Moving to Saudi Arabia


Moving to Saudi Arabia with UTS

Are you planning a move to Saudi Arabia? Then you have made the best choice with UTS. We organize your move and ensure that it runs smoothly. Thanks to our many years of experience, we know exactly what is important when it comes to international removals. In a consultation, we clarify every last detail of your move so that no questions remain unanswered. 

Saudi Arabia is located on the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East and borders Yemen, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, among others. A total of around 37,8 million people (as of 2024) live here in a country six times the size of Germany. Saudi Arabia is known for its rich deposits of oil and natural gas, which form an important economic basis. The everyday life of the people is strongly influenced by the Islamic religion. The official language is Arabic, but many people there also have a good command of English, which often makes communication easy. 

We have created an informative country page for anyone interested in Saudi Arabia. Here you will find interesting facts about entry and import regulations, the economy, culture & many other aspects.

Your contact person


Mrs. Christine Andriollo

International removals

Telefon Icon+49 (0)69 2445049-35


Our services

  • Individual requirements
  • Individual offers
  • Pre-inspection
  • Delivery & unpacking on site
  • Dismantling, packing & loading
  • Transport by truck
  • Customs clearance
  • Storage
  • Transport insurance


Transfer times to Saudi Arabia

Transfer times to Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam:

  • Export customs clearance in Germany: 2-4 days
  • Sea freight: approx. 29-32 days
  • Import customs clearance in Saudi Arabia: approx. 4-7 days

Note: The times given for the transfer are only a rough guide and depend on shipping capacities, changes in customs regulations, the current political situation, the infrastructure of the country of departure and destination and the availability of the correct documents for customs clearance.

map saudi arabien


Entry only with visa

You will need a visa and a valid passport to enter Saudi Arabia.

The work visa

To be able to live and work in Saudi Arabia for a long-term period, you need a work visa. This requires an employment contract with a Saudi company. It is only valid if it has been legalized by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The visa is valid for two years.

Important documents: Visa application, passport, passport photo, notarized employment contract, work permit, health certificate and qualification certificates.

The family residence visa

If you wish to live with your family in Saudi Arabia, you can apply for a family residence visa. The visa is intended for spouses, sons under the age of 18 and unmarried daughters with proof of marital status. Before the visa can be applied for, the sponsoring company must obtain approval from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Permanent residence permit: The Saudi "green card"

Normally, expats must be sponsored by a Saudi employer in order to live and work in Saudi Arabia for an extended period of time. In 2019, Saudi Arabia launched its first permanent residence permit program. This allows certain expats and their families to live in the Kingdom without a sponsor. This is particularly aimed at highly qualified and wealthy foreign nationals, investors and entrepreneurs.

A distinction is made between a temporary renewable and a permanent residence permit. Both are associated with quite high fees. The cost of a permanent residence permit, for example, is SAR 800,000 (approx. 195,925 euros).

Those applying for the Saudi "Green Card" must be at least 21 years old, have a valid passport, prove financial stability, have no criminal record and be in ideal health.

Import regulations Saudi Arabia

Import regulations

There are strict import regulations in Saudi Arabia. We strongly recommend that you adhere to these and obtain detailed information about them before moving. This applies in particular to the bans. Below you will find an initial overview:

  • Duty-free import from the age of 18 for the following goods: 200 cigarettes or 500g tobacco, personal effects up to a value of SAR 3,000 (approx. 749 euros). All goods other than personal effects and clothing are subject to duty.
  • It is forbidden to import alcohol, drugs, food, pornographic material, weapons, religious writings (e.g. Bible), radio and audio equipment, binoculars, political literature, Christmas trees and military equipment, among other things.
  • The import and export of cash, convertible funds, precious metals and precious stones must be declared if the total value exceeds SAR 60,000 (approx. EUR 14,994).
  • Import of medicines: A sufficient quantity of prescription medication for personal use for a maximum of 90 days may be imported. It is important to carry a doctor's certificate and the corresponding prescriptions

Note for moving goods: You must be present during customs clearance of your removal goods. You can obtain detailed information on this topic from our UTS experts.

Moving with pets 

Instructions for entering the country with pets

There are regulations for bringing pets into Saudi Arabia. Importing cats is generally easier than importing dogs.

Your pet needs:

  • A veterinary health certificate notarized by the Saudi embassy
  • Proof of various vaccinations, including against rabies
  • Microchip
  • Import permit (you can obtain this from the Saudi embassy)

Other important regulations for importing pets:

Dogs may only be imported if they are to be used as hunting, guard or guide dogs. There are dog breeds that may not be imported under any circumstances. These include pit bulls and rottweilers.The import of rabbits, birds or reptiles is also not permitted.

saudi arabia nature

Please note that importing pets to Saudi Arabia poses a risk. The high temperatures, especially in summer, can be very stressful for animals.

It is also advisable to clarify in advance whether pets are allowed in your future accommodation.

A smooth pet move with UTS

We organize an animal-friendly transport for your pet. So that you are also well prepared, we have put together an information page with tips and advice for moving with pets.

Read more

Entering Saudi Arabia by car & driving in Saudi Arabia

Importing your own car 

If you would like to import your car to Saudi Arabia, you should note that only one car per family is permitted. It must also have been built after 1974. Among other things, you will need the vehicle registration document, the original purchase invoice (legalized), a SASO certificate and proof of insurance.

Information about the driver's license

To drive in Saudi Arabia, you need an international driving license. This is then valid in combination with your national driving license. 

Driving in Saudi Arabia is not without danger 

When driving in Saudi Arabia, you should be careful and adopt a defensive and attentive driving style. Aggressive and hectic drivers are the norm. There are frequent traffic accidents in Saudi Arabia.


The holy land of the Muslims

The country is ruled by an absolute monarchy in which Islamic law is firmly anchored in the constitution. Saudi Arabia is known as the holy land of Muslims. Around 90% of the population profess this religion. Millions of people from all over the world make a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia every year. This is because Saudi Arabia has one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the world, the Kaaba in Mecca.

saudi arabia kultur

Rules of conduct

There are various rules that must be followed in Saudi Arabia. These include, for example, a ban on the consumption and possession of alcohol and the consumption of pork. Furthermore, there is no freedom of expression in this country. For this reason, you should be careful what topics you address in public (e.g. never criticize the royal family). Photographing government buildings and palaces is also prohibited. It should also be noted that homosexual acts are prohibited and punishable by law in Saudi Arabia.

Important note: This is only an overview of some important rules in everyday life. UTS recommends that you inform yourself extensively before moving to Saudi Arabia.

saudi arabia map

Dress code

It is also important to dress appropriately. This includes that men and women should refrain from wearing tight-fitting clothing. Covering the knees and shoulders is also important. A classic item of clothing for women in Saudi Arabia is an abaya. This is a long black robe that covers everything except the hands and face. Men, on the other hand, wear a white robe (thobe or thawb) in warm temperatures.

As the country opens up more and more to tourists, the strict dress and behavior regulations have been changed and a law on public order has been passed. Women are no longer obliged to wear an abaya.

saudi arabia crowd

Ramadan - the month of fasting for Muslims

Ramadan is a very important month in the Islamic calendar. It represents the fourth of the five pillars of Islam. During this time, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from sunrise to sunset. Non-Muslims do not have to fast during this time, but they should neither drink nor eat in public.

At the end of Ramadan, the Eid-al-Fitr or the festival of breaking the fast is celebrated. As the name suggests, sweet treats are eaten during these days.

saudi arabia architecture


A large economy

Saudi Arabia's economy is one of the largest in the Arab world and is also the country with the most oil reserves. It is therefore not surprising that the country is one of the world's largest oil producers and exporters. In addition to natural resources such as oil, natural gas, gold and limestone, the service sector is another relevant source of income.

"Vision 2030"

In 2016, the details of the Saudi leadership's "Vision 2030" economic project were announced. Among other things, the aim is to reduce Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil. By 2030, the share of oil and gas in the gross domestic product should be just 11%. There are also plans to generate a quarter of electricity from solar energy. In general, the promotion of renewable energies is to be driven forward.

Another project within the framework of "Vision 2030" is to increase the employment of women. In addition, more is to be invested in the education of young people and in the country's infrastructure. A number of construction projects are currently being launched, including the planned cities "Neom" and "The Line". By making it easier to make foreign investments, the aim is also to attract foreign investors. Another plan is to promote tourism in Saudi Arabia;

As a result of "Vision 2030", the country is currently undergoing a transformation that relates to the societal and social level. This is accompanied, for example, by a relaxation of gender segregation and the strengthening of women's rights. For example, women have been allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia since 2018.

Official information on "Vision 2030" can be found here


Working hours and vacation

The average working week in Saudi Arabia is 40 to 48 hours with 8 hours a day. During Ramadan, people usually only work 6 hours.

In contrast to Germany, the Saudi Arabian weekend is on Friday and Saturday. There are also statutory vacation days. These amount to 21 days. From the 6th year of employment, employees are entitled to at least 30 days' vacation. The minimum wage is currently SAR 4,000 per month, which is the equivalent of around EUR 999 (as of 2024).

