Women Travel Documents

Yes it is true. If you are a woman you have to have special travel documents. If your main mahram (legal male guardian) is with you then him escorting you will suffice. But if you happen to be a Saudi woman and need or want to leave the country without your main mahram, you have to have a special yellow card. This card is issued by the same office that issues passports and it has to be requested and signed by your main mahram. A main mahram is the legal guardian which basically means the father until marriage and then the husband. If a woman’s father and husband both pass away then guardianship passes to her son, brother or uncle; whichever one is an adult and closest. This mahram not only can he stop a woman from leaving the country without his permission but also can limit the countries to which his “ward” can go to. All he has to do is list the country or countries he will allow the woman to travel to on the card or he can leave it blank which means she can go anywhere. This part is just stupid because yes a woman might be limited to the countries on the card in a Saudi airport but once she’s in any other country’s airport, then it’s only a matter of a tourist visa. In regards to age, legally a woman does not have to have the yellow permission card after 45. However, the airport employees don’t seem to be aware of this. And if you do go to the passport offices and request the yellow card for a woman over 45, they’ll issue it.

Coming back to the country is a lot smoother for Saudi women. No one stops her or asks questions but if the woman does not hold a Saudi passport and does not have a male relative accompanying her then she is held at the airport until her sponsor whether an employer or relative comes to get her. But if a non-Saudi woman is leaving the country, and she has all her visa papers in order then she can leave with or without a male guardian.


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7 responses to “Women Travel Documents

  1. Umm Latifa

    salam alaykum, jazak Allahu khairan for your post. What about traveling within limits of KSA of
    a) Saudi woman (I know now women can stay in the hotels alone, but they need written permit from their mahrams to travel let’s say from Riyadh to Damman);
    b) foreign woman married to a foreigner working here;
    c) foreign women working in here without mahram. Are foreigners allowed to travel freely within limits of KSA or do they have to hold any other documents apart from iqamas? Does anyone know the regulations? (for sure, pls)

  2. ممارس صحي


    I went one day with my mother who is above 65 years old to Bahrain accompanied by my wife and the kids. Immigration refused to let us in because my mother’s card was expired:) and I had to ask the guy for about an hour or so adding all the polite words that we usually use in most of our Government issues like “tal 3mark, allah yjzak alkeer, tkfaaa” to let us got out from the Saudi immigrations then, they asked me to call my father who was abroad that time so, the guy could talk to him and make sure that my mother is not running away .. It is a huge responsibility on him as the guy was repeating..
    Finally I singed a sort of statement that it is my responsibly to allow my mother to go to Bahrain without her official Maharm 🙂

    My sister, who is a neurosurgeon is suffering 😀 from the same problem, I will send her your post to read it…
    a really nice post Eman..

  3. Umm Latifa

    On formalities to be soon implemented reg. women travelling alone (with mahram permission still)http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=111823&d=15&m=7&y=2008

  4. Muslima

    This mahram thing is soooo silly. I’m religious so I did a lot of research on Ahadith and stuff to find out where it came from, and the hadith basically says, “Don’t let your women travel for longer than three days without a mahram.”

    Hello? This was Arabia 1400 years ago, when NOBODY travelled alone, male or female. Also the Prophet clearly used the word ‘travel’, and traveling is when you would join your prayers together for the special ‘travel’ prayer. So if you’re not joining your prayers for longer than three days, then there’s no need for a mahram. Not to mention that women are each other’s mahram, so when travelling in a plane/bus/airport the woman is obviously surrounded by mahram! Just my views on the subject.

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