According to Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030, the Kingdom is now offering premium residency to its ex-pats. Colloquially known as the Saudi green card, this residency scheme had been in the talks since 2016 under crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman. However, it was not until May of 2019, when the Shura Council finally approved the idea, and the first rounds of residence grants were done.
What is the Saudi Premium Residency?
All that glitters is not gold, but this certainly is. The Saudi Premium Residency program is a residence permit offered by the government to expatriates in the Kingdom. This is a highly celebrated scheme. This is because it now allows ex-pats to reside within the country without the aid of a sponsor or employer. Home to over 10 million ex-pats from around the world, this news is nothing short of a blessing to many.
This residency permit aims to bring the country highly skilled people as well as extremely wealthy ones. It is attracting doctors and entrepreneurs, business people, and investors. Valuable foreign nationals from just about anywhere in the world. (Read: Now One-property ownerships option for Non-Saudis )
Ex-pats with this viable residency will enjoy full benefits as that of Saudi nationals. This means that they can keep their families, own businesses, and recruit workers. The residents can also buy properties and own vehicles. In other words, they can make a whole new life for themselves. They will also be granted equal rights as native Saudis under most circumstances.
Pros of Saudi Residency
This scheme comes with many benefits, which earlier were only reserved for Saudi nationals. These include:
- Entry to and exit from the country at will without any visa issues.
- Residence in the Kingdom complete with family.
- Enjoy special lanes and exclusive places otherwise only available for use to natives.
- Own and run a business under Foreign Investment Laws.
- Own legit real estate anywhere in the country for industrial, commercial, or residential purposes, except Makkah & Madina.
- Apply for a visit visa for relatives.
- Private sector jobs and an ability to switch jobs as and when needed. Jobs specifically meant for Saudi nationals, of course, are not on the table for this.
- Hiring domestic help from outside of the Kingdom
- Use the real estate in Makkah and Madina, although you can’t own it
- Own private means of transportation or commercial use
- Use medical services and access to complete healthcare
- Use of banking facilities and such
Types of Saudi Residency
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia offers premium residency in basically two types. You can choose either one depending on your financial assets and need of use.
i. Permanent Residence (SP1): This is permanent residence and needs a one-time payment only. It costs about 800,000 SR or $213,000.
ii. Temporary Residence (SP2): This Saudi residence is valid only for one year. It costs about 100,000 SR or $26,000 and has to be payable yearly.
Conditions for Saudi Premium Residency
A whole new country is considering you for possible residency. Do you know what that means? It means that this residency scheme comes with certain conditions. What makes you eligible for an SP1 or SP2 residence? Here is a shortlist of requirements.
- A valid passport
- An official Saudi Iqamah
- At least legally 21 years of age
- A decent and clean criminal record with necessary proofs
- Medical records to validate the absence of any infectious or transmissible diseases
- If you apply within the Kingdom, you need to show that your current residency is legal
- Financial security through bona fide bank statements
Documents required for Saudi Premium Residency
The residency scheme requires valid documentation before it can proceed. As the law requires, the following documents can be attached in English or their Arabic counterparts.
- Saudi Iqama number, current or even previous ones
- Bank statements for the last two years
- Information about spouse and children
- Present address in addition to proof of National Address Registration
- Most recent salary document stamped by the employer and Chamber of Commerce
- Loan certificate from bank or lender and any guarantees involved
- Title Deed/ Real Estate Ownership documents certified by the relevant authorities
- Valid financial statements audited by an accountant
- Certificates proving ownership of the shares as approved by concerned jurisdiction
- Pictures of the applicant and family members
- Passport copy of applicant and family members
- Reproduction of all previous and stamped Saudi Arabia visas on the applicant’s passport in the last 15 years
How to apply for a Saudi Residency?
The Saudi Residency can be applied for online and has three simple steps. You can find these on their website too. Firstly, register as a candidate. Secondly, follow all the given steps as we have shortly explained below.
Step 1: Fill in the form
The is the first step of the registration procedure. You need to fill the form with all the necessary information. This includes name, passport number, details, email account, etc. You will need to verify your phone number and email address before your application can proceed.
Step 2: The application process
First of all, log in to your account. Select the Request Premium Residency option. You will need to enter the following details as well as the documents aforementioned.
- Application and applicant information
- Passport information
- Address and contact info
- Parents, spouse and children details
- Education and occupation details
- Financial competence information
- Travel history and visas
- General and additional information
Step 3: Residency grant
If or once your application is approved, you will receive an email from the ministry. In short, they will ask you to make the payment for the premium residency. Moreover, the ministry needs this amount within 30 days of the acceptance of the application.
Bear in mind, however, that a permanent residence does not make an applicant eligible for Saudi citizenship.
What can cancel a Premium Residency Status?
As Saudi law goes, certain transgressions can result in the termination of Saudi Residency (SP1 & SP2). These are:
- Failure to abide by rules and regulations laid down by the Kingdom
- Incorrect information on application form or discrepancy in documentation
- Any criminal activity that leads to imprisonment for two months or a fine of over 100,000 SR.
- Any judgment passed against you that requires you to be expelled from the state
- Giving up the residence by will.
- In case of death of applicant holder. The rights of residence are transferred to the spouse as a one-time thing only.
Once residency terminates, the ex-pat can remain in the country for only up to 60 days. That is unless the government concedes to an extension.
The Saudi premium residence is functional as soon as granted. In addition, the government does not require you to stay in the country for any minimum period of time. Furthermore, there is no particular taxing system for the residents either.
The Saudi government has long-term goals with this residency program. It aims to reduce the outflow of foreign remittances as well as increase investment in the country. They hope for the development of non-oil-based businesses. The Saudi Arabia Vision 2030 is going strong and is working to increase economic growth and, above all, nourish the state revenue.