Saudi Arabia employment visas
Non-Saudi citizens who want to live and work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) must secure a work and residency visa (also called Iqama). In addition, foreigners must also secure an Iqama before KSA banks appoint them as bank signatory to a Saudi Arabia corporate bank account. Consequently most of our Clients require Healy Consultants Group assistance to secure a Saudi employment and residency visas.
On average, it takes approximately 2 months to secure an Iqama. That said, depending on the workload of the Saudi Authorities, it may take up to 4 months to secure the same.
Preliminary list of documents requiredThe list of documents required for an employment visa application varies depending on the nationality and place of residence. As a general guide, below is a preliminary list of documents that are common for most of the Iqama applications:
- For foreign non-GCC nationals: i) passport ii) 2 passport size photos iii) Medical report, not older than 3 months iv) no-criminal records certificate, less than 1 month old v) Saudi Arabia embassy attested university degree vi) resume and vii) Saudi employment contract viii) a Saudi invitation letter and ix) several visa application forms including KSA declaration, work and insurance application forms. Once formally engaged, Healy Consultants Group will be happy to assist our Client to complete the necessary forms and supply detailed guideline as to where and how to secure each document;
- Generally GCC residents or nationals do not need to supply a medical report nor criminal records certificate.
Steps to secure an Iqama
No. Step Week 1. Our Client sends Healy Consultants Group i) the payment slip and ii) the signed engagement letter; 1 2. Before an Iqama is applied for, the Saudi Arabia LLC must appoint a Saudi national employee under its payroll. Our Client should budget for a minimum Saudi employee monthly salary of US$1,400 including GOSI monthly contributions; 2 3. Healy Consultants Group prepares a list of personal documents that are required for visa application. Our Client supplies the same within 2 weeks; 2 4. Healy Consultants Group submits the complete employment visa package, including i) signed employment contract, ii) original passport, iii) medical certificate, iv) police clearance and v) application form to the Ministry of Labour for the Iqama; 4 5. The Ministry of Labour reviews the visa application and revert to Healy Consultants Group requesting additional documents. Healy Consultants provides the required documents in a timely manner. Once approved by the Ministry of Labour, the Iqama application will be forwarded to the Ministry of Interior; 8 6. A Saudi visit visa is issued. Our Client collects the same in the Saudi Arabia embassy in the country of origin; The employee has the legal right to travel to Saudi Arabia; 10 7. Once the employee arrives to KSA, Healy Consultants Group assist the client to i) undergo a medical examination ii) record the biometrics with the Saudi Arabian Authorities. Within one week, the Iqama is issued and stamped in the employee’s passport; 10 8. Healy Consultants Group files an application to the Ministry of Interior for a multiple Exit/Re-entry permit, which allows the employee to travel in and out of Saudi Arabia whilst they have a valid Iqama. This process takes approximately 1 week. 12
Important information regarding your visa application
- The passport of the foreign employee must have at least 2 blank pages facing each other and 6 months validity;
- Each company has a quota for residency visas. The local to foreign ratio is 10%. Therefore, before the first Iqama is issued, the Saudi Arabian entity must already have employed at least one local employee;
- Residency visas are valid for up to two years. Employees cannot work for anyone other than their sponsoring employer and sponsorship cannot be transferred until the employee has worked for their original sponsor for at least two years;
- Before a foreign employee secures an Iqama or residence visa in KSA, the foreign employee must secure a visit visa, to be collected in the Saudi embassy in the country of origin. The same is then converted to a residence visa (also called Iqama) within approximately 2 weeks from arrival in Saudi Arabia;
- A visitor visa must be sponsored by a Saudi resident company or resident individual, who is required to issue an invitation letter;
- Companies are required to register their employee’s contracts with the Ministry of Interior before a residency permit can be issued;
- Employees leaving Saudi (for a holiday or business trip) require their employer/sponsor to acquire an exit/re-entry visa. If an employee is leaving the country and not returning, he will be issued an exit-only visa. Healy Consultants Group assists our Client to secure a multi-entry/exit visa during the first weeks of arriving in Saudi Arabia.
Frequently asked questions
Do I need a visa to enter Saudi Arabia?Yes, most nationals require a Saudi Arabia visa. You might also require a sponsor in the country for visa applications. Some GCC nationals however are exempt from visa requirements to visit Saudi Arabia for tourism purposes. Healy Consultants advises Clients regarding the most suitable visa for their visit to Saudi Arabia.
What documents are required to apply for a work visit visa in Saudi Arabia?The list of documents required for a work visit visa in Saudi Arabia depends on the nationality and employment role of the applicant. Some of the documents required include i) a valid passport ii) photos iii) invitation letter duly attested by the Saudi Chamber of Commerce iv) original employment contract v) original degree certificates and vi) certificate showing at least 2 years prior work experience in a similar field.