KSA Job Offer

Old Nov 30th 2020, 8:23 am
  #76  
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Default Re: KSA Job Offer

Hi Larry,

Of course. Below is my experience only. I believe if you have a govt role and not private the process can be different (less cumbersome). Hope the below helps. I intend to create a mini video series and share on YouTube so that other travellers/expats can benefit from the knowledge I have gained.

The below process occurs once you have signed a contract either in full or in part.

1. SAMA Approval - My new role is a senior position in Financial Services as a result I needed approval from SAMA (Saudi Financial Controller: Central Bank & Regulator).
For this process I had to fill in a Fit and Proper Form. This is a lengthy 16+ page form. Requires education and work history and then a series of conduct statements that you need to commit to i.e. I will not commit fraud etc...

2. Once that's been approved your employer can proceed with issuing you a detailed contract if not already done so. A copy of which needs to go to the Chamber of Commerce (I think) for stamping - this is needed later on.
2b. In addition to your work contract your employer will need the Saudi Foreign Ministry to approve the visa process - two separate documents.

3. You should now be in a position to apply for you Visa. New rules issued a few years back means this can only be done by Visa Agency. My employer recommended gulfvisa.com and I can say they were pretty good. Had a decent website with the steps clearly spelled out - I've copied those below. The actual order of doing things is different. it actually goes: 8/9/6/7 then the rest you just print and fill and send to take to them if you are near London.
  1. Passport (must be valid for more than 6 months + two blank pages facing each other).
  2. Three passport sized photos (must be recently taken + have a white background).
  3. Complete the ‘Saudi Work Visa application form' (available on page 2 of our Pack).
  4. Read and sign the Declaration form (available on pages 3 & 4 of our Pack).
  5. We need your Saudi Work Visa Number and Saudi employer ID.
  6. Police Certifice ACRO (see our Pack for more details and link to online form). The form must then be stamped by the British Foreign Ministry (FCO) and the Saudi Embassy - we offer this service.
  7. Saudi Medical Form completed by a UK doctor (this involves some medical tests; either your GP or our doctor needs to fill the form on page 5 of the Pack). This form must then be stamped by the British Foreign Ministry and the Saudi Embassy - we offer this service.
  8. A copy of your degree/certificate that relates to your Saudi Work Visa Job Title. IMPORTANT: University degrees must be stamped first from the Saudi Culture Attaché, then the Solicitor, FCO and finally the Saudi Embassy before we submit your Saudi Work Visa application to the Saudi embassy. Other documents only need Solicitor, FCO and then the Saudi Embassy. We offer these stamping services - click here.
  9. A copy of your employment contract and if the Saudi employer is a private company it must be stamped from the Saudi Foreign Ministry.

Hints and Tips:

Step 8 Degree Attestation - Be ready to pull your hair out. Don't know why we are issued degree certificates if no one accepts them as proof of study. I digress. To attest your degree (if required) you need a copy to be stamped first by the Saudi Cultural Attaché (UKSACB). This is a painful process. To verify your degree they require your university to email then confirming:
- when you attended
- the course
- full or part time
- Campus/Non-Campus

Annoyingly, a lot of Universities now work with a third party HEDD, who manage these requests. The Saudi Cultural Attaché do no accept third party replies and universities will no longer issue them, catch-22. After a few days of useless back and forth I took it upon myself to email the Principle/COO of my University to step in. A University should open doors for their Alumni not close them. To their credit they replied the very next day. It then took the UKSACB in excess of 5 weeks to read an email. In fact I had to reach out to everyone associated with them on linked. Thankfully someone did and in a couple days my degree was stamped by UKSACB. Your degree then goes to the FCO, Solicitor and Saudi Embassy for attestation. This is done in a few days.

Step 9 Contract - Make sure your employer has had a copy of your contract stamped otherwise this step could add unwarranted delays. It's one of those steps that can be done in parallel with earlier steps.

