Moving to RIYADH – part I

Moving to Riyadh-part I - KSA - Thoughts & Notes - blog

Saudi Arabia has a tempting working environment, and offers many opportunities annually for people to come and work from all over the world.

In spite of the current market situation, and the active campaigns by the Saudi Government to apply “Saudization” (preference of Saudi employees) in many sectors, people from all around the world continue to work in Saudi due to decent salaries, tax-free earnings, and tax-free living.

Here’s what you need to know if you are moving to Riyadh. This is the first part of our guide. The second guide include information about Accommodation. The third guide is about transportation, tips on how to buy a car and the fourth guide is on Healthcare, education, dinning and shopping in Riyadh.


Once you get the job, the first thing that you may have to do is to get the visa on your passport, which is “working permit” of your company. As you may know, Saudi Arabia is not a country that you can visit as a tourist. Your company or the person inviting you is your sponsor, every foreigner in Saudi Arabia has a sponsor.

Now, you have to go to the local Saudi embassy/consulate to collect the visa. In some cities, there are agencies that can help you to collect it for you and send you your passport back. What you need is to give your passport (valid for at least 6 months), your visa approval number, few documents, visa fees and a medical test. You will also be required to sign few official papers promising that you will respect the Saudi Arabia and Muslim culture.

There are many types of Visa to get into the Kingdom:

  • Visit Visa is a visa for business trips issues from the company/sponsor.
  • Family visit visa is issued by the company/sponsor of the person who works in KSA, if he would like a visit from his relatives. This visa is for the close family members.
  • Work visas is a residency visa for people who work in KSA. The visa is made by the company/sponsor and could offer a residency visa for the family.
  • Residency visas for Saudi Arabia (ikama) is issues for the family of people who work in KSA. If you have this kind of visa, you are usually not allowed to work.

After having you visa on your passport, you are able to come to Saudi Arabia. You usually have a 3 months’ visa, that means that you are able to fly to Saudi Arabia within 3 months. Be careful, sometimes it could be less. And do not confused it with the duration of stay in the country!

Exit/re-entry demand has to be made when going out of KSA.


The most common and important items that you are not allowed to bring are Alcohol drinks, and any item containing it such as chocolate and flavoring extracts…etc.  The second very sensitive item is Radio transmitter/communication equipment.

For the detailed list, please review the Goods prohibited from importation, and Goods which their importation restricted, on the Saudi Customs authority website.


You can continue reading our guide “Moving to Riyadh” by clicking on the following links:

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Moving to Riyadh-part I - KSA - Thoughts & Notes - blog
Moving to Riyadh-part I – KSA – Thoughts & Notes – blog

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