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Questions about moving to Saudi - from a first timer

Questions about moving to Saudi - from a first timer

Old Jul 12th 2023, 6:37 pm
  #1  
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Default Questions about moving to Saudi - from a first timer

Hi all,

I have been offered a role in Yanbu Industrial City and had a few questions that I was unable to find details on elsewhere. Appreciate hearing from anyone who has already worked in Saudi Arabia before.

- Is it better to take my own phone to SA and get a local SIM, buy a phone in SA, or it doesn't really make any difference?
- What are the usual trading hours like for things like supermarkets, etc? Is there many options in the way of online shopping from sites like Amazon? I'll be taking my wife and 2 year old daughter with me and daughter is quite fussy with her food so it would be nice to be able to order some of her favourite snacks so she has a few things she is familiar with.
- What are the pharmacies like? I would imagine that most things that you can get over-the-counter in the West would be available except for maybe anything addictive?
- I am planning on buying a car when I arrive. Is this a difficult process regarding insurance/registration?
- Will my wife be able to drive on her international drivers licence?
- What is the acceptable business attire like? I'm an engineer so my role with be office based 50% and site based 50%. Would jeans and a business shirt be acceptable for office attendance?
- When getting the spouse visa, did your spouse need to apply for it from their home country? We are Australian but my wife will be in Sri Lanka until my probation is up but unsure if she can complete the visa requirements remotely when the time comes.

Sorry, I know some of these question may seem stupid, but just want to begin preparing as best I can.

Appreciate any information/advice/stories people are able to share.
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Old Jul 13th 2023, 7:55 am
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Default Re: Questions about moving to Saudi - from a first timer

Can answer a few:

Phone - own phone is fine. We bought new iPhones so we could keep our physical UK SIM and get a Saudi eSIM, which makes it easy to switch between the two. Makes no odds either way really.

Don't know about Yanbu but the bigger supermarkets will be open most of the time. Reduced hours on Friday probably. Amazon is good and often offer free international shipping from UK and US. Plenty of stuff available online.

Business attire company dependent I guess, but we wear whatever business casual stuff we did in the UK.
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Old Jul 17th 2023, 11:41 am
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Default Re: Questions about moving to Saudi - from a first timer

Originally Posted by Trailing_Hubby
Can answer a few:

Phone - own phone is fine. We bought new iPhones so we could keep our physical UK SIM and get a Saudi eSIM, which makes it easy to switch between the two. Makes no odds either way really.

Don't know about Yanbu but the bigger supermarkets will be open most of the time. Reduced hours on Friday probably. Amazon is good and often offer free international shipping from UK and US. Plenty of stuff available online.

Business attire company dependent I guess, but we wear whatever business casual stuff we did in the UK.

Thanks for the details, much appreciated. My wife will be happy that amazon delivery is available!
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Old Jul 20th 2023, 6:40 pm
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Default Re: Questions about moving to Saudi - from a first timer

See below
Originally Posted by Daveoz
Hi all,

I have been offered a role in Yanbu Industrial City and had a few questions that I was unable to find details on elsewhere. Appreciate hearing from anyone who has already worked in Saudi Arabia before.

- Is it better to take my own phone to SA and get a local SIM, buy a phone in SA, or it doesn't really make any difference?
You can bring your own phone and use it.
- What are the usual trading hours like for things like supermarkets, etc?
Most of the time except Friday around noon time
Is there many options in the way of online shopping from sites like Amazon?
There are many but normally the quality is not so good (local retailers, including Amazon SA)
I'll be taking my wife and 2 year old daughter with me and daughter is quite fussy with her food so it would be nice to be able to order some of her favourite snacks so she has a few things she is familiar with.
You can find many variety of foods.
- What are the pharmacies like? I would imagine that most things that you can get over-the-counter in the West would be available except for maybe anything addictive?
Unless it is something like paracetamol or cosmetic stuff you need a prescription.
- I am planning on buying a car when I arrive. Is this a difficult process regarding insurance/registration?

It is tricky to buy an old one as they are overpriced and the quality is poor. Better to buy a new one. Registration is easy as well as the insurance though it is expensive.
- Will my wife be able to drive on her international drivers licence?
NO unless she is on a visit and not to stay. If you are on work/residence visa you need to have a SA license.
- What is the acceptable business attire like? I'm an engineer so my role with be office based 50% and site based 50%. Would jeans and a business shirt be acceptable for office attendance?
Yes.
- When getting the spouse visa, did your spouse need to apply for it from their home country? We are Australian but my wife will be in Sri Lanka until my probation is up but unsure if she can complete the visa requirements remotely when the time comes.
Some people come together as a whole family. It all depends on your employer, your job and your passport
Sorry, I know some of these question may seem stupid, but just want to begin preparing as best I can.

