Laura Alho Image Credit: Twitter

Manama: Laura Alho has become the first European woman to receive her driving license in Saudi Arabia.

Laura, a Finnish national and “the author of Blue Abaya, the first travel blog in Saudi Arabia established in 2010” announced the historic event on her Twitter account.

“Got my Saudi driving license today! They told me I was the first European woman to get the license today,” she posted.

“I’d like to express my thanks to Moroor traffic office in #Riyadh today for a job well done. The process of converting foreign license to #Saudi one and the driving test went smoothly-all very well organized. Everyone was friendly, supportive and smiling!”

Laura volunteered her services to other expat women looking to convert their foreign driving licenses to the Saudi one ahead of the June 24 lifting of the driving ban.

“Converting a foreign license to the Saudi license is possible for women of any nationality with a valid driving license. You will not have to ‘give up’ or surrender your existing license to get a Saudi license. The process is very similar to the one that foreign men go through to obtain the Saudi driving license. Both Saudi women who have obtained a license from a foreign country and expats can apply for the Saudi driving license with this same procedure,” she posted.

“For the women who do not have valid licenses (license expired) or don’t know how to drive, you’ll need to enroll to the driving schools first.”

She added that the documents needed for the registration were a scanned copy the ID, a scanned copy of the valid driving license, a scanned copy of the translation of driving license (both front and back) and a medical report.

The procedure fees to obtain the Saudi license are SR 400 for 10 years license and SR 200 for five years, she added.

“They will show you the map of what you need to drive and perform on the test track. A 8-circle, 3-point turns and then in the end a parallel park. During the driving test, you will follow the course which includes performing two skills: the three point turn and parallel parking. You have to get 75 per cent to pass,” she said.

“The driving instructor does not enter the car with you, he will follow next to the car to evaluate the test. The one we had was very helpful and kept explaining what to do next.”