Pre-Departure Orientation KSA

Things to Know Before Travelling to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Work

Maintaining Proper Etiquette:

The work week in KSA runs from Sunday to Thursday. Friday and Saturday are generally considered as the weekend. Men and women must dress modestly in public. Ensure that hands, shoulders, knees, and feet are covered appropriately, especially in public spaces. Consumption of alcohol and narcotic drugs is prohibited in the Kingdom, so is gambling. Maintain public order and refrain from displaying affection. Do not publicly consume food and water during the Holy month of Ramadan, as it is considered disrespectful towards those who are fasting. Maintain utmost respect for the culture and religion of the country. Shops and businesses might be closed on Fridays and during prayer times. Be respectful towards women and children.

Documents needed to travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:

Your employer will begin the work visa process. He/She will register with the Ministry of Labor, and later with the relevant embassy, to issue a work visa for the employee. Once the visa has been issued, the worker may travel to Saudi Arabia, along with a valid passport, and original work contract in Arabic. This visa will be valid for a duration between 14-60 days. You may require a police clearance certificate. Application for the Iqama (residence permit) is filed after you enter Saudi Arabia.

Travelling to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has restrictions on items that can be brought into the country by land, air and sea. You must declare certain items at customs, such as currency that is valued higher than 60,000 riyals, large amounts of tobacco products, and medicines for personal use. A doctor’s prescription must be provided for all medication that is brought into the country. It is prohibited to carry alcohol (and related products), narcotics, gambling equipment, nutmeg and its derivatives, and media containing indecent material (i.e., if its content contradicts Islamic values). All media brought into the country is subject to censorship. To avoid any penalties, you must consult the local Saudi embassy authorities. You can find a full list of prohibited items on the official customs website.

Health Insurance:

All private employers must provide health insurance for their employees and their employees’ dependents. Establishments that do not provide health insurance will be fined heavily.

Phone plans:

There are three telecom operators in Saudi Arabia providing both prepaid and postpaid SIM services. These are STC, Mobily and Zain. Virgin Mobile, Lebara and Friendi all operate on STC, Mobily and Zain networks. You must show a photo ID to buy a SIM card. Foreign residents are limited to purchasing 2 prepaid SIM cards. Do not purchase SIM cards in someone else’s name, as these are illegal and can be switched off when detected.

Bank Accounts:

To open a bank account, workers need their Iqama (residence permit), a letter from their employer clearly stating their name, iqama (residence permit) and salary, their original passport, and a mobile number. Having a bank account makes it easy and convenient to make international transfers, including transfers to your home country.

Getting help:

In case of emergency, contact the following:

Emergency: 112

Police: 999

Traffic Police: 993

Ambulance: 997

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