While it has never been a problem to own big cars for expats in Saudi Arabia, recently laws related to vehicle authorization have been changed. Now it is very difficult for an expat living in Saudi to own a seven-seater SUV or to get a new Istimarah showing their ownership.
As per Arab News this decision was taken by General Directorate of traffic in March 2016 and in 2018 it has been very strictly implemented.
Why was this Law Implemented?
It seems that many expats were trying to do business using vehicles registered for personal use. This was particularly true of expats who owned large vehicles and ferried passengers to and from Makkah and Madinah. This ultimately impacts the cab and taxi drivers who lose customers. Also, since such transport businesses are not registered, the government loses considerable revenue.
It can be seen that the authorities might have their own reasons for implementing such strict regulations. However, many expats who use larger vehicles for their personal convenience have faced much trouble.
What are the Consequences of This New Law?
This rule means two things: car dealers have stopped selling 7 seater SUVs to expats and those expats who have taken a bank loan to lease a seven-seater car are unable to transfer the car to their ownership once the lease period is ower. In other words, they are unable to get Istimara OR car license renewed in their name.
Is there a way out?
However, there are certain special circumstances during which an expat might be allowed to own a seven seater car. Qsaudi discusses the method for buying or transferring a leased SUV to an expat’s personal ownership through a step by step process.
First, check Your Vehicle Authorizations
Step 1: Visit the Official MOI website
Step 2: Click on the Expats option in the top menu
Step 3: Now click More
Step 4: Click Vehicles I am Authorised for
Step 5: Enter Your Username and Password for Absher
Once you have entered your username and password along with the code displayed, you will be able to view which vehicles you are authorized for.
If you select the My vehicles’ Authorisations you can also check whether or not it has been transferred on your ownership
Second, Determine Your Eligibility for a 7 Seater Vehicle
Normally, you can only own a seven-seater vehicle in Saudi Arabia while being an expat if you have a family sized at least 5 people.
These family members need to be living with you in Saudi Arabia as dependents on your Iqama. if you just have family members visiting you, you are not eligible for owning a big car.
Third, Try Your Luck by Applying for Permission
Currently, the only verified process that has come to our note involves visiting the local Muroor office personally.
As far as transfer of a 7 seater car that was purchased on loan is concerned, here are the requirements for processing a request for transfer of Istimarah or vehicle registration from the bank’s name to the expats name:
- Take along copies of all documents related to your car and the loan from the bank showing you have repaid it in full.
- Take along copies of Iqamas and first and last passport pages of all your family members- you must have atleast 4 other people in your family.
- If you are not fluent in Arabic take along someone who can explain your case better
- Take along a written application explaining your situation. see if an Arab friend can write it in Arabic for you.
- Go to the local Muroor office with all the above documents and speak to the mudeer (director) concerned
- Try to convince the Muroor office to grant you a permission for the seven seater.
This information is based on what a professional who lives in the Eastern province did. He had a tough time convincing the mudeer as his family lives in Riyadh and he visits them once a week.
However, finally after much pursuation, the mudeer (in-charge or director) of muroor of the area issued this permission:
The above document is issued by the Muroor Office in Al Ahsa province and clearly states that the vehicle whose details are given above is verified to be used for personal use. Also, the vehicle is not in any way being used for rental purposes or to transport passengers.
It seems once you have this document in hand you are then issued a vehicle registration license which shows your ownership of the vehicle.
If you have experienced a similar situation, please let us know about how your experience was.