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Campaign for Saudi women to apply for individual ID cards

Authorities are trying to break societal practices of women being kept on family IDs

Gulf News

Manama: Saudi authorities are encouraing families to apply for ID cards for the women in the family.

Several conservative families have a tendency not to obtain individual identity cards for their daughters under the claim there was no need for it and that the collective family ID was sufficient

However, with the new drive to modernise all the institutions of the state, women can no longer do without their own personal identity cards

“No father or brother has the right to prevent his daughter or sister from getting a national identity card when she reaches 15,” Mohammad Al Jasser, the spokesperson for the civil status, said. “If they do not allow her, she can do it herself by going to any Civil Status office in her residence area without the need for a father, brother or husband and she can identify herself through her mother, sister or grandfather or aunt or uncle,” he said in remarks carried by Saudi daily Al Watan on Monday.

Authorities have gone to great lengths to explain the need for IDs for women, but the move is still being resisted by some families.

Some conservatives have objected to having personal pictures on the identity cards.

The latest measures allow women to obtain their individual cards through a family identifier.

Esam Al Mulla, a lawyer, confirmed the significance of the new measures.

“Women have been given the right to go to the offices of the Civil Status and with the testimony of the mother or a sister can obtain their own personal national cards,” he told the daily.

“All they need is a birth certificate, a recent picture without the veil or colored contact lenses, and a work certificate. If she does not have a job, she will be registered as a housewife. Divorcees can confirm their status by bringing a copy of the document stating they were divorced.”

Interior Ministry officials last year said they were developing the Saudi national identity card by using modern technologies and adding a number of technical features to keep pace with the electronic transformation.

The developments are in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 which called for investing in modern technologies and expanding the scope of services.

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