Riyadh: Saudi Arabia on Monday began issuing its first driving licences to women in decades, state media reported.

“The first group of women today received their Saudi driving licences,” the official Saudi Press Agency said.

“The general directorate of traffic started replacing international driving licences recognised in the kingdom with Saudi licences,” it added.

The move comes as Saudi Arabia prepares to lift its decades-long ban on female drivers on June 24.

SPA said authorities started swapping international licences for Saudi ones in multiple locations across the kingdom. The women took a brief driving test before receiving their licenses as they’d already held driving licenses from other countries, including the UK, Lebanon and Canada.

It did not specify the number of licences issued.

The move is part of Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s far-reaching liberalisation drive as he seeks to modernise the conservative state.

The prince, who recently undertook a global tour aimed at reshaping his kingdom’s austere image, has sought to break with long-held restrictions on women and the mixing of the genders.