Step 6 ACRO Certificate - This is a report of your criminal history. I paid for the expediated service and extra copy. One I had sent directly to GulfVisa and one for myself, just in case. I have no criminal records, not even a speeding fine so this was not an issue for me.

Step 7 Medical - The Saudi Govt require a specific medical to be carried out which includes a detailed Doctors examination (eye, hearing, breathing, movement, urine test for protein enzymes (liver health), A Blood Test for diseases and diabetes, and an x-ray for chest/back abnormalities. I used GulfVisa to arrange this at Harley Medical in London but other places do provide this service. I got my results in a couple days - Fit as a fiddle, thankfully.

With all the steps complete GulfVisa will submit all your documents to the Saudi Embassy for approval. I got my visa in just a couple days and my passport was posted back to me the very next day.

Hope that helps. This was all of memory. As I said I will create a video plus other useful bits about the whole expat process and hopefully others will benefit.

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Old Nov 30th 2020, 8:26 am
  #77  
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Default Re: KSA Job Offer

Originally Posted by Trailing_Hubby View Post
Two days quarantine, then after a negative test you are good to go. You’ll need a PCR test to fly too.

The wife should get her Iqama next week, but it’s a bit random. Some people she knows have been waiting months, although I’m not sure if that is an internal thing.
That's perfect. Tawuniya are arranging for my PCR test on the 16th. How did you find the two apps they require you to download: Tawakalna and Tattamam?

The Fit-to-Fly certificate was a real pain. I fly Monday afternoon so to get a service that operated over the weekend was tricky and very costly. I have one, lets hope I test negative.

I've heard mixed reviews on the Iqama. I hope it doesn't take long because I am without my wife and son, and don't want it to take 3 months before I see them. I'll suck it up if it is but I hope not.
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Old Nov 30th 2020, 11:19 am
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Default Re: KSA Job Offer

Hi HB89,

Thank you for this. This is super helpful, appreciate it.
I got some questions on the each steps:

6. Police ACRO: what is this? do we need to go somewhere or is this all remotely done?
7. Saudi Medical Form: How long does the medical process take? (ie. submit the form, wait 2 days, go to a clinic with whole fam for the checkups?)
8. How time consuming is this? can I jump the jump to get this done before the offer? what is the cost of this and is it expense back?

Thank so much again.
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Old Nov 30th 2020, 12:17 pm
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Default Re: KSA Job Offer

Originally Posted by larryson View Post
Hi HB89,

Thank you for this. This is super helpful, appreciate it.
I got some questions on the each steps:

6. Police ACRO: what is this? do we need to go somewhere or is this all remotely done?
7. Saudi Medical Form: How long does the medical process take? (ie. submit the form, wait 2 days, go to a clinic with whole fam for the checkups?)
8. How time consuming is this? can I jump the jump to get this done before the offer? what is the cost of this and is it expense back?

Thank so much again.

No problem, gad it was helpful.

6. This is an online form you fill in to request the ACRO report/certificate. It's a report on your criminal record i.e. have you ever been arrested/charged with a crime. GulfVisa put together a short document with all links to forms. Worth giving them an email [email protected].
7. Medical process takes 45min. Depends on waiting times. I first met the doctor who did his checks, then he pointed me towards the x-ray department and then finally I went to the phlebotomist for blood sample.
8. I don't think you can start the visa process without the pre-visa steps outlined. One of the letters your employer has to get stamped by the Saudi Labour Ministry is a letter instructing your degree attestation. So you'll need to wait for this. I would speak to GulfVisa and see what they say.

