How to Move to Saudi Arabia I Living in Saudi Arabia I Move to Saudi Arabia I Relocation Guide for Expat to Saudi Arabia
Relocating to Saudi Arabia
If you are relocating an executive to Saudi Arabia or if you are relocating to or within Saudi Arabia yourself, you have found the right relocation and immigration specialists. Helpxpat provides professional relocation and immigration solutions tailored to the needs of international executives.
For the past 6 years we have consistently relocated corporate executives to live in Saudi Arabia and their families to, and within, Saudi Arabia. We are responsive and professional, and always operate with care and sensitivity towards our client’s needs.
Moving to Saudi Arabia
Expat life in Saudi Arabia is intensely social as fellow immigrants develop strong, quickly formed bonds. Weekends are often centered on compound get-togethers, trips to the desert and diving excursions. The camaraderie and parties are second to none, but the artificial lifestyle can be difficult to sustain.
Relocating services in Saudi Arabia
Most expats in Saudi Arabia live in Jeddah and Riyadh, both of which have the full range of Western amenities, a good selection of accommodation, and most of the Kingdom’s employers. Some expats may also find themselves drawn to Saudi’s Eastern Province, pulled by lucrative job offers in the hydrocarbon sector.
Foreign children are not able to attend Saudi public schools, but there are numerous international schools catering to the international community. The standard of education at these schools varies. Due to the high demand, space is often limited and parents should consider applying as early as possible to get a place for their child in their school of choice. Fees can also be exorbitant. Expats should factor these costs into their contract negotiations when considering a move to Saudi Arabia.
Working and living in Saudi Arabia is best treated as an adventure and new life experience. The key is to make sure one is going for the right reason – if it’s solely to make money, think again. Expats need to see a move to Saudi as a package of career advancement, cultural experience and financial enrichment.
Home Search in Saudi Arabia
Searching for a new property in Saudi Arabia can be stressful, time-consuming and very frustrating, often requiring that you view numerous properties that don’t meet your requirements. Helpxpat will save your time by assuring all properties closely suit your needs and reporting back to you with an itinerary. Our consultants in Saudi Arabia have considerable market knowledge and negotiation skills.
Helpxpat provide relocation services in the following cities in Saudi Arabia: –
* Relocation services in Riyadh
* Relocation services in Jeddah
* Relocation services in Madina
* Relocation services in Mecca
* Relocation services in Dammam
* Relocation services in Al Khobar
* Relocation services in Jubail
* Relocation services in Tabuk and Taif
A safer option is to use the services of a relocation agent in the above cities, who will be able to speak the language and understand the local nuances of the Saudi Arabia property market.
Types of accommodation in Saudi Arabia
Most people move to Saudi Arabia on lucrative employment contracts that include free or heavily subsidised housing, furniture and utilities.
Traditionally, expat housing in Saudi Arabia takes the form of Western-style compound living. However, with demands high for these compounds, more foreigners have started renting housing from the local market.
Manoeuvering through the rental markets in Saudi Arabian cities is not easy. Even though agents and landlords will communicate well in English, most of the documents remain in Arabic. For this reason, it is always best for expats to enlist the help of their employer, an agent or a property lawyer when looking to rent property in the Kingdom.
How to find a home in Saudi Arabia
If you are planning to relocate to Saudi Arabia and need assistance to find a home, helpxpat.com enables you to find the most appropriate home for the employee for their budget and lifestyle and to negotiate the best possible lease terms – saving the client and the employee time, financial liability and stress.
Saudi Arabian expat compounds were first created in the early 1980s as a way for the foreign community to rediscover the democratic freedoms they were familiar with amid the country’s ultra-conservative Islamic law.
Complexes can vary in size from small groupings of houses to sprawling collections of villas. In both cases, these residences are walled, guarded and lauded by expats for their ability to provide an assortment of amenities within, while generally keeping out the Mutaween (Saudi Arabian religious police).
The compounds rate anywhere from three to five stars. This type of housing can come furnished and fully equipped for residents to move in and out with ease. On-site facilities can include swimming pools, tennis courts, libraries, shopping centres, restaurants and bars, and even schools.
In addition to the creature comforts that the self-contained space allows, the neighbourhoods also cultivate opportunities for expats to meet like-minded individuals and to create relationships that ease their transition into new communities.
Unfortunately, as these compounds are in increasingly high demand, accommodation in a compound can be hard to attain – waiting lists can stretch anywhere from six to 18 months. Additionally, rent must be paid upfront one year in advance prior to taking residence.
In an effort to reconcile this issue, expats should organise accommodation in Saudi Arabian expat compounds through job contract negotiation prior to arriving in the country. In most cases, once an expat has accepted a job in Saudi Arabia, a housing provision is readily stipulated.
