Saudi Arabia Information Guide

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia - At the heart of the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is a conservative but hospitable kingdom where expats can escape the tourists and experience an ancient culture on its own terms. Find your own desert oasis and dive in the Red Sea.

Saudi Arabia - An Expatriate Guide

Climate and Weather
Getting There
Get International Moving Quotes
Speaking the Language
Visas, Residency, Immigration & Documentation
Currency and Cost of Living
Get Currency Transfer Quote
Get Health Insurance Quote
Business Culture
Healthcare and Medical Treatment
Social Security
Renting Property in Saudi Arabia
Buying Property in Saudi Arabia
Education and Schools
Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Water)
Communications (Telephone, Post, Internet, TV, Radio)
Driving and Public Transportation
Food and Drink
Leisure, Entertainment and Sports
Retiring and Pensions
Taking Your Pets
Expat groups in Saudi Arabia

Useful Links

Go to this country's expat discussion forum
Saudi Arabia property listings
Middle East job listings
Saudi Arabia videos and podcasts
Hotel search
Flight search
Advertise in this guide
Link to us
Tell a friend

Expat Financial Services - Trusted Partner Network

Currency Transfer

Pension Transfer (UK)


Saving Investing (US)


Tax Filing (US)

Tax Advice (UK)

Expat Focus Recommended Website Award - Saudi Arabia

Expat Focus Recommended Website
Susie's Big Adventure

An American Woman Moves to Saudi Arabia

Click here for previous winners

Expat Experiences of Life in Saudi Arabia (submit yours here)

Lynne Charnley

Arabian home

I worked in Riyadh and Dammam in Saudi Arabia from May 2008 to November 2009. Having been made redundant in the UK I was looking for work, and a friend of mine was acting as a consultant to a Saudi airline, he suggested me to the airline and it all happened from there...


I've been here 18 months now and have always driven myself. I hire a Toyota Corolla for SR2200 a month. Driving here is a little daunting at first, but you soon (within a few days) get used to the random flow of things. It's not true about foreigners being locked up in the event of an accident (unless of course you've been drinking or caused a very serious accident). However if you do have an accident, it's helpful to have an Arabic speaking friend you can call to translate to the police, as most police don't speak English...

SABB is really good here and quite helpful. The only thing I would say to you is that you actually can't open a bank account here until you have an Iqama (which is your residence permit) - it usually takes a few months (three they say) to obtain this inshallah! All your UK cards will work here in the ATMs but to be honest its cash rather than cards that they like here. If you haven't got a bank account most companies pay you a cheque which you sign, take to the bank and they will cash it for you...

Non Saudis cannot own a business unless you invest a huge lump sum. You can go along with a business as long as a Saudi sponsor registers it as a business (CR number). Sponsors will take a cut of course and you will face problems if you disagree. It is normal procedure to take the employee's passport. The family passports normally can stay with them. Families have to get onto the employee's iqama (residence permit). You need permission to travel outside the kingdom...

Read more experiences here or submit your own!

Got something to add? Spotted something which should be changed? Let us know!

Get free quotes for a range of services from our trusted partners


• Leading international insurers
• Unrivalled global medical networks
• World-class 24/7 customer service
• Flexible products to meet your needs

More info


• Best exchange rate guarantee
• No commission
• Same day payments available
• Dedicated, professional consultants
• All bank receiving charges covered

More info


• Advice for UK expat high-earners
• Also for foreign nationals paying UK tax
• Advice for expats and companies
• Over 14 years specialist experience

More info


• Lower rates than most US CPAs
• Over 25 years specialist experience
• Full-time expat tax professional
• For US citizens and foreign nationals

More info


• IRA/401k management
• Over 10 years specialist experience
• Investments customized for each client
• Specialist in US expat finances

More info


• Over 10 years specialist experience
• SIPPs, IRAs, 401ks and more
• Portfolio and investment management
• Offshore investment accounts

More info


• Wide selection of French mortgages
• Over 20 French mortgage lenders
• French banks with established presence
• Vast experience of property market

More info


• Apply for an international account
• Options to suit your needs
• Multi-currency accounts, savings accounts etc.
• Send and receive funds worldwide

More info