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Work Permit

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Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia work permit

Updated on:
16 Jan, 2024
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EOR in 
Saudi Arabia
Monthly
Annually
(Save upto 15%)
$
549
/month
(billed monthly)
Start Hiring Now
Employ contractors and employees in 160+ countries
Get started
EOR in 
Saudi Arabia
Offer banner
$
549
/month
(billed annually)
$
599
/month
(billed monthly)
Employ contractors and employees in 160+ countries

Table of Content

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Building a remote team?

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Companies that are expanding internationally may be hiring remote workers who reside in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In addition to Saudi citizens, this includes workers who are visiting or planning to relocate to Saudi Arabia. To be able to live and work legally in Saudi Arabia, foreign employees need some sort of Saudi Arabia work permit and a residence permit.

This comprehensive guide will include information on:

  • Types of Saudi Arabia work visas, business visas, and family residence visas
  • Saudi Arabia immigration laws
  • Saudi Arabia work visa requirements
  • How to submit a Saudi Arabia work visa application for employees

By the end of the guide, you'll also learn how to use an employer of record like Skuad to hire remote workers and independent contractors without having to create a local legal entity in Saudi Arabia.

An employer of record can assist with work permit applications, payroll processing, onboarding remote employees, and any other services your business requires to form your international remote teams.

Types of Saudi Arabia work visa

There are several different types of work visas in Saudi Arabia. A work visa is necessary for foreigners who want to travel to Saudi Arabia to work.

Of the many available visas, types that may be relevant to remote employment in Saudi Arabia include:

  • Business visit visas
  • Employment visas
  • Residence visas

A visa is a government authorization to visit the country for a certain duration. In addition to an entry visa, foreigners need a residence permit to live in the country. A residence permit called an Iqama is also required of every foreigner on an employment visa and allows them to reside in the country, open a bank account, and move freely where they work. This permit must be issued within 90 days of the employee's arrival in the country.

The Iqama residence permit is an important identification document that all employees must have on their person at all times. It is against the law to work in Saudi Arabia without an Iqama, and it is against the law for employers to employ foreigners without first getting them an Iqama. An employee found without an Iqama by authorities may be fined or deported. If an employer fails to obtain an Iqama for their foreign employees, they may be fined up to SAR 100,000 for each infraction.

In addition to obeying the law regarding Iqama residence permits, all travelers must follow the country’s laws and regulations, including Islamic laws. Some of these laws involve tradition and social values. Failure to abide by the laws of Saudi Arabia can result in penalties ranging from fines to deportation, imprisonment, and death.

Business visit visas

Business visas are short-term visas meant for employees and executives of companies to enter Saudi Arabia for business trips. These trips can include activities such as meetings or short-term consulting.

The duration of the business visa depends on the number of entries it covers. A single-entry business visa covers a stay of one month and is valid for three months. Multiple-entry business visas have a duration of 90 days and are valid for six months, one year, two years, or five years.

Employment visas

Employment visas are types of visas for employees to be able to enter the country to work. An employer in Saudi Arabia must have all the permits necessary to conduct business in Saudi Arabia and sponsor their foreign employees. Employers take care of the visa and residence permit applications on behalf of their employees.

The Iqama residence permit is also required, allowing employees to work in the country for up to two years.

Residence visas

Residence visas can allow the families of work residents to reside with them in Saudi Arabia. Permitted relatives include spouses, sons under the age of 18, and unmarried daughters. Before applying for a family residence visa, a sponsoring employee must get authorization from the Ministry of Affairs. Further requirements are listed in the next section.

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Saudi Arabia work visa requirements

If your company is expanding internationally and hiring tech talent in Saudi Arabia and other nations, you must be able to comply with national immigration laws, including the following Saudi Arabia visa requirements.

Business visa requirements

To be able to get a business visa, certain documents are required:

  • Passport valid for no less than two months with two empty visa pages
  • Completed application form
  • Visa fee payment
  • Electronic invitation letter from a Saudi company
  • Copy of the company’s business registration in the US and Saudi Arabia
  • Document confirming legal residence in the US, if the applicant is not a US citizen
  • Employment verification letter by the applicant’s US employer addressed to the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC, confirming the employee’s position and citing the purpose of travel as “business”

Employment visa requirements

For an employment visa, certain documents are required:

  • Original passport valid for no less than two months with two pages empty for visas
  • Online application form with “single entry” selected
  • Digital power of attorney from the Saudi employer generated by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Visa referral note issued by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs or its branches in Dammam or Jeddah indicating the visa number and visa date
  • Original letter from the Saudi company sponsoring the employee certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Saudi Chamber of Commerce
  • If applicable, an authorization form allowing a visa agency to submit the visa application
  • Copy of the employment contract signed by the employer and the applicant certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Saudi Chamber of Commerce
  • Notarized certified copy of the applicant’s university degree or diploma authenticated by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission
  • Notarized certified copy of the applicant’s training or technical diploma authenticated by the US Department of State. Copies of diplomas must also be notarized by a Saudi Arabian Consulate in the US.
  • Three copies of a signed medical report and lab results issued within the previous three months by a licensed doctor certifying that the applicant is free of communicable diseases
  • A police report issued within the prior six months detailing the applicant’s criminal record

