How Many Days To Process Employment Visa In Saudi Arabia

Here is an example of a blog post that uses statistics to communicate the length of time it takes to process a visa for an employee of an organization (Saudi Arabia Embassy, in the linked example).Saudi Arabia permits expatriate workers to work in the kingdom for a certain period of time, via a work permit. This type of visa is issued by the Saudi Immigration Authorities to the workers who intend to earn their living in the kingdom. The authorities define how many days it takes for the process to complete, depending on the nationality of the applicant

How Many Days To Process Employment Visa In Saudi Arabia

People have to wait for a certain number of days in Saudi Arabia before they can know whether their visa application is successful or not. This administrative time period is called the processing time and it’s dependent on the particular category you fall under and the immigration office that you’re dealing with.In order to extend your stay permit in the Arab Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, you must apply for an employment visa to the nearest Saudi embassy. The employment visa is issued for short term so it will not be possible for you to bring your family along with you. There are different categories with their own set of requirements; this article focuses mainly on applying for a professional category employment visa.

Work Permits

Shield GEO is not operating in Saudi Arabia at this time. However, feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to assist you with your employment needs or connect you with a trusted partner.

Foreign workers are required to have the proper visas and work permits in Saudi Arabia, as established by immigration laws.  Work permits must be secured for employees, and sponsored by a locally licensed and incorporated entity, which can be a problem for companies just entering the Saudi Arabian market.

Your Options

Have your own Company

A work visa is sponsored by an employer. This can be a Saudi company, a Saudi citizen or a foriegn entity appropriately licensed to do business in Saudi Arabia.

Processing Steps

  • The employer must first register with the Ministry of Interior who will open an “immigration file”. This will contain details of all expatriate employees with that employer. The sponsoring employer must be registered in Saudi Arabia and hold a valid commercial license. The employer may be asked to submit a variety of documents listed below. The employer will likely be asked to show a commitment to “Saudization” which is to prove that there are no Saudi citizens available to fill the position, and that the employer is taking steps to employ Saudi citizens where possible.
  • The employer then lodges a work visa application with the Ministry of Labor. This can take 1-3 months.
  • The Ministry of Labor will advise the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when the application is approved. The Ministry of Foreign affairs will issue a Visa Authorisation Number. This takes 1-2 weeks.
  • The actual Work Visa is issued by the relevant Saudi embassy under the instruction of the Minisry of Foreign Affairs. At this point the employee will have to apply at the revelant Saudi Arabian embassy. The employee must submit an application form and the documents outlined below to the embassy. Processing times vary by embassy but generally 1-3 weeks. After the embassy issues the Work / Employment visa, the individual can travel to Saudi Arabia. The Work / Employment visa will allow a stay of between 14-90 days.
  • On arrival an application must be filed with the Ministry of Labor for the Iqama or residency permit. Once approved by Ministry of Labour it will be forwarded to Ministry of Interior to issue the Iqama or residency permit. The Directorate General for Passports, within the Ministry of Interior, will issue the Iqama. The employer will need to obtain the work permit from the Ministry of Labor gor the employee to show at the passport office when applying for the Iqama. The Iqama normally takes 1-3 weeks to be issued. The employee should carry the Iqama with them at all times as it proves they have the legal right to live and work in Saudi Arabia. The employee can be fined if the Iqama is lost and not reported lost, or if it expires before renewal.
  • Lastly after the Iqama is issued then an application is lodged with the Ministry of Interior for an Exit/Re-Entry Permit which allows the employee to travel in and out of Saudi Arabia whilst they have a valid Work Permit and Iqama. The length of permit and type will depend on a number of factors including the nationality and profession of the employee. It takes approximately 1 week to issue.

Requirements for the Employee to present at the relevant Saudi Arabian embassy:

– Original valid signed employment contract in Arabic

– Original passport valid for at least the duration of the employment contract and it must have at least two full blank adjacent visa pages. (note if an Israeli visa stamp is found in your passport, the Saudi embassy will likely refuse to grant a visa application)
– Medical certificate stating the applicant is free of contagious diseases. This should be issued by a clinic approved by the Saudi Embassy and be issued within 3 months of the application being lodged.

– Completed application form (BLOCK LETTERS and black ink)

– In order to transfer from one employer to another, a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the previous employer is required.

– If previously worked in Saudi Arabia a copy of the relevant exit visa and a reference from the previous employer may be required
– Copy of relevant academic qualifications (notarised by the educational institution and the Saudi embassy)

– Color passport photos. The number required varies by embassy. (it is advised to dress conservatively and avoid wearing religious symbols)

– Original support letter from the sponsoring employer, certified by the Saudi Arabian Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

– Copy of the invitation letter issued by Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs (this will reference the employer name, and the number of the employment visa)

– Police clearance dated within 6 months of the application

Requirements of the Employer to submit to Ministry of Interior:

– Company Registration (CR)

– Company Stamp

– Zakat Certificate

– GOSI Certificate

– Chamber of Commerce Certificate

– KROKI Certificate

– NITAQAT statement

NB: This is not an exhaustive list and the Ministry may request further documentation

Cost: Varies according to embassy
Processing time: Varies by embassy and nationality. Total process takes 3-5 months for a new employer.

Types of visas in Saudi Arabia

CategoryDescription of Visa
Business Visit VisaBusiness visa is to conduct limited business transactions with a sponsor (Saudi person or company). Theoretically this is restricted to activities like conducting negotiations or holding business meetings. The business visa is commonly used by individuals providing short term or intermittent services like technical services or management consulting and the Saudi authorities have tolerated that. With the advent of the temporary visa work visa this may change.
Requirements: An original signed Letter of Invitation (LOI) is renerally required from the Saudi sponsor (company or individual). It may also be necessary to supply additional documents such as a support letter from the persons current employer or a copy of the companys business registration.
Processing time: 3-7 business days
Cost: Varies by embassy and number of entries. Please contact us for a quote.
Work VisaWork Visas are issued through the Ministry of Labour
A Residence permit is also required and issued by the Ministry of the Interior’s Directorate General for Passports.
The actual Work Visa is issued by the relevant Saudi embassy under the instruction of the Minisry of Foreign Affairs.
Requirements: Must be sponsored by a Saudi employer. In order to transfer from one employer to another, a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the previous employer is required.
– valid employment contract in Arabic
– medical reports
– degree or educational qualifications
Cost: varies by embassy
Processing time: 2-3 months
Penalties for non-compliance: If a company is found to be employing foreigners without the proper work permits and visas it can be fined up to SAR 100,000 and have its license to trade revoked. Individuals who are working in Saudi Arabia without an Iqama can be fined up to SAR 10,000 and immediately arrested and deported.
Temporary Work VisaThis is a recent addition which allows employees of a foreign entity to do temporary work in Saudi Arabia. The foreign entity cannot have a presence in Saudi Arabia.
Duration : 30 or 90 days
Application process : It is understood to be similar to the process for issuing a Work / Employment Visa

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