What You Need to Know Before Moving to Saudi Arabia

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Sarah Peddie

Planning to move and work abroad can be a tricky business. There are many things that you need to sort out before arriving at your dream destination. 

But, no need to worry as we have put together some helpful information you need to know before you make your move to another country and start your new career overseas.

Article 4 - What You Need to Know Before Moving to Saudi Arabia

1 - Visa and Documents

Once you have been offered a job, the next step is to get permission to work and stay in the country.

Your qualifications need to be verified by Data Flow. This verification is used to register you with the Saudi Council for Health Services.

To apply for an employment visa, you must have: 

  • A letter from your Saudi employer certified by the Saudi Chamber of Commerce and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • A signed copy of your employment contract.
  • Certificates of your qualifications 
  • Up-to-date police report including any criminal records.
  • One to three copies of your official medical report issued by a licensed physician. 

The Saudi embassy does not take direct visa applications, you have to go through approved agents. 

2 - Religion and Culture

Moving to Saudi Arabia as a foreigner, you are expected to comply with the written and unwritten rules of local life.

Expats are strongly advised to refrain from anything that might offend local residents like drinking alcohol in public, not dressing appropriately or openly practising a religion other than Islam.

Gender segregation is common in almost all public areas. 

3 - Healthcare 

Saudi Arabia has a good public health system providing free or low-cost treatments to all Saudi citizens.

However, all expats need to take out private healthcare plans. You should check if your health insurance covers some or all of the costs.

4 - Education 

Schools in Saudi Arabia are free of charge and are gender segregated throughout elementary and secondary. Lessons are taught in Arabic.

Local state schools are usually not an option for foreign children. There are many private schools that accomodate to the expat community.

5 - Accommodation 

Foreign residents have been allowed to own property in Saudi Arabia since 2011. However, most just rent out properties. Renting is an easy process but you should make sure you have a certified English translation of the Arabic contract.

6 - Climate 

Most expats will face a temperature shock when they first move to Saudi Arabia. In some places, temperatures can rise to 50°C during the day in the summer months.

If you are moving from a significantly colder country then be aware that the temperature shock may have an effect on your health and wellbeing. 

Fancy a move to Saudi Arabia? Register with Odyssey today and you could be working in your dream job before you know it.