Residence visa requirements

To get a residence visa, these documents are required:

  • Original passport valid for no less than two months with two pages empty for visas
  • Online application form with “single entry” selected
  • Visa referral note issued by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs or its branches in Dammam or Jeddah indicating the visa number and visa date
  • Proof of kinship, if accompanied by a family member, including a marriage certificate or birth certificate, if applicable
  • Age of accompanying child under the age of 18; accompanying daughters must be single
  • Copy of legal US residence, if the applicant is not a US citizen
  • Three copies of a signed medical report and lab results issued within the previous three months by a licensed doctor certifying that the applicant is free of communicable diseases (not necessary for children under 16)
  • For minors under 18 traveling alone, a notarized letter signed by a parent

How to apply for a Saudi Arabia work visa

Applications for visas, as well as payments for the visa fees, can be made online at the Enjaz website. Applications can also be made in person at an embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through mail to the embassy in Washington, DC (601 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20037), or any of the authorized travel agencies and visa offices.

Employers should obtain a visa and apply for an Iqama residence permit for each of their employees. Applications can be submitted online, along with supporting documents that include the employee’s passport, medical reports, and proof of health insurance.

Some workers might want to move permanently to Saudi Arabia. Applicants for permanent residence are employees. Benefits of having a permanent resident card include not needing to renew your visa and being able to work for any employer you choose.

For permanent residence eligibility, employees can apply for the Premium Residence Permit, which requires:

  • A valid passport
  • An age of 21 or older
  • A clean criminal record
  • Proof of financial solvency
  • A health report certifying no contagious disease
  • Proof of legal resident status in Saudi Arabia

Applications for the Premium Residence Permit can be submitted online.

Application processing time

Work visa applications should be processed within two weeks. Business visas can take 10 working days to be processed. Family residence visas should take two to seven working days. A residence permit should be processed within three days.

Your business can continue building your global workforce with the help of a global employer of record while you wait to fully comply with Saudi Arabia immigration laws and visa requirements. Because you don't have to set up a local legal entity to hire employees in nations like Saudi Arabia or anywhere else in the world, working with an employer of record saves you time, money, and effort as you expand internationally.

Planning to hire or work in Saudi Arabia? Here’s how Skuad can help

Your business can easily hire a remote team in Saudi Arabia with the help of Skuad. Typically, you would need to create a legal entity in the nations you plan to hire in before making an international hire. However, working with an employer of record will save your company the time and money needed to establish a local legal entity in Saudi Arabia.

In addition to Saudi Arabia, Skuad can support your company's international growth in any of the other countries we can assist you in hiring in. Skuad has legal entities in all of those nations, allowing you to hire employees in more than 160 of them and pay them in more than 100 local currencies.

Skuad can be your employer of record and help you hire globally so you can concentrate on your company’s core business strategies. Let an employer of record hire employees on your behalf almost anywhere in the world. Contact us today for a demo.

FAQs

How can I move to Saudi Arabia from the USA?

If you plan on moving to Saudi Arabia from the USA to work, you will need an employment visa along with a residence permit. The first step would be to get a job at a Saudi company because without having employment already, you would not be able to get an employment visa.

Your employer would obtain your residence permit. Once you have your employment visa and residence permit, you can move to Saudi Arabia to begin working. Eligible applicants for Permanent Residency can apply online.

Is Iqama a work permit?

The Iqama is a type of residence and work permit in Saudi Arabia that employees must have to be able to live and work in Saudi Arabia. Employers obtain the Iqama, along with the employment visa, for their employees.

This residence permit must be carried at all times while the employee is in Saudi Arabia and is necessary for certain activities such as opening a bank account. If an employee is found without a residence permit on their person by the police, they may be fined SAR 10,000. If an employer does not obtain the Iqama for their employee, they may be fined SAR 100,000.

How long does a Saudi work permit take?

Processing time can vary depending on the type of permit or visa:

How much is the working visa in Saudi Arabia?

The costs of the permits should be taken care of by your employer. If Saudi citizens make up more than 50% of the company, the cost is SAR 7,200 per employee. If Saudi citizens make up less than 50% of the company, the cost is SAR 8,400 per employee.

How can I get a work permit in Saudi Arabia?

Your employer should obtain a Saudi Arabia work permit in the form of an employment visa and an Iqama residence permit for you. To get a work visa, you must first have a job lined up for you in Saudi Arabia. For your employer to be able to apply for your visa and residence permit, you would need to provide certain documentation, including your identification and your signed employment contract translated into Arabic.

limited-offer-banner
EOR in 
Saudi Arabia
Monthly
Annually
(Save upto 15%)
$
549
/month
(billed annually)
Start Hiring Now

Employ contractors and employees in 160+ countries

Get started
limited-offer-banner
EOR in 
Saudi Arabia
$
549
/month
(billed annually)
$
599
/month
(billed monthly)

Employ contractors and employees in 160+ countries

Table of Content

Building a remote team?

Employ exceptional talent, anywhere, anytime!

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