On Monday, Saudi Arabia's General Directorate of Traffic issued driver's licenses to 10 female motorists, three weeks before the ban on women driving is officially lifted.

It has been estimated that around 2,000 licenses are expected to be issued next week, the country's Ministry of Information revealed in a statement. 

"The general directorate of traffic today started replacing international driving licenses recognized in the kingdom with Saudi licenses, in preparation for allowing women to drive," the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

The long-awaited move granted licenses to women who held international licenses from other countries, according to Arab News.

The women underwent a brief driving test prior to receiving the official document. 

"Finally, it's a dream come true"

Rema Jawdat, a risk analyst at the Ministry of Economy and Planning, was among the 10 women who received a driver's license on Monday. She expressed her excitement via a tweet, which included a photo of her official document. 

"Today was an extraordinary day for me. I got the driver's license in Saudi Arabia ... and it was a dream come true," she tweeted.

A video of one woman receiving her driver's license began making the rounds online, ultimately going viral. 

"After a long wait, my driver's license is finally in my hands"

"In less than 20 days, I will be able to drive myself to work"

Women across the conservative kingdom are tweeting their anticipation on Twitter via a hashtag which translates to '#WomenDriving'.

"Extremely happy to be granted a driver's license. In less than 20 days, I will be able to drive myself to work ... all thanks goes to our great leadership that has encouraged the empowerment of women," one Twitter user wrote.

Tahani Aldosemani

Tahani Aldosemani, Assistant Professor and Undersecretary of the Deanship of the Technology Department at Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University in Al-Kharj, exchanged her U.S. driving license for a Saudi one on Monday.

"I lived in the United States while earning my PhD for 4 years, traveling and moving between states without any problem or violation of law," Aldosemani said in a statement.

"Driving for women is not just about driving a car; it enhances the strength of character, self-confidence, and decision-making skills. It also instills a sense of responsibility for yourself, your vehicle, the road, and the people around you, not to mention the economic and social dimensions of driving."

The move comes amid crackdown of female activists

In September 2017, Saudi Arabia's King Salman issued a royal decree, putting an end to the ban on women driving.  

Since then, several universities in the kingdom have launched driving schools in an effort to train women prior to June 24, the date women are officially granted a legal right to drive.

However, the move comes just days after Saudi authorities arrested nearly a dozen prominent activists - mostly women - for demanding rights that are now being dubbed as "reforms."

However, Saudi media reports suggested the detained activists were in violation of Article 12 of the Basic System of Governance, which "stresses" that the kingdom's "security and stability, its social peace and national cohesion" should be "strengthened and protected from sedition and discord."

The individuals were reportedly in contact with "foreign bodies to support their activities." They also "sought to recruit persons working in sensitive government posts as well as providing financial support to hostile elements abroad."

Among those detained is Loujain al-Hathloul, who was held in jail for more than 70 days back in 2014 after attempting to drive from the UAE into Saudi Arabia. 

The activist's lawyer, Ibrahim al-Modimeegh, who formerly served as an adviser to the Saudi cabinet, was also arrested. 

Saudi authorities have since released less than half of those detained.