Saudi Arabia Work Visa

March 18, 2012

 

Why do you need a Saudi work Visa

 

If you want to work in Saudi KSA  you will need to have a work visa for Saudi Arabia, the work visa will entitle you to enter the kingdom and work for 90 days during which time your sponsor (employer) will convert your visa into an Iqama or residency permit enabling you to stay and work.

 

How easy is it to get a Saudi Arabian Work Visa

 

If you can find work in Saudi Arabia then getting the Saudi Work Visa can be relatively simple as long as the company you are going to work for has not employed too many expatriate workers in relation to the number of Saudis they employ and that they are not trying to employ you for a position that has been designated for Saudis only.

Saudi Arabia Work Visa

Work Visa for Saudi Arabia

Many jobs now cannot be filled by non-saudis such as positions within the HR department of a company. You may find that a company employs you for one position but when you look at the paperwork for your visa it mentions a completely different job position as the company is not able to employ you in the position they want you for. This can result in senior management in companies having visas and iqamas that say that they are electricians or even just “labor”. This may not be a problem in most cases but if your visa is as labor or a driver then you may have problems with regards being able to use banking facilities and in being able to have weekends escaping to Dubai. They say that you can change your job description, however I have never known anyone who has managed to do so.

If a company has exceeded its quota of work visas it may try to bring you into the kingdom on a Saudi business visa for a short time whilst it sorts out the problem, I had this for almost a year with a company I worked for and it caused me many problems.

 

Application Process for Saudi Work Visa

 

The initial application for your work visa is made by your sponsor in Saudi Arabia who will get you a visa number which will be sent to you to allow you to process your visa – if the company can get the visa approved and has not been blacklisted for having too many expats.

This visa number will be sent to you and you should then carefully read the website for your local Saudi Embassy as to what their requirements are. They will typically require copies of signed contracts in Arabic, legalized educational certificates and legalized medical reports covering items such as HIV and lung function.

Most countries now require you to go through an agent to get your visa, the agent will help advise you as to what paperwork you require and ensure that it is completed correctly, this process however can take a couple of weeks to complete to as long as a month.

 

Getting your Iqama

 

Iqama

Saudi Arabia Residency Permit - Iqama

Your Saudi work visa will be valid for 90 days, at the end of this probation period the company employing you has to convert the visa into a residency permit or Iqama or if you fail your probation get you to leave the country. You Iqama is a small credit card type card that you have to carry with you at all times as your ID. The Iqama will allow you to make use of the banks, western union, hire cars, even something as simple as getting a Sim card. Without an Iqama it can very difficult to do anything in KSA as they will rarely accept any other type of ID.

 

Can you work for someone else in KSA

 

The rules in KSA are very clear, you can only work for your sponsor, if you are working for someone that is not your sponsor and you are caught (inspections do happen) then you can be deported after spending some time in prison. Those people that think they can buy a work visa then come to Saudi Arabia are being misled, they can only officially work for the person that has sponsored them, not anyone else. That being said there is a very healthy illegal labor market for maids, drivers, nurses and other workers throughout the kingdom, but if you are caught you will be in trouble. You also run the risk of not being paid as if your employer is not your sponsor it is against the law for them to pay you for services and some unscrupulous employers do bring in labor short term and then not pay them.

 

Transferring Sponsorship

 

If you want to take another job while you are in KSA you can’t just quit and go work for the new company offering you more money and better conditions; you have to get a letter of no objection from your current sponsor to allow your iqama and work visa to be transferred. Not all sponsors will allow this and I have heard from many people who have been refused a letter a NO to enable them to transfer their sponsorship. These people then either have to finish their current contract with their sponsor and leave or they leave before ending their contract. In both cases however without the letter of no-objection they will have to wait one or two years before they can return to Saudi Arabia to work for another employer.

 

Can you return to Saudi Arabia if you leave

If you have left your employment and your sponsor has given you a letter of no objection then you can return to work in Saudi Arabia as soon as you find a new sponsor. If however you have not been issued with a letter of NO then you will have to wait for between 1 and 2 years depending on which country you come from.

If you did not leave at the end of your contract, but failed to return when using a exit/re-entry visa then you need to check the status of your old Iqama number on the MOFA website, if your sponsor has reported you as a runaway or some other case then it will show when you search your iqama number. If this is the case do not try to return unless you can get your sponsor to drop the case.

If your Iqama has not been reported in any way then you will have to wait 1 or 2 years before you can return to Saudi Arabia.

The only way around this is if you have been lucky enough not to have had your biometric data recorded (fingerprints) as you can then just “loose” your old passport with any old Saudi visa in it and reapply.

