Saudi Arabia considering online travel document approval system for women

Online travel authorization would allow guardians to give electronic approval for women to travel alone

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By  Mark Sutton Published  July 15, 2008

Saudi Arabia is considering the creation of an online approval system which will make it easier for women to travel unaccompanied.

According to a report in the Arab News, the Kingdom's Passport Department has developed an online document which will allow a woman's ‘mahram' or guardian to give online approval for the woman to travel, without the mahram having to be present at point of departure.

After registering for online services with the Passport Department, a male guardian will be given a secure PIN number, with which they can access the form and complete it online. The woman can then print out the document, and present it as authorisation to travel upon leaving the Kingdom.

The system would remove the need for the mahram to either travel with the ward, or to have to arrange official approval documents in advance.

No date has been set for the introduction of the service, and the Passport Department says there are still some technical issues to be considered before it could be launched.

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