By Innovation-sa on May 22, 2019 in News

More information about Saudi Arabia’s new “Green Card” style residency scheme for qualified international experts has been published in Saudi government’s official gazette,the Um Al-Qura newspaper.


The new scheme allows highly skilled global entrepreneurs, innovators and investors to work and live in the Kingdom without a Saudi sponsor and they can permanently reside, own property and invest in the Kingdom.The regulations governing the mechanisms of the scheme, such as applicant fees, have not yet been decided by the authorities and a special committee has been set up and given 90 days to make decisions.


Moreover, eligibility of the Privileged Iqama applicants will be determined by a number of bodies headed by the Ministry of Commerce and investment. Applicants should be company owners who can invest in the Kingdom, or must possess scientific or professional skills that are not abundantly found and are of high demand in the Kingdom.


A Saudi Green Card holder will be considered as a resident while applying other statutory provisions like tax provisions, irrespective of how much time he spends outside the Kingdom in the course of the year. Applicants must hold a valid passport, should be financially solvent, should be at least 21 years of age, if he is staying in the Kingdom, should be holding a valid Iqama, should possess a certificate of no criminal record, devoid of any previous offences, and should present a sound medical report.


The rights of a Privilege Iqama holder includes possession of private means of transport and any other movable properties that an expat is allowed to acquire as per the Saudi law, employment in private sector companies and transfer between them(including the beneficiary’s family members) except for jobs from which non-Saudi’s are banned, freedom to leave the Kingdom and return to it independently, use of queues designated for Saudi nationals while entering and exiting the Kingdom through its ports, and performing business under the foreign investment system.


Even though a Privilege Iqama does not entitle the holder to Saudi citizenship, its holder can enjoy several other benefits including residence in Saudi Arabia with his family, the right to issue visitor’s visas for relatives, the recruitment of domestic workers, the possession of property for residential, commercial and industrial purposes excluding Makkah, Madinah and border areas as per regulations. However, they can utilize property in Makkah and Madinah for a period not exceeding 99 years.


The Privilege Iqama can be cancelled if the holder did not comply with the responsibilities  stipulated in Article 7 of the law, waivered his residency, or passed away or was no longer eligible.


Arab News – May 20 2019