Expatriates planning to work in Saudi Arabia will find it convenient to have a driving license. Public transport in the kingdom is not that well developed, and if you are with your family, I would strongly advise you to have a car, as mentioned earlier .
Having a driving license is an absolute must, before you drive a car in the kingdom. Note that this is also used as an authentic proof of identity while entering some of the compounds and it has the added benefit of validity in other GCC countries. Let me now brief you about the latest procedure to have a driving license.
It is not necessary for you to go to a driving school to obtain a license, but I would strongly urge you to do so, even if you know driving. The chances of you being failed if you bypass the school, is quite high, going by experiences of several expatriates .
The first step is to fill in the application form (usually the driving school or your sponsor will have this), affix the required photographs, take an introduction letter from your sponsor in Arabic and submit it to the police. The police would verify your application and give their approval for the next step.
Now, you will have to take this form to any of the hospitals and get your blood test and eye test done. Remember that without the police approval mentioned above, the hospital would not do these tests, so do not bypass any of the procedures mentioned here .
Once you complete your medical tests, you will have to submit the same to the police once again, who will then give approval for you to proceed to the driving school. Take this approved form to the driving school, pay SR435 along with your iqama copy and register your name. You are now officially a student of the driving school .
From the date of registration with the school, you will have to give the driving test within 6 months. It is up to you whether you attend the classes every day or every other day, but most expatriates would like to complete this procedure quickly, and so do it at a stretch of about 10-15 days.
When you feel comfortable driving the car, you will have to tell your driving instructor of the same. He will make you undergo a short test and if convinced, he would sign on a form and ask you to proceed to the real test the following day.
Now, you will have to just give your driving test. It is mainly reverse parking, which is tested. You will have to drive your car in reverse and park it within a rectangular box marked on the ground. If all the four tires of your car are within the box and if you have followed all the rules (wearing seat belts, giving appropriate indications, locking the hand brake, etc), then you are through with the first part of the driving test.
The next part is the computer test. There are 20 multiple choice questions which you will have to answer. If you answer even one of the first 10 questions wrong, then you are disqualified and the computer will lock, not allowing you to answer the remaining questions. If you have answered the first ten questions correctly, you will have to answer atleast 5 out of the remaining 10 questions correctly. If you have answered these, the results would be announced immediately and the file would be given to you.
Take this file, go to either Riyad Bank or Al Rajhi Bank - unfortunately, you have a choice of only any of these two banks at the moment and pay SR400 (thanks to reader Joe for the update). Attach the receipt along with your file and submit it to the police through your sponsor. You should be getting your driving license within a week <:-P