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Driving License and car ownership in Saudi Arabia

Driving License and car ownership in Saudi Arabia

Old Feb 28th 2014, 9:46 am
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Default Driving License and car ownership in Saudi Arabia

I may shortly be moving to Saudi Arabia permanently, where I am aware I will need a local Driving License. I believe this will be what's called a private driving license.

I've been told and from online searches I find similar, that with a private license I cannot legally drive a pickup.
Can anybody confirm this?

I also understood that cars'SUVs with more than 5 seats can only be owned by someone with a family.

If someone could please clarify these points it would be great. Thanks
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Old Feb 28th 2014, 2:43 pm
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Default Re: Driving License and car ownership in Saudi Arabia

Check what your contract says, if "single status" then forget anything over 5 seats.
All commercial vehicles are prohibited for private ownership.
Driving works commercial vehicles? Not done it myself. I'm not 100% sure who can drive one, if the job on your iqama has to state "driver" or whatever, so get advice on that elsewhere.

Taking your UK license and Iqama, you go with a rep from your company to a license/testing centre real early, pay 200sar for a battery of tests, photos and paperwork outside, then take inside in a green folder and pay to "convert" your license to a Saudi one, (ie. 225sar for 5 years, and remember to retrieve your UK license to take away with you) When you go home for breaks you aren't a resident back home and use the Saudi one.

A car needs an Ishtimara card (vehicle details) a Fahas (MOT) and Insurance (no car over 3 or 4 years can get comprehensive. Buying a car requires the car is kept overnight at a centre to give it a Fahas and do the electronic paperwork. An Ishtimara must be off your iqama to Final Exit or you don't leave the country cleanly.

Just remembered, your driving license is tied to your iqama. If you leave, there enters an awkward issue. I hear there is a way to pay to transfer it over, but I have no idea if that's when you transfer seemlessly from one employer to another, whilst staying in the country, or includes those who Final Exit, spending months before coming back on Single Entry Work Visa to be converted into a fresh iqama.

Last edited by Beakersful; Feb 28th 2014 at 3:22 pm.
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Old Mar 1st 2014, 6:31 am
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Default Re: Driving License and car ownership in Saudi Arabia

Originally Posted by Beakersful View Post
When you go home for breaks you aren't a resident back home and use the Saudi one.
all very helpful and accurate info.... except this bit.

According to DVLA, residency status does not affect currently valid UK licenses and so renting and driving on said license is perfectly legal in the UK.

I can also personally testify to being covered for rental insurance while non-resident and driving on a UK license in the UK when I had to pursue a claim several years ago.

Just be aware that if your license is a 10 year one and it expires while you're non-resident, there's no legal way to renew it again.
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Old Mar 1st 2014, 7:21 am
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Default Re: Driving License and car ownership in Saudi Arabia

Originally Posted by sicklyman View Post
all very helpful and accurate info.... except this bit.

According to DVLA, residency status does not affect currently valid UK licenses and so renting and driving on said license is perfectly legal in the UK.

I can also personally testify to being covered for rental insurance while non-resident and driving on a UK license in the UK when I had to pursue a claim several years ago.

Just be aware that if your license is a 10 year one and it expires while you're non-resident, there's no legal way to renew it again.
Interesting, that's not what people round me think. And I can't remember where I heard someone saying some large car rental companies back home give discounts using your Saudi license. That's kind of off though, since Saudi drivers are in no way better at driving than Brits, unless it's destruction derby.
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Old Mar 1st 2014, 8:36 am
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Default Re: Driving License and car ownership in Saudi Arabia

Originally Posted by sicklyman View Post
all very helpful and accurate info.... except this bit.

According to DVLA, residency status does not affect currently valid UK licenses and so renting and driving on said license is perfectly legal in the UK.

I can also personally testify to being covered for rental insurance while non-resident and driving on a UK license in the UK when I had to pursue a claim several years ago.

Just be aware that if your license is a 10 year one and it expires while you're non-resident, there's no legal way to renew it again.

Well, I renewed my UK 10 year licence whilst non-resident, no problems at all using the DVLA website, and the licence arrived at my UK family address.

I always use my Qatar licence and address to rent cars when I visit the UK. That way any traffic violations have to be sent to Qatar and never arrive
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Old Mar 1st 2014, 12:24 pm
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Default Re: Driving License and car ownership in Saudi Arabia

Originally Posted by steviehouse View Post
I may shortly be moving to Saudi Arabia permanently, where I am aware I will need a local Driving License. I believe this will be what's called a private driving license.

