Saudi Arabia allows women to travel without permission

Saudi Arabia issues series of royal decrees granting women more freedoms.

Elad Benari ,

Muslim woman (illustration)
Muslim woman (illustration)
Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

Saudi Arabia on Thursday allowed adult women to travel without permission and granted them more control over family matters, Reuters reported.

The decisions were issued in a series of royal decrees published by the official gazette. They stipulate that a Saudi passport should be issued to any citizen that applies for it and that any person above the age of 21 does not need permission to travel.

The amendments to regulations also grant women for the first time the right to register child birth, marriage or divorce and to be issued official family documents and be eligible as a guardian to children who are minors, according to Reuters.

Women’s rights have for years been an issue in Saudi Arabia but the Crown Prince has been leading a major drive to modernize Saudi society and boost the economy. He has pledged the country would return to a "moderate and open" approach.

As part of a wide-ranging social and economic reform initiative in the face of fallen oil revenue, King Salman announced last year that Saudi women would be allowed to drive.

The kingdom, which had been the world's only country where women are not allowed behind the wheel, later announced another reform, allowing women into stadiums to watch soccer matches for the first time.

More recently, Saudi Arabia named a woman as ambassador for the first time, with Princess Rima bint Bandar being named as the kingdom’s envoy to the United States.