Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Saudi passport department finds online solution for women to travel alone

16 July 2008

JEDDAH -KhaleejTimes-An online solution has been found in Saudi Arabia to allow women to travel alone. The Passport Department will soon post an online document that will have to be filled and cleared by the women’s ‘mahram’ (her guardian under Saudi law).
The presentation of this document at the point of embarkation will be enough for women to travel alone. Abdulrahman Al Ajlan, spokesman of the Passport Department, was quoted as saying that the decision to implement this online clearance has been taken. But the electronic document is still under examination and technical issues have to be resolved before it could be available to the public.

The woman’s ‘mahram’ will remain authorised to issue this online clearance. All he has to do is use the secret code number given to him as a subscriber by the Passport Department to carry out online services, and provide the clearance on the e-document with that number. The woman then has to print the approval and take it with her to the airport before travelling.
Al Ajlan said this effort to provide an online document corresponds to the Passport Department’s efforts to streamline all services on the Net.
In a related development, the Passport Department is discussing making the guardian’s approval to issue a passport for the woman the sufficient basis for her to travel alone. The major point of the discussion is who will be the ‘mahram’ when the woman comes of age and marries, is divorced and then remarries.

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