Any vehicle owner must necessarily carry with him 3 cards pertaining to his vehicle.
The first one is the vehicle ownership card. This card proves that you are indeed the owner of the vehicle. The second one is the registration card, which in effect, proves that your vehicle is registered with the Government. The third card, of course, is the insurance card. All these 3 cards are mandatory by law and must be produced when demanded by the authorities.
This particular post covers the procedure for renewing the Saudi vehicle registration or istemara. The renewal of istemara has to be done on time, to avoid penalties. There is a 15-day grace period after expiry of the istemara for renewing the same. Please note that renewal of istemara is usually not done more than 1 week before its due date, so if an expatriate working in Saudi Arabia is going on vacation during this period, he must arrange with someone else to renew his istemara.
First, you must send an SMS from your mobile to the number 88905. The text of the SMS must strictly be in the following format: The first line must contain your iqama number. The second line must contain the number plate of your car (both Arabic letters as well as the numerals). It is advisable to send this SMS from a friend who has enabled Arabic in his mobile rather than trying it out yourself. This would be convenient (though not compulsory) as the exact translation of Arabic letters to English could sometimes be complicated and hence can go wrong if you use your English-enabled mobile. Each sms costs SR2.50, so if you make a mistake this amount gets deducted every time.
You should get a 9-digit code immediately in your mobile. Save this code carefully. Next, you must go to any branch of Riyad Bank or Al Rajhi Bank and pay SR150 in the designated machine. This can also be done online in the websites of these banks. You will be prompted to enter the 9-digit code which you received in your mobile. Pay the money and take a printout of proof of payment.
This printout must now be attached with other required documents, as below:
a) Copy of your iqama
b) Copy of your driving license
c) Introduction letter in Arabic from your sponsor
d) Attestation of the above letter from the Chamber of Commerce in your town (this is waived for government employees and employees of SABIC)
e) Copy of your vehicle insurance
f) Original ownership card
g) Original istemara card
h) Copy of valid MVPI
You will have to attach all of the above in a green hanging file (Neither the Saudis nor any of the expatriates working in Saudi Arabia really know why this obsession about the green hanging file!).
Next, submit this file to the traffic police. You will be asked to come the next day. Note, however, that you will not be given any acknowledgement by the police when they take the file. It is supposed to be only on trust!
When you visit the police station the next day, make sure that you have removed both the number plates from your car. You will have to give these to the police, who will then issue two new number plates - for the front and rear sides. The new number plates contain both English and Arabic letters and numerals. You will also be handed over the new ownership card and new istemara card. That's it! Hope the above post was useful.