I've been told and from online searches I find similar, that with a private license I cannot legally drive a pickup.
Can anybody confirm this?

I also understood that cars'SUVs with more than 5 seats can only be owned by someone with a family.

If someone could please clarify these points it would be great. Thanks
Its a difficult one, as one of the guys at my compound on single status has a pick up…. i think if it is a commercial vehicle then thats anther story and license.

My SUV has 7 seats … I'm here on single status too.

What are you coming out here to do? I got a vehicle included in my contract (no idea how you would get around without one!) and had a driver until my Iqma and Driving license arrived (9weeks!)
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Old Mar 1st 2014, 3:59 pm
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Default Re: Driving License and car ownership in Saudi Arabia

Originally Posted by James_unlimited View Post
Its a difficult one, as one of the guys at my compound on single status has a pick up…. i think if it is a commercial vehicle then thats anther story and license.

My SUV has 7 seats … I'm here on single status too.

What are you coming out here to do? I got a vehicle included in my contract (no idea how you would get around without one!) and had a driver until my Iqma and Driving license arrived (9weeks!)
Whose names are on the ishtamara's? This comes down to private ownership versus a company vehicle.
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Old Mar 2nd 2014, 12:47 pm
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Default Re: Driving License and car ownership in Saudi Arabia

Originally Posted by Johnnyboy11 View Post
Well, I renewed my UK 10 year licence whilst non-resident, no problems at all using the DVLA website, and the licence arrived at my UK family address.
please note the use of the word "legal" in my post
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Old Mar 3rd 2014, 7:30 am
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Default Re: Driving License and car ownership in Saudi Arabia

I'm coming out to Saudi to be a Service Engineer for the same company I'm working for now in The Netherlands. Whilst I am married, my wife will not be coming with me so I assume I'll be on Single status.
I will be transferred completely to getting paid from the Saudi Company. There is a company car included (Toyota Camry base model) but I would prefer something a bit nicer while I am there. If I do not take the company car I get an allowance of 1500SAR a month, while with just a little extra from my own pocket I can get a nice car on finance. (I have my eye on a Ford F-150, hence the question about pickups.)
I know I will have to wait for my Iqama and driving license.
My company would pay for a rental car until everything is sorted. I drove a rental on my Dutch driving license with International license (incl arabic translation) for 4 months while I was there from September last year to January just gone. I was on a business visa that time while this time it will be a work visa. However I assume I can still drive a rental with my international license while I wait for Iqama and Saudi driving license.
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Old Mar 5th 2014, 8:59 am
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Default Re: Driving License and car ownership in Saudi Arabia

Just remember if you get finance in Saudi Arabia it will have to be settled in full or transferred to someone else with an Iqama before you can do a final exit when you finish your employment.
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Old Mar 5th 2014, 9:04 am
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Default Re: Driving License and car ownership in Saudi Arabia

I understand that no problem.
I'm intending to stay as long as the finance runs at least, if not longer
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Old Mar 5th 2014, 9:07 am
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Default Re: Driving License and car ownership in Saudi Arabia

Originally Posted by steviehouse View Post
I understand that no problem.
I'm intending to stay as long as the finance runs at least, if not longer

Great - just remember this is the Middle East and things change hour to hour and day to day. What your intentions may be now, may not be what actually happens. Just be prepared
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Old Mar 22nd 2014, 6:50 pm
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Default Re: Driving License and car ownership in Saudi Arabia

Originally Posted by Johnnyboy11 View Post
I always use my Qatar licence and address to rent cars when I visit the UK. That way any traffic violations have to be sent to Qatar and never arrive
I think in the UK, traffic violations are sent to the address of the registered car - through the registration number of the car. If you have hired a car, then the violation will be sent to the rent agency which owns the car.
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Old Mar 23rd 2014, 1:57 pm
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Default Re: Driving License and car ownership in Saudi Arabia

Originally Posted by King Cobra View Post
I think in the UK, traffic violations are sent to the address of the registered car - through the registration number of the car. If you have hired a car, then the violation will be sent to the rent agency which owns the car.
that's absolutely right. Which means that if you do rent a car and commit a violation, that will be on your record at the rental company and may well prevent you renting with them again until you have paid the fine. This is because you will also have incurred an administrative charge for handling this by the rental company.

I know for sure that this has happened to returning expat visitors to Australia. I assume the UK would not be any different.
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