Things you should know before you relocating to Saudi Arabia

Moving to Saudi Arabia: Things you should know before you immigrate to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest growing countries in the world. In 1950 there were about three million Saudi’s but today that number exceeds 31 million inhabitants. Due to its vast reserves of natural resources, Saudi Arabia has developed in many different ways over the last decades. It is the reason many expats move to this country on the Arabian peninsula. With high salaries and modern infrastructure, life in Saudi Arabia can be quite comfortable. However, you have to keep in mind that you will have to adapt to the dominant culture in the country. Join us when we explore the details of a move to Saudi Arabia.

With more than 10 million foreigners working and living in the country, Saudi Arabia is home to one of the biggest expat economies on the planet. With the economy growing so fast, there is an immense demand for employers in many spheres. When you are Moving to Saudi Arabia from the USA, there is a lot you have to adapt to. With the article below you will get a good idea of what it means to reside in Saudi Arabia so that you are well prepared for your new adventure.

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When you are thinking of relocating from the USA to Saudi Arabia, or any other Western country, there is a lot coming at you. Let’s have a look at some fact about Saudi Arabia.

CapitalRiyadh, with 7.6 million also the biggest city in Saudi Arabia.
TimezoneThere is only one time zone in Saudi Arabia: UTC+3
CurrencySaudi Riyal, SR/SAR
PopulationSaudi Arabia has a growing population of 33 million inhabitants.
How do you call someone from Saudi Arabia?Saudi (Arabian)
Official languageArabic
International dialing code+966
Emergency number999 (police) 997 (ambulance) 998 (firefighters)
DrivingOn the right side
TippingIn restaurants, you should tip 10-15%. In other situations, a tip of 10% for good service is not uncommon.
Unusual factIn the capital Riyadh, approximately 100 camels are sold daily.

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Living in Saudi Arabia

When you start living in Saudi Arabia it is needless to say that you will have to adapt to their culture and rules. Some things that are common in Western countries, can be strictly forbidden in Saudi Arabia. Let’s have a look at the most important things that you need to know.

  • It is not allowed to import or consume alcohol and pork in Saudi Arabia.
  • Shops and all businesses shut down five times a day for prayers. The prayer is announced through speakers so that everyone knows it is time to get ready for prayer.
  • Saudi Arabia is a segregated country, meaning that in for example a restaurant or cafe, there is a section for families and a section for single men. Failing to abide by these rules can get you in trouble.
  • The heat in Saudi Arabia is immense and the soaring temperatures can reach more than 50 degrees Celsius easily. Most of the time, you will spend the biggest part of your day indoors with the air conditioning on.
  • There is no freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia. Islam is the national religion of the country and the laws and regulations are reflected by that.

Visa Regulations for Saudi Arabia

Everyone who wants to enter Saudi Arabia has to obtain a visa. These can be obtained at the Saudi Arabian embassy. The requirements for a visa depending on the kind of visa you want to obtain. Among others you can get visas for study purposes, a tourist visa, a visa for the hadj and a work or business visa. When you exit Saudi Arabia and you want to return, you have to make sure your visa is a multi-entry visa.
When you stay longer in the country than the visa allows you too, you can expect a heavy fine. Also, you can be denied re-entry to the country.



Healthcare in Saudi Arabia

Public healthcare is of exceptional quality and free for all Saudi citizens. However, this doesn’t apply to the 10 million expats that work in the kingdom. For foreigners, it is obligatory to take out private health care insurance, which is a pricey thing. On the other hand, you can expect great healthcare and practically no waiting lists. As most of the doctors in the hospitals are also foreigners, you can do most of the communication in English.

School and education

The school system in Saudi Arabia can be divided into 4 parts.

pre-school/kindergarten3-5 (not mandatory)
Primary education6-12
Intermediate education13-15
Secondary education16-18

After finishing secondary education, students can go on to study at universities and vocational education. Education, which is number two in the budget of Saudi Arabia, is free for every citizen of the country.

The job market in Saudi Arabia

With 10 million expats already making a living in Saudi Arabia, you have a fair chance to find a job. Most of them hail from countries as Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. There are also between 100.000 and 125.000 Western expats in this oil-rich nation.

  • With the push for modernization and looking for other ways to earn money than with fossil fuels, there are many opportunities for people who are looking for a well-paid job. Like in many other expat hotspots, areas such as IT, engineering, medicine, and finance are in demand. You can also expect a pleasant salary when you are a teacher or a professor at one of the schools or universities in the Desert Kingdom.
  • Always keep in mind that you need a work permit to legally work in Saudi Arabia. This can only be arranged with the help of a sponsor, which usually is your employer.
  • One of the wonderful things about working in Saudi Arabia is that you don’t have to pay income taxes about your salary.

Property information

It has only been possible for several years for foreign nationals to buy real estate in Saudi Arabia. As a result, most expats live in rented apartments. These are usually located in so-called compounds, where only foreigners live. There is a huge range of apartments with various facilities such as pools, shopping centres, cafes, and restaurants.
The only downside of renting an apartment in the Saudi market is that the prices are exorbitant. So when you have the possibility, try to negotiate accommodation expenses in your work agreement.

Cost of moving to Saudi Arabia

When you are considering relocating to Saudi Arabia, the following questions must have gone through your head:

  • How much is shipping from the USA to Saudi Arabia?
  • What is the cheapest way to move furniture to Saudi Arabia?

The answer depends on the number of items, the pick-up location and the speed with which you want the things to be delivered. One way or another, the average moving costs to Saudi Arabia will definitely be lower when you use the services of Eurosender. With our huge network of the biggest logistics companies on the planet, we will find you the best option for your relocation. Order online now or contact us for an individual offer, and find out how you can get the lowest cost of moving house to Saudi Arabia.

Cost of living in Saudi Arabia

The cost of living in Saudi Arabia is comparable with other countries in the Middle-East, which is quite high. Most expats in Saudi Arabia, have excellent employment agreements, that usually include housing, schooling for children, healthcare insurance and a budget for relocation. When you want to save money on groceries, it is best to buy local products instead of imported goods, which are way more expensive.

Driving in Saudi Arabia

Recently the Saudi government has lifted the ban on driving for women. Now all Saudi citizens aged 18 or older can obtain a driving license.
To drive as a foreigner in Saudi Arabia, you need your driving license and an International Driving Permit (IDP). You can get an IDP at your local driving authority. Usually, they cost no more than $20-30. Also, you need to have your passport, car insurance documents and license registration with you at all times. Some other things you need to know about driving in Saudi Arabia.

  • In the villages and far from the cities, you can find children as young as 12 driving a car.
  • There is a system of speed cameras. When you are fined you receive a text message on your mobile phone. Be careful not to exceed the speed limit as these fines can turn out to be quite expensive.
  • Saudi Arabia is ranked in the top position as for most dangerous countries to drive in. Consider whether you are able to deal with the chaotic traffic and aggressive drivers.



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Disclaimer: The materials provided in this article were collected from other credible resources to be used for general information purposes only. Given that the legislative basis of the country and its economic development have a changing nature, the information provided in the article could be subject to change. Whilst we endeavour to keep the information up-to-date and correct, Eurosender will not be liable for any inappropriate, incomplete, or inaccurate information. Certain links will lead to websites which are not under control of Eurosender. Thus, Eurosender accepts no liability in respect of materials, products or services being not under control of Eurosender.