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Saudi Arabia allows women to hold a passport and travel independently

Women in Saudi Arabia will no longer be needing permission for ‘male guardian’ to travel or apply for a passport according to a royal order signed by King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

The new rule, announced earlier today, allows all the women over the age of 21 to apply for a passport and travel abroad independently without any authorization.

These changes are a prospective game-changer for Saudi women’s rights in the kingdom. Earlier, women had to gain approval from a male guardian in order to get a passport. Moreover, women without a passport were given a page in the male guardian’s passport making it impossible for her to travel independently.

The reform called “efforts to promote women’s rights and empowerment, equal to men” will come into effect from the end of August, according to the Ministry of Information.

The reaction of Saudi women was seen on social media from all over the world. Muna AbuSulayman, a talk show host and an influencer, tweeted: “A generation growing up completely free and equal to their brothers.”

Saudi ambassador to the US and the first woman to become a representative for the kingdom, Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud also hailed the changes.

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Other changes issued in the orders allowed women to register a marriage, divorce or child’s birth and to be issued official family documents.

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