Can I Drive in Saudi Arabia with US License

drive in saudi arabia with us license

Can you drive in Saudi Arabia with a US license? The answer is yes; you can drive in Saudi Arabia with a US license as long as it is valid. If you are a United States citizen and hold a valid USA driver’s license, you can drive in Saudi Arabia.

Drive in Saudi Arabia with US License

The answer to the question of whether you can drive in Saudi Arabia with a US license is yes. An American citizen and holder of a valid USA driver’s license can drive in Saudi Arabia for short-term visits or business trips without needing to obtain a local permit. However, there are some important considerations to bear in mind when driving in Saudi Arabia with your US license, such as the requirement for an international driver’s license and translation into Arabic.

An international driver’s license is required for those from the USA who want to drive in Saudi Arabia, and this must be accompanied by either a passport or a valid identification document. It should also be translated into Arabic to ensure its acceptance – the translation should include all information found on the original document, and it must be certified by an authorized entity before being submitted. The validity period for driving in Saudi Arabia with a US license is limited to 90 days.

In addition, certain special precautions should be taken when driving cars in Saudi Arabia. According to the Ministry of Interior website, drivers must always have their documents handy while driving; this includes their ID card, driver’s license, and insurance papers.

It would be nice if you obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) from the AAA IDP International Driving Permit which can then be used alongside your existing national driver’s license to operate a vehicle in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, if you plan on staying for more than three months then you will also need to get a local driver’s license from the Traffic Department in Riyadh. 

Renting a Car on an American License in Saudi Arabia

Obtaining a car rental with an American driving license can be daunting. To ensure you find the best option, it’s essential to research multiple car rentals and dealerships as some may require a Saudi license for insurance coverage. Investing your time in researching various services will allow you to identify the most suitable service provider that meets all of your specifications.

When renting a vehicle with an American license, it is crucial to research multiple insurance companies and compare their coverage options. By taking the time to investigate your choices beforehand, you make sure that you are making a wise decision for yourself and your car!

By law, all drivers must always carry their original driver’s licenses and IDPs while driving in Saudi Arabia. To ensure a smooth journey, it is also wise to bring along proof of ownership like vehicle registration papers or rental agreements whenever stopped by police officers. Being prepared can help avoid any potential issues that may arise.

Local Traffic Laws

When driving in Saudi Arabia, it is essential to be aware of the various traffic laws and regulations as they may differ from those that are common in the United States. Women can drive too, however, must still comply with all road rules; clothing appropriate for driving should also not be neglected. If you are a female foreigner hoping to drive in Saudi Arabia, we urge you to read our article on foreign women driving in Saudi Arabia. This will provide invaluable information regarding the laws and policies of driving within the country as well as provide useful advice for making your journey smoother and easier.

As a foreign visitor to Saudi Arabia, it is strongly recommended that you do not drive or consume pork products or alcohol while in the country as this action could lead to penalties and even imprisonment if caught by local law enforcement.

Renewal of Driver’s Licence

If you live in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and your United States driver’s license is expiring soon, unfortunately, the US Embassy in Riyadh will not be able to assist. Your best option is to contact your home state’s relevant licensing authority.

If required, you must appear at US Embassy and present the necessary documentation which verifies your identity to meet the Licensing Authority’s standards. Additionally, you need to provide any additional paperwork that is mandated by said Authorities.

Exchanging an American Driving License in Saudi Arabia

If you would like to get a Saudi driving license and already possess an American driver’s license, the journey can begin with only a few clicks. All that is required is access to the internet. To kick-start this process from your abode, here are all of the documents that will be necessary:

  • A photo ID (both front and back)
  • Valid driver’s license
  • A translation of your driver’s license (again, both front and back)
  • The results of your medical report. These can easily be attained from clinics that offer driver’s license exams.

Steps to Take

  • Create and activate an Absher account. To do so, you will use your ID number, phone number, and bank account information.
  • Pay the SR400 license fee.
  • Then, in the Electronic Services section of Absher, click on appointments and then traffic. From there, book an appointment for your practical driving test. You should receive a confirmation SMS once you have done this successfully.
  • Finally, go to your designated Traffic Office with all required documents and take your practical driving test – which certain nationalities may be exempt from taking altogether but don’t assume that applies to you!
  • Congratulations if everything goes well during testing – you can now collect your Saudi driver’s license!

Although it is possible for Americans to drive in Saudi Arabia with their license, additional paperwork must be completed and there are definite regulations that need to be followed – especially if you plan on staying longer than three months. Even so, these steps should guarantee a smooth journey when exploring this majestic country!

I'm Waheed Akhtar, a driving enthusiast in Saudi Arabia. My passion for road safety and education drives me to share valuable insights from my personal journey. Let's connect.


  1. Hello Waheed,
    Thanks for sharing above all the informations.
    Above you stated:
    « certain nationalities may be exempt from taking altogether « »

    So is the USA part of the list or not ?
    Do you have the list of the countries exempt?

    Thank you

  2. Salam, I’m confused. In the first paragraph you stated: “The answer to the question of whether you can drive in Saudi Arabia with a US license is Yes.”

    and then you stated: “An international driver’s license is required for those from the USA who want to drive in Saudi Arabia” – so what is true? Can a US Citizen with US driving license rent a car and drive in Saudi or an international driver’s permit (IDP) is needed from AAA? Please clarify.

    • Dear Umbreen,

      Yes, you can drive in Saudi Arabia with a US license. An International Driving Permit (IDP) is advised, though.


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