Saudi women with no male guardian, and the path to identification
There are several ways women can obtain their national identity card without seeking their guardians’ permission, according to Khalid Fakhri, member of the National Assembly for Human Rights.
Fakhri said the guardians’ role is to identify and facilitate statutory procedures for women provided that they are included in family records.
He said that procedures and rules are clear regarding women’s rights to obtain a national ID and apply for paperwork to be completed at any department with the exception of proceedings in civil cases.
Current regulations within the civil status system give women several options for obtaining their national IDs. This includes the presence of a guardian for identification purposes via signed family records. If this is not possible, she can submit the ID of a relative aged 18 years or older, or, if this is also not possible, two women aged 18 or older can come to the Department of Civil Status to complete statutory procedures.
These are all viable and acceptable methods for a woman to obtain her ID for civil cases without requiring the consent or presence of the guardian. Women also have the freedom to select who will facilitate obtaining the national ID.
But the presence of a guardian is intended only for identification purposes to facilitate the procedures.
The guardian does not have the right to refuse because being recognized through an ID is a fundamental right and conforms to procedures in place in many countries for security considerations and other services.