Rental contracts in Saudi Arabia
In Saudi Arabia, tenants are usually required to pay a year’s rent in advance. In many cases, this can be negotiated. Some compounds will allow expats to pay in bi-annually or monthly installments. In many cases, the rent is covered by the employer, so this is not a concern for expats.
If an individual is signing the rental agreement themselves, it is best to hire an English-speaking property lawyer to assist with the process, as documents may be in Arabic. It is best to get a notarised English translation of any rental contract so the expat can fully understand all the terms of the agreement.
Any foreigner who wishes to rent property in Saudi Arabia requires an Iqama (residence permit). Expats may also be required to provide a letter from their employer confirming their salary and length of their contract. In some cases, the employer may need to act as a guarantor.
In addition to paying the rent upfront, tenants are normally required to provide a refundable deposit that is equal to a month’s rent. In the event of any damage to the property, furniture or appliances, the landlord will be entitled to withhold this security deposit.
Generally, most rental prices in Saudi Arabia will be inclusive of all basic utilities such as water, gas, electricity, telephone line rental and internet.
Rent for compound properties will normally include all service charges such as cleaning and maintenance of communal areas of the complex.
Choosing a right school in Saudi Arabia
Various challenges face expats moving to the Middle Eastern emirate, but navigating the system of education in Qatar is one part of the process that doesn’t have to be too complicated.
Most expats send their children to private international schools and their biggest obstacle is often not the lack of places in Qatari schools, but rather choosing between them.Even though the government puts a lot of effort into ensuring the standards of local schools, most expat children attend private international schools in Qatar. There are many options, with schools following various curricula, including the International Baccalaureate (IB), British, American and Indian systems.
Education in Qatar can be a significant expense, so expats should try and negotiate school fees into their contract or ensure that they budget carefully. Fees can add up quickly for tuition, as well as additional expenses like registration fees, uniforms and excursions, and most fees are expected to be paid upfront at the beginning of the school year.
Enrolment requires long-term planning because waiting lists for spaces in schools can be long. Some expats secure places for their children in a school before signing their employment contract, since some companies reserve spaces in schools.
Expats applying to a school can expect to pay a non-refundable application fee. They will need to fill out an application and provide previous school documents, their child’s health history, and physical exam results. Some schools also require a letter of recommendation, on-site entrance exams and a language test.
After enrolment, expats may also need to give copies of the student’s residence permit, passport copies, photos and immunisation records, as well as copies of their residence permits.
The school year in Qatar runs from September to June, with a typical school day lasting from 7.30am to 2pm. After-school activities extend the school day for children who take part in them
Visas for Saudi Arabia
Getting a visa for Qatar is fairly straightforward, with waiting periods likely to be the biggest inconvenience. Hukoomi, the government’s ePortal, makes visa applications for Qatar somewhat easier. Expats can simply track their applications by entering their country of citizenship, their application number and passport details.
It should be noted, however, that little work is accomplished during Ramadan and it’s best for visa applications to be submitted well before or just after the holy month.
Business visit visa for Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has a number of visitor visas available to foreigners, for example government visit visa and family visit visas. Business visas also fall under the visitor visa category. A visitor visa requires a formal invitation from an individual or company sponsor. Proof of the invitation for a business visa should be provided in the form of a letter certified by the Saudi Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The invitation will contain a visa number and serves to show the embassy that the applicant has obtained
Work visas for Saudi Arabia
If a person intends to work in Saudi Arabia they are required to apply for a work visa. The employment contract should be accompanied by academic or professional credential documents, and the results of a comprehensive medical examination. These documents must be presented to the Saudi embassy/consulate in the applicant’s home country or to the authorities in Saudi Arabia via their sponsor (person or company), known as a kafeel. This will ultimately lead to a visa number, allowing the applicant to be issued their visa.
The visa is valid for two years. An application fee is applicable every time the visa is reissued.
Police Clearance Certificate for Expatriates in Saudi Arabia
A Police Clearance Certificate states any criminal records and will be required if you are applying for a visa.
A police certificate is an official document issued by police or government agency of a country to enumerate any criminal records that the applicant may have. Criminal records may include arrest, conviction, and possibly criminal proceedings. Police certificate is also known as good citizen certificate, good conduct certificate, police clearance certificate, or judicial record extracts.
Relocation agencies in Saudi Arabia
Helpxpat specialise in helping people move and are set up to relieve employees of the issues that occur when moving to Saudi Arabia and we offer a wide range of services and provide aid in every aspect of your relocation – from visa struggles and work permits, to transport and finding housing.
Relocating without any assistance and help can quickly evolve into a matter of frustration, confusion and surrender – Our expert expat team is ready to get your relocation going, so why not jump-start your move abroad and contact us today? Best to start early!
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in Saudi Arabia, please contact our in-house Mobility Expert, Ms. Simi Sujith, Directly: