Saudi Arabia Business Visa

Old Apr 22nd 2009, 6:55 am
  #1  
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Default Saudi Arabia Business Visa

Hi All,

I have been offered a contract with a company in Saudi Arabia for 1 year and for some reasons the company cannot issue a work visa for me, instead they can issue a business visa and then later convert it to work visa. According to the company, the business visa can be extended up to six months.

I read some threads here about the business visa but I still have some questions:

1) Can I rent a car?
2) Can I open a bank account?
3) Can I rent an apartment?
4) Can I get internet connection or phone service?

Can anybody share his experience with business visa in Saudi Arabia?

Thanks in advance for the information
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Old Apr 22nd 2009, 7:01 am
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Default Re: Saudi Arabia Business Visa

Originally Posted by ayhz2008
Hi All,

I have been offered a contract with a company in Saudi Arabia for 1 year and for some reasons the company cannot issue a work visa for me, instead they can issue a business visa and then later convert it to work visa. According to the company, the business visa can be extended up to six months.

I read some threads here about the business visa but I still have some questions:

1) Can I rent a car?
2) Can I open a bank account?
3) Can I rent an apartment?
4) Can I get internet connection or phone service?

Can anybody share his experience with business visa in Saudi Arabia?

Thanks in advance for the information
Sorry, will leave answering your questions to those that know. However, why can't they issue you a work visa? No way I would go to Saudi, or anywhere in the ME, without the proper visa in place.
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Old Apr 22nd 2009, 7:02 am
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Default Re: Saudi Arabia Business Visa

Originally Posted by ayhz2008
Hi All,

I have been offered a contract with a company in Saudi Arabia for 1 year and for some reasons the company cannot issue a work visa for me, instead they can issue a business visa and then later convert it to work visa. According to the company, the business visa can be extended up to six months.

I read some threads here about the business visa but I still have some questions:

1) Can I rent a car?
2) Can I open a bank account?
3) Can I rent an apartment?
4) Can I get internet connection or phone service?

Can anybody share his experience with business visa in Saudi Arabia?

Thanks in advance for the information
1 - yes
2 - no
3 - not in your own name, you need your firm to do it
4 - yes, with the apartment, not in your own name


You can 'work' there under a 6-month business visa (as a 'consultant') but you have to leave the country at least once every Arabic month. I did it for over a year.
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Old Apr 22nd 2009, 7:28 am
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Default Re: Saudi Arabia Business Visa

Originally Posted by The Dean
1 - yes
2 - no
3 - not in your own name, you need your firm to do it
4 - yes, with the apartment, not in your own name


You can 'work' there under a 6-month business visa (as a 'consultant') but you have to leave the country at least once every Arabic month. I did it for over a year.
Well then, there you go. It's all good and I knew I should have gone to bed 30minutes ago.....
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Old Apr 22nd 2009, 12:23 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Arabia Business Visa

Thanks for the information.

"The Dean":

Did you feel any other restrictions beside not able to open a bank account or rent an apartment?

Thanks
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Old Apr 22nd 2009, 2:52 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Arabia Business Visa

Originally Posted by ayhz2008
Thanks for the information.

"The Dean":

Did you feel any other restrictions beside not able to open a bank account or rent an apartment?

Thanks
The 'no bank account' thing meant I had to use a colleague's account to do transfers if I wanted to send money home.......

Ask the employer to pay your salary in a cheque made payable to someone else..... then wait for it to clear their account...... then get a 'special' exchange rate from Treasury because you aren't 'staff'......

Basically - I had to become a money launderer once a month.

God news though.......... nobody cared, and nobody ever recommended an alternative way.

(It was a bank by the way, as you've probably realised)
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Old Apr 22nd 2009, 2:59 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Arabia Business Visa

Thanks again.


Was it easy for you to convert the business visa to work visa?
were there any restrictions on going to hospitals and visiting doctors with business visa?

To be honest, I am very worried about going to Saudi Arabia with this type of visa. From your experience, do you advice people to do it?

Regards
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Old Apr 25th 2009, 9:58 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Arabia Business Visa

Originally Posted by ayhz2008
Thanks again.


Was it easy for you to convert the business visa to work visa?
were there any restrictions on going to hospitals and visiting doctors with business visa?

To be honest, I am very worried about going to Saudi Arabia with this type of visa. From your experience, do you advice people to do it?