If you have a Govt based job you will be able to get your family a visa at the same time as your work visa. However, if it's like mine and you are working in the private sector you have to get a visa first. Fly out to Saudi. Apply for your Iqama and then apply for your family visa. I haven't gone through this latter process yet but will share my experience when I do. From what I read it's at least a couple months process.
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Old Dec 1st 2020, 7:50 am
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Default Re: KSA Job Offer

Originally Posted by HB89 View Post
Step 8 Degree Attestation - Be ready to pull your hair out. Don't know why we are issued degree certificates if no one accepts them as proof of study. I digress. To attest your degree (if required) you need a copy to be stamped first by the Saudi Cultural Attaché (UKSACB). This is a painful process. To verify your degree they require your university to email then confirming:
- when you attended
- the course
- full or part time
- Campus/Non-Campus

Annoyingly, a lot of Universities now work with a third party HEDD, who manage these requests. The Saudi Cultural Attaché do no accept third party replies and universities will no longer issue them, catch-22. After a few days of useless back and forth I took it upon myself to email the Principle/COO of my University to step in. A University should open doors for their Alumni not close them. To their credit they replied the very next day. It then took the UKSACB in excess of 5 weeks to read an email. In fact I had to reach out to everyone associated with them on linked. Thankfully someone did and in a couple days my degree was stamped by UKSACB. Your degree then goes to the FCO, Solicitor and Saudi Embassy for attestation. This is done in a few days.
.
The reason is simple: in the GCC there's loads of people (often Managers) who have used fake degree certificates to secure employment. Its that bad, that some countries such as Qatar no longer accept degree certificates from online or distance based institutions such as Open University - genuine degree or not. So you could argue a robust method of degree verification is required.

But I'm surprised the Saudi authorities haven't used a more easy/streamlined process. For example with Qatar and UAE, they require you get your degree certificate legalised by the FCO office first (if sending a photocopy then this needs to be stamped by a notary such as a solictor). You then send the original/photocopy certificate over to their respective Embassies/Consulates in London to get it stamped. That's it. The whole process takes about 2-3 weeks as I've done this myself a few times over the years.

https://www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised

Last edited by psychopomp1; Dec 1st 2020 at 7:56 am.
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Old Dec 1st 2020, 8:28 am
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Default Re: KSA Job Offer

Thanks, and I totally understand the need to verify. I was more annoyed at the fact that 5 weeks had gone by without any communication what so ever. It took a Legal Director who I connected with on LinkedIn to take out time from his busy day to get me an update. Thankfully his intervention resulted in my degree being attested the next day.

A more streamlined process with more communication (that can largely be automated) would do wonders.
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Old Dec 2nd 2020, 10:54 am
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Default Re: KSA Job Offer

Anyone in Riyadh that can share advice on the following financial questions:

1. How much cash should I convert from GBP to SAR until my Iqama and bank account is set up?
2. I won't have cash for weeks so will need to use card, any creative ways to avoid bank fees for using card overseas?
3. Which Bank and Credit Card is best to use to build up airmiles to use on Saudi Airlines/BA and Emirates? Ideally one card that earns me points or airmiles on my spending but if that has to be split 2 cards then fine I just don't want to have millions of cards earning me a little bit across each airline but never enough to get freebies/upgrades?
4. Best bank/process to move money to my UK bank account for mortage and other bills etc.

thanks,
Hanan
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Old Dec 3rd 2020, 9:56 am
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Default Re: KSA Job Offer

1) I wouldn't carry wads of cash everywhere (this really applies worldwide not just in KSA), just have around SAR 500-1000 in cash with you at all times for general use and for large purchases pay by card whereever you can.

2) Before you leave UK, open a Starling bank account as their debit card offers free cash withdrawals and purchases anywhere in the world with 0% commission charged. As a backup, I would also open a Barclaycard Rewards credit card. This also gives you worldwide free cash withdrawals and purchases (no commission charged) and if you pay off your balance in full every month, then there is no interest charged on overseas cash withdrawals.. Obviously these cards will take a backburner once you open a local bank account, but they will help you out massively initially.

3) Sorry no idea.

