civilization, it is is undeniably one of the world’s oldest places. As its tourism is slowly booming, here are some of the top destinations you could visit.
If you’d like a taste of Saudi Arabia’s history, visit At-Turaif in Ad Diriyah. This ancient district is known for its distinct mud houses and labyrinthine streets that date back to the 1400s. UNESCO recognized it as a world heritage site in 2010, and it has had many visitors even when the ruins were still being restored.
At-Turaif was initially opened to the public in 2019. But the district and the rest of Ad-Diriyah are expected to reopen in 2022 after more projects are erected. When it is ready for the public once again, you can take yourself back in time to 15th century, as you take a stroll in the parks and taste the traditional food in Najd village.
You wouldn’t want to visit the ruins when it gets scorching. So it’s best to visit them when the temperature ranges from relatively warm to cool in January to May or September to December. Lastly, remember that even if At-Turaif is closed to the public, you may get an exclusive tour from the management if you’re lucky enough.
Edge of the World (Jebel Fihrayn)
Tourism is relatively new in this country, and one of the best places you could take a road trip to is the edge of the world. Visitors can enjoy the splendor of the rocky Tuwaiq escarpment, overlooking the sandy valley below. The outside gates close at 6 pm, so it's best to start your trip early. You may also camp in the Acacia valley, but do note that it is only open on Fridays and Saturdays, so always make sure to plan your trip ahead of time.
The best months to visit the edge of the world are from November to February, when the temperatures aren’t hot. Weekends may get crowded so brace yourself for other local and foreign tourists visiting.
It’s encouraged to take an SUV and a GPS with you in order to get to your destination. If you’re not confident in getting to the edge of the world alone, you can travel in large groups or with other cars to reduce your chances of getting lost.
Al Wahbah crater
Another hidden gem is the Al Wahbah crater found on the western edge of the Harrat Kishb basalt plateau in the Hejazi region of Saudi Arabia. It is around four kilometers wide and 250 meters deep. The crater also has white sodium phosphate crystals found on the bottom of its lake. They glimmer under the sun, painting a picturesque view for the tourists.
Getting to the crater can only be done by car, as no public transportations are heading in its direction. Tourists can also trek down to the center for around an hour while going back up would take twice the time. Be sure to visit the crater during the colder months of November to February. And trek down to the center by early morning or late noon to avoid the sun’s heat.
Driving Directions: (4 hr via Route 4252)
- From King Abdulaziz International Airport, head east on Al-Nuzhah/Route 320 and turn right.
- At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit and take the ramp onto Al-Nuzhah/Route 320.
- Continue down the route and take a slight right.
- Take another slight right onto Route 5/Route 55M.
- Continue onto Route 4050 and keep left until you merge back onto Route 4050.
- Take the ramp onto Route 15 and continue onto King Faisal.
- Make two left turns, then continue straight onto Route 4700.
- Turn right, then make another right turn onto Route 4420.
- Make a U-turn.
- Turn right onto Route 4252, and keep right to stay on the route.
- Turn right onto Route 4174, then turn left.
- Take another left turn onto Route 4174 and continue onto Route 8454.
- Turn right onto Wahba Crater Rd and continue straight ahead.
A world heritage site recognized by UNESCO in 2018, the Al-Ahsa Oasis is a historical and traditional oasis located in Al-Ahsa, Hofuf, the largest governorate in Eastern part of the country. If you want to explore more of Al-Ahsa, you can visit the Al-Qarah mountains and take a tour around its caves. Don’t forget to drop by the most popular natural springs in the area, too, as they are said to have "healing" properties because of their high mineral content.
If you don’t want to leave empty-handed, visit Souq Al-Qaisariya, one of the oldest markets, to buy some souvenirs. Not only do you get a keepsake of the place, but you also get to step foot in the center of economic trade in old Al-Ahsa.
Make sure to visit Al-Ahsa from March to May since the weather is not too hot. These are also the most active months for tourism in the area. If you want a more relaxed trip, you can visit Al-Ahsa in the colder months of December to February.
Ushaiger Heritage Village
Travel back in time by visiting the preserved villages known as the Ushaiger Heritage Village in Najd. This ancient village is just like Ad-Dariyah, with its golden mud-houses and its narrow maze-like streets. The town gets its name from the hill that lies at its north, meaning ‘small or little blond.’
Visiting the village allows you to experience and understand the culture of its residents and early settlers. The locals have also created museums to showcase their way of life to curious tourists. The residents are hospitable and friendly and would not hesitate to interact with visitors. If you’re lucky enough, some might even invite you into their homes for a meal or a quick traditional Arabic snack.
The ideal months to visit the heritage site fall between November and February. Visiting on weekdays would guarantee you more intimate experiences with the locals as there are fewer tourists at this time. Weekends tend to be more hectic and lively, as tourists crowd the streets of Ushaiger to experience its people’s culture and tradition.
The National Museum of Saudi Arabia
Take a more educational route to experience Saudi Arabia by visiting its National museum. Get ready to know more about the origins of life, the country’s earliest settlers, and the birth of Islam. The museum continually offers guests new programs and activities, so no one is bound to get bored. If you prefer to roam the museum’s halls by yourself, interactive tours are present to provide you with enough insight and information.
Visitors can visit every day, but specific schedules are imposed.
- On weekdays (Sunday to Thursday)
- * 8:00 am to 12:00 pm (Sunday to Thursday) - For students
- * 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm (Sunday) - Open to the public
- * 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm (Monday to Thursday) - Open to the public
- On weekends (Friday and Saturday)
- * 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Friday
- * 8:00 am to 8:00 pm on Saturday
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