Important: Residence permit and work visa

In addition to the work visa (see section "Entry requirements"), you need a residence permit (Iqama) to be able to work in Saudi Arabia. This is applied for by your employer within 3 months of your arrival in Saudi Arabia.

The Iqama serves as an identification document (card form) and is required, for example, to open a bank account. It contains the following information: Name and nationality, date of birth, Iqama number, job title, name of employer, period of validity and the date of issue and expiry. The Iqama must be renewed every year;

Attention: You should always carry the Iqama with you. If you do not carry the card with you, you could face a fine of up to SAR 1,000 or, in the worst case, a prison sentence. You must also remember to renew the card in good time. A stay with an expired Iqama can lead to deportation.

Job opportunities

If you have qualifications in the metal and electrical industry (e.g. as a plant mechanic or mechatronics technician), you have a good chance of finding a job in Saudi Arabia in the future. There are also job opportunities in the fields of IT, engineering, medicine and finance.


Frequently asked questions

We have summarized some of the most frequently asked questions about formalities for you below. Your UTS relocation manager will be happy to provide you with further information at any time. 

Yes, this applies to foreigners with a visa for a stay of more than 30 days or a work visa. You must register with the relevant police station within 3 days.

Yes, you need a visa and a valid passport.

In the capital Riyadh, for example, you will pay around €1,150 for a 1-room apartment in the city center. The cost of a 3-room apartment is around €1,810. Compared to the UAE or Qatar, rental prices in Saudi Arabia are generally cheaper.

This is possible. However, there are specific regulations that you must adhere to. Entering the country with dogs in particular can be difficult. You can find further information under the heading "Information on entering the country with pets".

You have good job opportunities in the metal and electrical industry, IT, engineering, medicine or finance.

Yes, but you will also need an international driving license.

Healthcare system

Medical and health insurance

Compared to rural regions, medical care in large cities such as Riyadh or Jeddah is good. Nevertheless, staff shortages or lower hygiene standards are to be expected from time to time.

Health insurance is compulsory in Saudi Arabia. If you work for a company, your employer will provide you with private health insurance. Access to state-subsidized health insurance is usually only available to Saudi nationals.

Make sure you use mosquito repellent

In Saudi Arabia, it is possible to contract dengue or chikungunya fever. These diseases are transmitted by diurnal Aedes mosquitoes. There is a vaccine against dengue fever. This is not the case with chikungunya fever.

For this reason, you should protect yourself adequately against insect bites. This includes covering clothing and the use of mosquito repellent sprays and mosquito nets.

Food and drinking water hygiene

Pay attention to good food and drinking water hygiene. Water should be boiled before drinking or brushing your teeth. This also applies to milk, as this is not usually pasteurized. You can minimize the risk of infection by boiling it.

living in saudi arabia 

Average rental prices

Many expats in Saudi Arabia live in the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam. They live in so-called compounds. These are guarded housing estates that are surrounded by walls. Depending on the size of the compound, there may be a supermarket, restaurants, swimming pools and parks in addition to residential buildings.

The rental prices of apartments in Saudi Arabia are cheaper compared to other countries in the region, for example the UAE and Qatar. It is important that rental contracts are registered in the electronic system Ejar. If this is not done, there is a possibility that your work permit will not be extended.

Below you will find an overview of average rental prices in popular cities in Saudi Arabia.


  • 1-room apartment in the city center: approx. 1,150€
  • 1-room apartment outside the city center: approx. 770€
  • 3-room apartment in the city center: approx. 1,810€
  • 3-room apartment outside the city center: approx. 960€


  • 1-room apartment in the city center: approx. 490€
  • 1-room apartment outside the city center: approx. 360€
  • 3-room apartment in the city center: approx. 870€
  • 3-room apartment outside the city center: approx. 610€


  • 1-room apartment in the city center: approx. 320€
  • 1-room apartment outside the city center: approx. 310€
  • 3-room apartment in the city center: approx. 600€
  • 3-room apartment outside the city center: approx. 420€


  • 1-room apartment in the city center: approx. 500€
  • 1-room apartment outside the city center: approx. 380€
  • 3-room apartment in the city center: approx. 1,000€
  • 3-room apartment outside the city center: approx. 630€

Food prices

You don't have to do without anything in Saudi Arabia. There are large supermarkets with a wide range of foods that you can also buy here. The cost of living is generally lower than in Germany.


  • 1l milk: approx. 1.55€
  • 500g bread: approx. 0.89€
  • 1kg rice: approx. 2.02€
  • 12 eggs: approx. 2.43€
  • 1kg cheese: approx. 6.84€
  • 1kg potatoes: approx. 1.16€
saudi arabien market
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