Appreciate any information/advice/stories people are able to share.
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Old Oct 7th 2023, 2:57 pm
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Default Re: Questions about moving to Saudi - from a first timer

I am looking to relocate soon to Riyadh and wanted to take some personal effects with me including a couple of electrical appliances, but read somewhere that they need some kind of certification? Just wondered if anyone has any experience with this? Also wanted to take some of my favorite coffee beans along. Is that allowed?
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Old Oct 7th 2023, 3:01 pm
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Default Re: Questions about moving to Saudi - from a first timer

Originally Posted by alfasierra
I am looking to relocate soon to Riyadh and wanted to take some personal effects with me including a couple of electrical appliances, but read somewhere that they need some kind of certification? Just wondered if anyone has any experience with this? Also wanted to take some of my favorite coffee beans along. Is that allowed?
Not sure what appliances you are looking to bring, but I brought my laptop, phone and some speakers and didn't require any kind of certification. Just brought a universal adaptor and was fine. I have not heard of anyone else needing this either.
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Old Oct 7th 2023, 3:12 pm
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Default Re: Questions about moving to Saudi - from a first timer

Hey many thanks for the response! Granted this was taken from a shipping company information from 2014 so not sure how accurate it is..."The below items are subject to censorship by Customs officials and SASO approval:  SASO Certificate of Conformity for ALL electrical items imported into the country". Basically I want to bring my temperature control pour over kettle and espresso grinder. They are general household appliances but I haven't been able to find them on line in any local stores and don't want to risk them being confiscated at the airport! That site also said all food stuff is prohibited which is why Im interested to know about the coffee beans.
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Old Oct 7th 2023, 3:18 pm
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Default Re: Questions about moving to Saudi - from a first timer

Originally Posted by alfasierra
Hey many thanks for the response! Granted this was taken from a shipping company information from 2014 so not sure how accurate it is..."The below items are subject to censorship by Customs officials and SASO approval:  SASO Certificate of Conformity for ALL electrical items imported into the country". Basically I want to bring my temperature control pour over kettle and espresso grinder. They are general household appliances but I haven't been able to find them on line in any local stores and don't want to risk them being confiscated at the airport! That site also said all food stuff is prohibited which is why Im interested to know about the coffee beans.
To be honest, unless you're really attached to those appliances, I would just buy them in Riyadh. I am based in Yanbu which is basically a small town compared to Riyadh, and even here you can get pretty much any appliance you need at the local mall. Worst case scenario, you could probably order them via Amazon or another app which is used a lot here for shopping called Noon.

I should say though, my experience was travelling with the items, not freight. I was not checked when I cleared customs at Dammam airport. I am freighting some electronics later on, so maybe freight will be different.

There is some unusual laws here thought regarding shipping. One of the guys I work with tried to ship his camera back to Australia so it could be repaired and he was forbidden from doing so as he did not have the receipt to prove that he had purchased it, and even if he did there was a stamp duty applicable to sending it.

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Old Oct 7th 2023, 3:31 pm
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Default Re: Questions about moving to Saudi - from a first timer

thanks again for the reply. Yeh guess its a bit nerdy in terms of the coffee hobby, which is why I thought to just take my own. I have lived in lots of places around the world and never come across that certification thing, like you, just used adaptors or even re wired the plugs. Saudi is a new experience for me though hence the questions. I will check out the on line options.
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Old Oct 7th 2023, 3:41 pm
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Default Re: Questions about moving to Saudi - from a first timer

Originally Posted by alfasierra
thanks again for the reply. Yeh guess its a bit nerdy in terms of the coffee hobby, which is why I thought to just take my own. I have lived in lots of places around the world and never come across that certification thing, like you, just used adaptors or even re wired the plugs. Saudi is a new experience for me though hence the questions. I will check out the on line options.
Yeah, I totally get that. We all have our things that we find hard to compromise when they make us feel at home. The information you had was from 2014 I believe and Saudi has changed a lot since then, so hopefully you wont have any issues with it.
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