Immigrate to Saudi Arabia

Updated on Wednesday 18th May 2022

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Saudi Arabia is one of the most appealing business destinations in the Middle East. The developed economy attracts investors, but also specialists in various fields looking for good jobs in other parts of the world. While some decide to migrate to Saudi Arabia permanently, for others a temporary relocation is a better solution.

No matter the way you want to use to immigrate to Saudi Arabia, our specialists can help you find the best type of residence permit.

We are a team made of Saudi company formation officers and lawyers who can provide complex services to foreign investors and people who want to explore all the opportunities this country has to offer.

The main types of visas for Saudi immigration

No matter the reason you decide to immigrate to Saudi Arabia for, including for a simple visit in order to establish the conditions for opening a company, for example, you will need a visa to enter the KSA.

If you want to stay here for a longer period, you will need a residence permit. The main permits available for immigration to Saudi Arabia are:
  1. the employment or work visa which can be requested by people who want to work here;
  2. the escort visa which can be obtained by family members (spouse and children) of a foreign citizen living in KSA;
  3. the student visa which is available for persons who want to complete their studies here and which enables them to live here for a few months;
  4. the residence permit which enables a foreign citizen to live in Saudi Arabia for various timeframes.

Saudi immigration is available for people who want to work and set up businesses here. Employment can be obtained for short terms, but also for long terms. For the first situation, the Saudi authorities have recently enabled the temporary work visa.

Our lawyers in Saudi Arabia are at your service with tailored support if you want to relocate here and will guide you in applying for the type of residence permit you want.

How to migrate to Saudi Arabia through employment

Finding employment in the KSA is not complicated for highly skilled people as Saudi companies hire foreign employees in important sectors, like oil and gas exploitation. For this purpose, overseas citizens can obtain temporary or long-term residence permits.

If you decide to immigrate to Saudi Arabia based on employment, the procedure is rather simple as it must be completed in a large percentage by the employer. So, you must first secure a job offer and contract with a Saudi company which must start the hiring procedure with the Ministry of Labor.

Once the formalities are completed at the end of the employer, the Saudi embassy or consulate in the employee’s home country will issue the work visa. Following the arrival in the KSA, the foreign visa holder will obtain a residence permit from the Ministry of Interior.

Here are the main aspects to consider for immigration to KSA based on employment:
  • the foreign citizen must have a valid employment contract which will enable him/her to work for the company hiring him/her;
  • the employment must be based on specific education or experience that must be proved;
  • the processing time for the work visa takes between 2 and 3 months.

During the stay in Saudi Arabia, the employee can change the company he or she works for only based on a No Objection Letter from the former employer.

In the case of temporary work permits, these are issued to employees of foreign companies that do not have an established presence in Saudi Arabia. The duration of such visas is 30 or 90 days. This is a suitable option for foreign enterprises setting up liaison offices in KSA with the purpose of prospecting the market.

You can rely on our specialists if you want to immigrate to Saudi Arabia or open a business here.

Immigrate to Saudi Arabia for a long-term

If you have decided that you want to live in Saudi Arabia in the long term, a residence permit is the most suitable option.

In order to obtain a permanent or premium residence permit, an expat must meet certain requirements, in accordance with the recently launched program. The following conditions must be met for the two permits available:
  • the applicant must be at least 21 years old;
  • he or she must pay a fee of SAR 800,000 or the equivalent of approximately USD 213,000 for permanent residency;
  • he or she must pay an annual fee of SAR 100,000 or around USD 27,000 for a temporary residence permit that can be renewed.

For detailed information on the main requirements associated with immigration to Saudi Arabia under the permanent residence program, you can rely on our local advisors who can also help you draft the necessary documents. Contact us for tailored support.