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Saudi Launches Special Residency Visa Scheme, Like Green Card for Expats

In a related development, investors of Saudi $500bn Neom city will get residencies and visa-free travel to several countries in the Red Sea, such as Egypt and Jordan.

DESPARDES — Saudi Arabia launched on Sunday their new special residency scheme similar to green card systems applicable in US and other countries, aimed at attracting wealthy and high-skilled expats.

The residency scheme offers two types of residencies, a permanent one for 800,000 Saudi riyals ($213,321.96), and a one year but renewable residency for 100,000 Saudi riyals ($26,665.24).

Also Read: UAE Launches Permanent Residency Visas for Investors and Skilled Expats

The scheme was approved by the Saudi cabinet last month, but on Sunday the online portal to apply was opened to the public.

The residencies would allow foreign expats free movement, ability to own properties, transport and to do business in the kingdom and won’t require a Saudi sponsor or employer.

Currently, over 11 million expats (more than 30pct of total population) work and live in Saudi Arabia under a system that requires them to be sponsored by a Saudi employer and be issued an exit and re-entry visa whenever they want to leave the country.

Arabs and South Asians make up most of the kingdom’s expat community, with quarter of their population being Syrians affected by war in their country. Second and third highest number is of the Indians and Pakistanis respectively.

In a related development, investors of Saudi $500bn Neom city will get residencies and visa-free travel to several countries in the Red Sea, such as Egypt and Jordan.