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Home » Asia, Europe, Expat Life, Immigration, Middle East, Rest of the World, Russia - CIS, country profiles

Immigration: Saudi Arabia

By Andrew Shields
March 25, 2010

As relocation experts, at Move One we know how important it is to familiarize yourself with your potential new home before making the big move.

Move One is therefore pleased to present its country profiles, which take a closer look at Relocation, Immigration, Moving and Pet Transportation issues in each of its locations.

Moving to Saudi Arabia requires certain formalities. As the Kingdom is an Islamic country, there are several procedures that are peculiar. In all cases, a person entering the Kingdom must have a Saudi sponsor, which means an individual or a company to vouch for the individual’s conduct while in the country.

Visas can be obtained from the visa department in the Saudi Embassy of the visitor’s home country or from Saudi Consulates available in all main cities around the world . A passport valid for at least six months and a visa are required for entry. Visas are issued for business and work, to visit close relatives and for transit and religious visits. Visas for tourism are issued only for approved tour groups following organized itineraries. Airport and seaport visas are not available.

In the past, travelers were refused a Saudi visa because their passports reflected travel to Israel or indicated they were born in Israel, although this has not happened recently, please be aware of this. Women visitors and residents are required to be met by their sponsor upon arrival. Women traveling alone, who are not met by sponsors, have experienced delays before being allowed to enter the country or to continue on other flights. Also, visitors to Saudi Arabia should generally obtain a meningitis vaccination prior to arrival. A medical report or physical examination is required to obtain work and residence permits.

An Iqama must be attained to be able to live and work in Saudi Arabia, this is basically equivalent to a green card. Until one has received their Iqama (official identity card depicting an individual as a resident of the Kingdom), little can be achieved.  Without an Iqama, one cannot open a bank account, get any loans, buy a car, rent a place to live or most other things associated with settling down to reside in a new location. So, the Iqama should be the top priority before moving to Saudi. Here are the different requirements that must be sent in to obtain your residence permit.

Send all this info to Saudi Consulate when obtaining an Iqama (8-week-process)

  • Passport
  • Application form with photo attached
  • Medical results
  • Copy of higher education
  • Copy of contract
  • Company letter in Arabic
  • Copy of visa payment slip
  • Visa fee

No matter your reason for moving to Saudi Arabia, Move One can help. Our extensive network of global offices allows us to manage every aspect of an individual’s relocation.

Should you have any further questions regarding immigration issues, please do not hesitate to contact your global Move One immigration specialist, or send an e-mail to

Rest of the series:

Relocation: Saudi Arabia
Pet Transportation: Saudi Arabia
Moving: Saudi Arabia

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