Saudi Arabia allows women to travel without male 'guardian' approval

Saudi Arabia on Thursday (August 1st) announced it will allow women to obtain passports and travel abroad without approval from a male "guardian", AFP reported.

"A passport will be granted to any Saudi national who submits an application," said a government ruling published in the official gazette Umm Al Qura.

The regulation will be applicable to women over the age of 21, Saudi media outlets reported, citing senior authorities.

Women in the kingdom have long required permission from their male "guardians" -- husband, father and other male relatives –- to marry, renew their passports or exit the country.

Women's rights activists have campaigned for decades against the guardianship system, which renders women as legal minors for their entire lives.

The decision comes amid a wide-ranging liberalisation drive spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose reforms include the decision overturning the world's only ban on female motorists in June last year.

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