Home » Saudi Arabia » Moving To Saudi Arabia – What To Expect As A New Expat

Moving To Saudi Arabia – What To Expect As A New Expat

Moving to Saudi Arabia can be quite intimidating for anyone who has spent most of their life in a Western or liberal democratic country. It’s important that you understand the reasons behind the conservative laws and culture before you move to the country however. Being the birthplace of Islam, with its holiest sites, the nation is extremely strict when it comes to religious traditions and practices. The draconian laws and harsh punishments meted out for any violation can deter most expats, but the fact is most expats don’t visit the kingdom for its vibrant night life or for the welcoming culture! The oil-rich nation offers expats an opportunity to make a fortune with hefty salaries that are tax-free. Most expats moving to Saudi understand that they must trade off civil and personal liberties for huge financial gains, and in so doing accept the responsibilities of life in the kingdom.To better prepare yourself for a move to Saudi Arabia, here are some aspects of life that you should familiarize yourself with:

Residential Facilities

Most expats, especially westerners, live in gated compounds and colonies that have high security. These compounds house apartments and villas that have all of the luxuries that one is accustomed to, and life within these compounds is also a lot freer. You can dress more comfortably, consume alcohol, and will have plenty of other expats to socialize with. Weekend barbecues and parties within such colonies will make you feel quite at home. On the downside, accommodation in such communities can be extremely expensive, so try and find employment with companies that have provisions for rent allowance.

Weather

Saudi Arabia is dominated by a dessert landscape, so be prepared for the extreme heat. The change in climate can be particularly hard to cope with if you come from a region with colder climates like Canada or one of the Scandinavian countries. The weather can be extremely hot and humid, with summer temperatures in the day soaring as high as 122° F or 50° C. Keep in mind that you can’t beat the heat by stripping down to your undergarments and diving into the public pool!

Social Interaction


Get Our Best Articles Every Month!

Get our free moving abroad email course AND our top stories in your inbox every month


Unsubscribe any time. We respect your privacy - read our privacy policy.


Your social life will be governed by local cultural norms and traditions, as these traditions are codified into the law of the land and failure to comply can get you fined, jailed or even lashed. If you are single, you can forget about having a romantic life and going out on dates. People of the opposite sex cannot socialize in public or be seen together, that is unless you have a marriage license. Religious police can stop you and demand to see your marriage license. Unmarried couples who are caught fraternizing can be jailed or worse.

Daily Prayers

Adjust to the local religious practices and schedule your activities taking into account the prayer timings. Prayers occur 5 times during a day and shops and businesses have to remain shut during these prayers. This includes any and all kinds of business establishments, whether banks and malls or gyms and restaurants. Customers or establishment owners found to be in violation of the law can be jailed. Fortunately, hospitals aren’t forced to shut during prayer timings! If you are a Muslim expat, keep in mind that prayers are mandatory and if you are found engaging in any other activity or not praying during prayer time you can be hauled off to prison.

Web Censorship

Saudi Arabia has some of the heaviest censorship in the world and you will find that plenty of sites are blocked in the country as they are deemed immoral. This doesn’t just include porn sites, but it also includes dating sites and any sites that are seen as promoting values incompatible with Islam or against the Saudi monarchy. While you can get around the censorship by using a VPN to access blocked content, make sure that you exercise caution and censor yourself a bit. Avoid posting or writing anything even mildly critical of the kingdom or life in the kingdom while living in the country.

Life in Saudi Arabia is especially challenging for women because of the severe restrictions that impede movement and socialization. The constant scrutiny and surveillance from religious police can also be disconcerting, but most expats get through their stay without much trouble simply by abiding by the laws. If you can get past the restrictions and limitations of life in Saudi Arabia it truly can be a land of opportunity.


