Work Visa from Saudi Arabia
To successfully expand our operations into Saudi Arabia, it's crucial to assemble a skilled team of employees. Understanding the process of obtaining work visas and residency permits for our team members, whether they are existing employees or new recruits, is essential for a smooth relocation.
Different types of Saudi Arabia Work Visas
In Saudi Arabia, everyone except citizens from Gulf Cooperation Council member countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, the Sultanate of Oman, and Kuwait, requires a visa to enter the country.
There are three main types of visas available in Saudi Arabia:
- Employment visas
- Business visit visas
- Family visit or residence visas
This guide will concentrate on employment visas since they are essential for employees planning to reside in Saudi Arabia for an extended period.
Documents needed to obtain Saudi Arabia Work Visa
To obtain a Saudi Arabia work visa, employees must secure sponsorship from a company in Saudi Arabia. The sponsoring employer will be responsible for most of the application process, while the prospective employee must provide the necessary documents.
The following documents are required to apply for an employment visa:
- A valid passport for the duration of employment.
- One passport-size colour photograph.
- Proof of online payment of the visa fee through the Enjazit website.
- A completed visa application.
- Three copies of a signed medical report.
- A letter of employment from the sponsoring Saudi Arabian company, certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Saudi Chamber of Commerce.
- A signed copy of the employment contract.
- A certified copy of the applicant's university diploma, validated by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission.
- A police report showing any criminal record.
- An addressed, prepaid envelope.
Process of applying for a Saudi Arabia Work Visa
The work visa and residency permit application process in Saudi Arabia begins with the sponsoring employer.
Below are the necessary steps to obtain the required permits:
- The sponsoring employer must register with the Ministry of Interior in Saudi Arabia.
- The Ministry of Interior will create an immigration file containing information about all expatriate workers employed by the company.
- The employer will then apply for a work visa on behalf of the employee to the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Labor.
- After the application is approved, the Ministry of Labor will inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which will issue a Visa Authorization Number within two weeks.
- The employee will submit their employment visa application, along with the required documents listed earlier, to the relevant Saudi Arabian embassy.
- The embassy will process the visa application within one to three weeks, allowing the employee to travel to Saudi Arabia.
- Once in Saudi Arabia, the employee must apply for a residency permit, known as the Iqama, through the Ministry of Labor.
- The approved application will be forwarded to the Ministry of Interior, and the Iqama will be issued by the Directorate General for Passports.
- It is essential for employees to carry their Iqama at all times to demonstrate their legal authorization to reside and work in Saudi Arabia.
- If the employee needs to travel in and out of Saudi Arabia during their employment period, they must apply for an Exit/Re-Entry Permit through the Ministry of Interior. Typically, this permit is issued within one week.
Important things to note
Employees should be mindful that Saudi Arabian authorities uphold strict regulations. Certain behaviours or appearances deemed inappropriate could lead to entry denial or deportation. Examples of unacceptable conduct include public displays of affection, men wearing shorts that expose their legs, and women donning clothing that is too revealing, tight, or shows their hair, along with excessive makeup.
All visitors, including employees, should respect and adhere to the principles and beliefs of Islam, as it is the only religion permitted to be openly practised in Saudi Arabia. The Mutawwa'in, also known as the religious police, diligently enforce these standards across the country.
Should any employees plan to bring their spouses or children along, they must obtain family visit visas for them to stay in Saudi Arabia.
Yes, you can bring your family on a Saudi Arabia work visa. Once you have obtained your work visa, you can apply for a family visit visa or a residence permit (Iqama) for your spouse and dependent children.
The validity of the visa depends on the type of visa. Temporary work visas are usually valid for up to 90 days, while employment visas are valid for the duration of the employment contract, which can be one or two years and renewable.
To change employers in Saudi Arabia, you must obtain a release letter (NOC) from your current employer and a new job offer from the prospective employer. Your new employer will then need to apply for a new work visa on your behalf.
No, working in Saudi Arabia without a valid work visa is illegal and can result in fines, deportation, and a ban on re-entry.
No, you cannot convert a tourist visa into a work visa in Saudi Arabia. You must apply for a work visa from your country of residence before entering the Kingdom.