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Guide to Obtaining Residency in Saudi Arabia

Looking for guidance on obtaining residency in Saudi Arabia? Discover the steps involved and read advice from expats, nomads, and others already in Saudi Arabia.
Guide to Obtaining Residency in Saudi Arabia

Obtaining a residency visa in Saudi Arabia is not always easy, but our Guide to Residency in Saudi Arabia gives newcomers an overview of the steps involved and advice from others who have already navigated the process.

  • Gather the necessary documents for residency application:
    • Valid passport
    • Proof of address in Saudi Arabia
    • Proof of employment in Saudi Arabia
    • Proof of financial stability
  • Visit the nearest immigration office to apply for residency status.
  • Fill out the application form and submit it along with the necessary documents.
  • Pay the applicable fees.
  • Wait for the application to be processed.
  • Once approved, obtain a residency card.
  • Apply for a Tax Number:
    • Visit the nearest tax office.
    • Fill out the application form and submit it along with the necessary documents.
    • Pay the applicable fees.
    • Wait for the application to be processed.
    • Once approved, obtain a Tax Number.

What tips do expats have about residency and visas in Saudi Arabia?

“If you plan to stay in Saudi Arabia for a while, you will need a valid passport, a Saudi Arabian visa, and a residency form. Depending on the length of your stay, you may also need to take a medical examination and obtain a residence permit. Additionally, you might have to apply for a work permit if you plan to take up employment in Saudi Arabia,” said one expat living in Saudi Arabia.

“In order to travel to Saudi Arabia, foreign nationals must apply for a visa and obtain authorization prior to arrival in the country. The process of applying for a visa includes submitting an application, including passport details and travel plans, to a Saudi Embassy or Consulate and providing documents that confirm the purpose of the visit, such as an invitation letter from a Saudi sponsor or an employment contract with a Saudi company.Foreign nationals who wish to reside in Saudi Arabia must obtain a residency permit, known as an Iqama. To apply for residency, applicants must first have a valid work or family visa and then submit all the necessary documents and fees at their local passport office. Applicants must also have a sponsor, who is usually the employer for work visa holders or a family member for family visa holders, who will be responsible for the visa holder’s legal status in the country, as well as any necessary paperwork. After all the documents and fees have been submitted, the applicant will receive an Iqama card, which must be kept valid and renewed periodically,” commented one member living in Saudi Arabia.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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