 

I hope this article gives you all of the information you need about your Saudi Arabia work visa, if you need any further information feel free to leave a comment below.

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  1. Why work in Saudi Arabia?

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14 Responses to Saudi Arabia Work Visa

  1. September 5, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I am Computer Operator / Data Entry Operator and my working experience is more than 03 years. I need a job in your Company. I am orphan, unemployed and head of my family. If you give me a chance I shall be very thankful to you.
    Contact: +923125506000

  2. aldwin
    September 10, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    very helpful information.

  3. uzair
    October 7, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    I stand to correction, but you also need a police clearence along with the mentioned documents when applying at your nearest KSA embassy. In my country it takes 6-8 weeks, so plan accordingly !

  4. richard
    October 11, 2012 at 1:57 am

    i didn’t return back to saudi arabia last year and my re-entry visa expired last january 9, 2012,unluckily i had submitted myself to thus biometric data recorded (fingerprints). it’s been a year now since i came here in the philippines, my questions is when can i return to saudi arabia and work again for a new sponsor?
    hope you can help me with this.. thank you

    • admin
      November 7, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      Hi Richard,

      after 1 year you can apply for a new visa even if you did not go “final exit” on your last visa.
      However if you left any debts in Saudi you may find yourself arrested if you return. If you don’t have any debts then no problem at all!

  5. Zai
    November 27, 2012 at 1:35 am

    Hi. I left saudi arabia for 1yr now. I was able to use my credit card here in my country when i came from saudi. Now im planning to go back again in saudi, will it cause any problem? Im planning to pay my bills if i started having my salary again. Tnx

    • admin
      December 10, 2012 at 9:09 pm

      Hi Zai

      If you have left debts behind within Saudi Arabia that is against the law. You will be arrested on your return and held until you repay your debts – you will not be able to work there to repay your debts as you will be jailed. If you want to return to Saudi Arabia pay your debts first.

  6. yinus
    December 4, 2012 at 7:03 am

    I really wanted to work in saudi arabia no work here so borring no good economy i av 3years workin experience,work with telecom in my country but computer operator,pls help me,am even good marketer

  7. bilal
    January 8, 2013 at 4:26 am

    DEAR FRIEND
    IN SEPTEMBER 2011 I CAME PAKISTAN ON ANNUAL VOCATION BUT UNFORTUNATELY I COULD NOT RETURN ON TIME AND MY SAUDI COMPANY REPORT ME IN LABOUR OFFICE ” RUNAWAY” NOW PLEASE LET ME KNOW CAN I RETURN BACK TO SAUDI ARABIA OR WHICH PROBLEN I WILL FACE IF I GOBACK TO SAUDIA

    • admin
      January 25, 2013 at 8:02 pm

      Hi Bilal

      You will be able to apply for a new visa after one year.

  8. SYED IRSHAD ALI
    January 8, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    SIR
    I NEED AZAAD VISA OF SAUDI ARABIA CAN U PROVIDE ME A DETAIL FOR
    A GOOD KAFEEL (SPONSOR) NAME.EMAILADDRES AND PHONE NO. I’M VERY VERY THANKS FULL FOR YOU.
    REGARDS
    SYED IRSHAD ALI
    SYEDIRSHADALI93@GMAIL.COM

    • admin
      January 25, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      Hi Syed

      The “azaad” visa is not legal – you can only work for your sponsor within Saudi Arabia and if you are caught working for someone else you will find yourself in a lot of trouble as will your sponsor. Your best bet is to find an actual job and apply for it and have them sponsor you officially.

  9. January 26, 2013 at 1:20 am

    DEAR FRIEND
    IN SEPTEMBER 2011 I CAME PAKISTAN ON ANNUAL VOCATION BUT UNFORTUNATELY I COULD NOT RETURN ON TIME AND MY SAUDI COMPANY REPORT ME IN LABOUR OFFICE ” ABSENT FROM WORK حالة العامل: متغيب عن العمل” NOW PLEASE LET ME KNOW CAN I RETURN BACK TO SAUDI ARABIA OR WHICH PROBLEN I WILL FACE IF I GOBACK TO SAUDIA
    labour department website shows as حالة العامل: متغيب عن العمل

    • admin
      January 26, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      Hi Bilal

      I do not read Arabic so I cannot translate what the labor office has to say!
      However if you did not return at the end of your vacation then you will need to wait at least one year before you are able to apply for another visa. You should not face problems when you return unless you have left debts unpaid in which case you could be arrested as leaving debts is a criminal offense.

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