Regards
know quite a few people on this type and, to be honest, envy them for it. (leaving the kingdom every month for the beer & bacon zone paid for by the company... gee damn... what a pity...) the only hassle anyone's ever complained about is the money bit. some do as what The Dean has described, others just get a check made out to cash and then wire it immediately to their non-saudi bank.

you can get a mobile and mobile-internet connection here with just your passport too, and prepaid accounts are normal for both. (about SAR350 per month for unlimited mobile broadband... very easy). as for the apartment bit, that's for you to negotiate with your company but would recommend you insist that they get an apartment on a compound in their name for you.

with the car, you can rent from one of the big chains with your o/s license and passport, no fuss. (about SAR2k a month upwards for a little pocket rocket thing)

the difficult visa situation you'd like to avoid in the magic kingdom is the work permit-held passport-single exit/entry visa. this is where you have a work/residents permit (iqama), your employer holds your passport (which you exchange your iqama for everytime you need it), and you have to to buy an exit/entry visa (SAR200 - i think) every time you wish to leave the country (say the beer & bacon zone for a weekend...) this is a rarer thing these days as most employers have relaxed quite a bit, but am in this situation myself and it sucks! (can't say enough bad things about it. the idea of a business visa sounds glorious to me!)
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Old Apr 29th 2009, 5:39 am
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Default Re: Saudi Arabia Business Visa

I am also traveling on this type of visa. A few questions if anyone can help:

1. If i get paid into my UK based bank monthly, will i get taxed on this?
2. Is it easy to access funds in the kingdom?

Any advice on the best way to go about it? I have got a meeting with the directors of the company i am heading over there with, would like to get this sorted out
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Old Apr 30th 2009, 1:33 am
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Default Re: Saudi Arabia Business Visa

Originally Posted by scoot
I am also traveling on this type of visa. A few questions if anyone can help:

1. If i get paid into my UK based bank monthly, will i get taxed on this?
2. Is it easy to access funds in the kingdom?

Any advice on the best way to go about it? I have got a meeting with the directors of the company i am heading over there with, would like to get this sorted out
get yourself an offshore account (www.offshore.hsbc.com) as i'm not entirely clear on the UK tax implications. (also, big sums of money may raise eyebrows). you may want to send a PM to Meow or Norm_UK as they're the resident dosh gurus.

in terms of accessing funds, most atms take maestro, visa, et al. Saudi Investment Bank atm's and al naj... (forgot the rest) tend not to work so well.
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Old Jun 13th 2009, 4:02 am
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Default Re: Saudi Arabia Business Visa

Hi are you able to change Visit visa to Work or Iqama and how much time it took.. I got offer similar offer to work on visit and company will convert to Work visa in Riyadh. But I have heared its not possible, i come back and then go on work visa... could you please explain
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Old Aug 9th 2009, 9:19 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Arabia Business Visa

Hi Dean,

Sorry to bother you, but do you know anybody who was with kids there, do the schools give admission to kids while the father is on this sort of Business Visa.
I will be thankful for your reply

Regards

Nadir
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Old Aug 10th 2009, 4:08 am
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Default Re: Saudi Arabia Business Visa

Originally Posted by nadirnawab
Hi Dean,

Sorry to bother you, but do you know anybody who was with kids there, do the schools give admission to kids while the father is on this sort of Business Visa.
I will be thankful for your reply

Regards

Nadir
All of these business visit visas are employee only - no family will be admitted, and forget schooling as 'officially' you won't be there for very long, will you?
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Old Aug 10th 2009, 4:22 am
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Default Re: Saudi Arabia Business Visa

Hi Dean,

They are sending me a family visa tomorrow and according to the agent it is valid for a year and that is the duration of the contract, and according to the agent, i can get a Villa, admit kids to schools and even open a bank account. Is he bluffing...?
Please comment

Regards
Nadir
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Old Aug 10th 2009, 8:54 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Arabia Business Visa

Originally Posted by nadirnawab
Hi Dean,

They are sending me a family visa tomorrow and according to the agent it is valid for a year and that is the duration of the contract, and according to the agent, i can get a Villa, admit kids to schools and even open a bank account. Is he bluffing...?
Please comment

Regards
Nadir
That sounds to me like an 'iqama', not a business visit visa. The iqama is in effect your proof of Saudi residential status, so you will be treated as being there 'full-time'.

Check with your contact to see if you will be given an 'iqama' - if yes, then all will be fine, with schools etc.
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