Finally, Saudi women have their own ID cards!

Finally, Saudi women have their own ID cards!



Hatoon Al-Fassi

On October 13, 2015, members of the Saudi Shoura Council voted 96-28 to amend the Civil Status Law as proposed by three female Shoura members (Princess Sarah Al-Faisal, Dr. Latifah Al-Shalan and Dr. Haya Al-Manea) and one male Shoura member (Dr. Nasser Bin Dawoud). The proposal calls for enhancing women’s citizenship and eliminating any form of discrimination against women as stipulated in the Kingdom’s laws which are based on the Shariah, especially the right of women to have their own ID cards.

Nine points were raised in the proposal, including a definition of the ID card as an official document which identifies the relationship of children under 15 and their guardians. Article 23 of the existing Civil Status Law was amended to read that each and every male and female citizen can obtain a copy of his or her ID card. Article 28 of the law regarding the ID card of each head and member of a family was amended to read that the information of a husband and wife and their family members must be registered at a Ministry of Interior Civil Status Department office to ensure that the rights of a wife are not lost should the husband marry another woman. The most important amendment focused on Article 30 of the same law regarding the domicile of a married woman and minor. Members proposed that the minor’s domicile must be the place where his father, mother or custodian is resident and not restricted to the father’s domicile as is the case now.

Mothers may report the birth of children and women must also apply for an ID card within 60 days of marrying. Documentary evidence for the matrimonial relationship should be submitted to acquire the ID card, which will be separately issued to both husband and wife. Women will also have the right to report deaths (Article 53).

The proposal calls for discarding unnecessary clauses to eliminate contradictions and to comply with pertinent procedures. It listed justifications for and aims of the amendments and emphasized the negative effects and harms of not allowing women to apply for separate and personal ID cards that preserve their dignity. Women should be issued ID cards that prove their paternity, something that will end all forms of exploitation by guardians, some of whom resort to adding names of non-biological children on their own ID cards. The proposal will also end the unjust practices some mothers are subject to because of their need for ID cards.

Undoubtedly, the amendments will be viewed as revolutionary because they introduce major legal changes relating to Saudi women who have suffered as a result of the old legal clauses. I would like to thank all Shoura members who voted in support of the proposal. Some accused those advocating the changes of being ignorant; this is wrong because Saudi people support the proposal. This was clear on social media websites as many people celebrated this victory, while some were against it and even used obscene words to vent their anger.

Because of the proposal, the blackmailing of women will come to an end. It is high time that the dignity of women was preserved. We hope that the amendments are immediately implemented and that further changes are proposed to change the guardianship law so that widows and divorced women can win custody of their children and women can assume their own responsibility and be their own guardians.


  1. Congratulation to all Saudi women, But one very vital and basic right which is huge problem as well, still need to be solved. They are the Kids of Saudi women who,s married to non Saudis, deserve the Saudi ID like Saudi men married to non Saudi women… I hope women will have same rights like in Islam and all parts of world soon, Insh Allah.

    • I totally agree with these comments and thank to him for highlighting this vital issue. Why we don’t give Saudi nationality to children of Saudi mother? Why this right is limited to Saudi men only? These children suffer tremendous discrimination in all walks of life and suffer at the hands of kafils after there mothers death.

  2. It is a prolonged issue and demand from all those saudi ladies who got married the non-saudi [in line with government permission] to give the saudi status of their children in the Kingdom. Lots of voices & urges are coming from different parts of the KSA since long for a satisfactory discussion.. We draw the attention of the our higher authorities to solve this issue. We all families are praying for the prosperity of the Kingdom and the Rulers.

  3. The members of Saudi Shoura Council have voted generously to amend the Civil Status Law to enhance women’s citizenship and to eliminate discriminations against women. Discuss the Civil Status Law and make amendment in it whatever is needed but make any awendment under the Shariah Law not under the pressure of western countries. Saudi Arabia is our Prophet’s country and every Muslim respects and honours it. No-true-Muslim wants to hear a single word against it and its people, especially its women, so please, do not publish women issues-talaq and any kind of violation,and discrimination, of women right-frequently for it sends wrong message to the world community. Do not distort the image of our Prophet’s country, Saudi Arabia.

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