Latest Videos

In this short video, we dive into the significant health care updates and changes happening globally in 2024. From Germany's insurance cost adjustments to Cyprus's renewed COVID-19 precautions, we cover the essential news you need to know.  Germany's Health Insurance Update:  Starting in 2024, residents in Germany will see a slight increase in their health insurance costs, with a 0.1% rise to a maximum of 1.7%. This adjustment aims to expand coverage for medical care not currently included in statutory health insurance, such as select dental treatments, IVF, and early cancer screenings.  COVID-19 Measures Reintroduced in Cyprus:  With over 3000 new COVID-19 cases, Cyprus is stepping up its game by reintroducing health measures. Requirements now include proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry into various facilities, emphasizing the importance of vaccination, especially for the elderly, to combat the evolving virus strains.  Free Health Trials in Trieste, Italy:  Trieste launches an initiative for free health screenings, including echocardiograms and blood tests, focusing on preventive care against non-communicable diseases. This move underscores the city's commitment to improving public health through early detection and prevention.  Spain's New Health Advice App:  Madrid introduces a groundbreaking app offering reliable health advice to counteract the widespread misinformation online. This app, part of the 'Madrid Te Cuida' initiative, will guide users to accurate information, from diet tips to medical queries, ensuring the advice is vetted by health professionals.  Expat Satisfaction with Healthcare in Mexico:  A study reveals that expat retirees in Mexico are largely content with the healthcare quality and costs, with many citing significant savings compared to the United States without compromising on care quality. This insight sheds light on the growing trend of healthcare tourism and relocation for medical reasons.  Stay tuned as we unpack these updates, providing you with the insights and implications of these healthcare changes. Whether it's the impact on your wallet or the quality of care you can expect, we've got you covered in this comprehensive overview of health care in 2024. Don't forget to like, share, and subscribe for more health news around the globe!

In this short video, we dive into the significant health care updates and changes happening globally in 2024. From Germany's insurance cost adjustments to Cyprus's renewed COVID-19 precautions, we cover the essential news you need to know.

Germany's Health Insurance Update:

Starting in 2024, residents in Germany will see a slight increase in their health insurance costs, with a 0.1% rise to a maximum of 1.7%. This adjustment aims to expand coverage for medical care not currently included in statutory health insurance, such as select dental treatments, IVF, and early cancer screenings.

COVID-19 Measures Reintroduced in Cyprus:

With over 3000 new COVID-19 cases, Cyprus is stepping up its game by reintroducing health measures. Requirements now include proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry into various facilities, emphasizing the importance of vaccination, especially for the elderly, to combat the evolving virus strains.

Free Health Trials in Trieste, Italy:

Trieste launches an initiative for free health screenings, including echocardiograms and blood tests, focusing on preventive care against non-communicable diseases. This move underscores the city's commitment to improving public health through early detection and prevention.

Spain's New Health Advice App:

Madrid introduces a groundbreaking app offering reliable health advice to counteract the widespread misinformation online. This app, part of the 'Madrid Te Cuida' initiative, will guide users to accurate information, from diet tips to medical queries, ensuring the advice is vetted by health professionals.

Expat Satisfaction with Healthcare in Mexico:

A study reveals that expat retirees in Mexico are largely content with the healthcare quality and costs, with many citing significant savings compared to the United States without compromising on care quality. This insight sheds light on the growing trend of healthcare tourism and relocation for medical reasons.

Stay tuned as we unpack these updates, providing you with the insights and implications of these healthcare changes. Whether it's the impact on your wallet or the quality of care you can expect, we've got you covered in this comprehensive overview of health care in 2024. Don't forget to like, share, and subscribe for more health news around the globe!

YouTube Video UCB21b-C4O2aXm7H18_GsXMQ_nC_Fs6gU22U

Expat Focus International Healthcare Update January 2024

Expat Focus 31 January 2024 10:36 am

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Important: No API Key Entered.

Many features are not available without adding an API Key. Please go to the YouTube Feed settings page to add an API key after following these instructions.