4) I'm assuming (like in most places) that local banks offer very poor rates when converting from SAR to GBP. In which case you might be better off using a local money exchange bureau to send a GBP bank draft or SWIFT GBP bank transfer. Maybe ask western work colleagues for suggestions.
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Old Dec 3rd 2020, 10:48 am
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Default Re: KSA Job Offer

Originally Posted by psychopomp1 View Post
1) I wouldn't carry wads of cash everywhere (this really applies worldwide not just in KSA), just have around SAR 500-1000 in cash with you at all times for general use and for large purchases pay by card whereever you can.

2) Before you leave UK, open a Starling bank account as their debit card offers free cash withdrawals and purchases anywhere in the world with 0% commission charged. As a backup, I would also open a Barclaycard Rewards credit card. This also gives you worldwide free cash withdrawals and purchases (no commission charged) and if you pay off your balance in full every month, then there is no interest charged on overseas cash withdrawals.. Obviously these cards will take a backburner once you open a local bank account, but they will help you out massively initially.

3) Sorry no idea.

4) I'm assuming (like in most places) that local banks offer very poor rates when converting from SAR to GBP. In which case you might be better off using a local money exchange bureau to send a GBP bank draft or SWIFT GBP bank transfer. Maybe ask western work colleagues for suggestions.
Thanks for the great advice. I bank with Barclays and HSBC, so should hopefully get this set up soon.
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Old Dec 15th 2020, 6:16 am
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Question Re: KSA Job Offer

I arrived in Riyadh last night. So far so good, but not too much to go on.

I am undergoing my quarantine (min 2 days then PCR test). I am trying to register for the tattaman and tawakkalna app but I can't get a verification code sent to my mobile. I am on roaming and can make/receive phone calls so no reason why I shouldn't get the verification code. The app lets you select UK (+44) and i've tried with and without the leading 0. Any advice?
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Old Dec 15th 2020, 8:02 am
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Default Re: KSA Job Offer

Originally Posted by HB89 View Post
I arrived in Riyadh last night. So far so good, but not too much to go on.

I am undergoing my quarantine (min 2 days then PCR test). I am trying to register for the tattaman and tawakkalna app but I can't get a verification code sent to my mobile. I am on roaming and can make/receive phone calls so no reason why I shouldn't get the verification code. The app lets you select UK (+44) and i've tried with and without the leading 0. Any advice?
On my tawwakalna homepage there's a picture of me with my Iqama number, so I'm guessing that you have to be a resident. It's the same picture that is on all my ID here, linked to my Absher account and the same registered phone number.

If you're a new arrival with no iqama then that's probably why.
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Old Dec 15th 2020, 8:14 am
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Default Re: KSA Job Offer

I've had to give my cousin's number and registered. The Tattaman app has my photo that was taken at the airport - I looked scruffy!
I used my Border ID (translated from arabic to english by my cousin).
So now I can observe quarantine as advised by the authorities.

Once out I will proceed asap to get a mobile number and my iqama.
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Old Dec 15th 2020, 8:16 am
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Default Re: KSA Job Offer

Originally Posted by HB89 View Post
I arrived in Riyadh last night. So far so good, but not too much to go on.
Enjoy the experience! It's quite an alluring place. I kind of miss it
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Old Dec 15th 2020, 11:41 am
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Default Re: KSA Job Offer

HB99 - your employer should be doing all that for you !

Maybe I was lucky to have competent and benevolent employers ? Saudi Arabian Airlines and then KFUPM.
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Old Dec 15th 2020, 2:19 pm
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Default Re: KSA Job Offer

Originally Posted by HB89 View Post
I've had to give my cousin's number and registered. The Tattaman app has my photo that was taken at the airport - I looked scruffy!
I used my Border ID (translated from arabic to english by my cousin).
So now I can observe quarantine as advised by the authorities.

Once out I will proceed asap to get a mobile number and my iqama.
You'll get to know that photo well. I'm on the same one from 8 years, 2 jobs, and numerous IDs ago.
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