The recent reform initiatives by the National Investment Strategy of Saudi Arabia strongly demonstrated a clear focus on enhancing the country’s economy and transforming it into one of the 15 largest economies worldwide. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has already rolled out 40 new initiatives to support legislative reforms in the country’s investment landscape by easing and simplifying procedures for company registration in Saudi Arabia.
The Premium Residency Visa is one of the most notable legislative reforms in recent times and besides offering permanent residency, allows investors, ex-pats and workers to enjoy many other benefits too.
Prime Minister King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, convened a meeting with the Saudi Cabinet on 17th May 2022 and announced a series of new legislative reforms including setting up a Premium Residency Centre and the Unified National Platform for Visas, under the administration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The legislative reforms are primarily aimed at attracting foreign investments into the country worth USD 100 billion and mostly through the tourism, sports, entertainment, transport and education sectors that could create significant employment opportunities and bring down the unemployment level to as low as 7% by 2030.
Expats looking to work and reside in Saudi Arabia permanently or for a limited period can now apply for Saudi Arabia’s Premium Residency Visa in a much easier and faster way through its newly announced Unified National Platform for Visas in three simple steps. The Saudi Press Agency run by the state informed, “The platforms will be responsible for all submitted work visa applications.”
Expats are now allowed to apply for the Premium Residency Visa through the official website of Premium Residency Centre either for a limited Premium Residency visa, renewable yearly under the SP2 category, or a permanent residency permitting foreigners to reside in the country for an indefinite period under the SP1 category.
The Saudi government in an official statement revealed, “The SP1 qualifies the applicant for permanent residency in Saudi Arabia following the premium residency Saudi Law, after satisfying the required conditions and paying a one-time fee of SAR 800,000.”
In contrast to the one-time fee for permanent residency, an applicant seeking permission under the SP2 category needs to pay an annual fee of SAR 100,000 and must comply with all the mandatory legislative requirements.
Application for the permanent residency or limited-term residency, having no sponsor in Saudi Arabia can be made through the Premium Residency programme subject to meeting the following conditions.
Must have a valid passport
Must be at least 21 years old
Must be free from contagious diseases and proved fitness report
Must submit proof of having no criminal records
Must submit proof of no financial insolvency
Must submit proof of current residency status, if residing in the kingdom while applying
Besides being allowed to reside in Saudi Arabia indefinitely under the SP1 permanent residency scheme, the Saudi Premium Residency visa under both the SP1 and SP2 schemes will also offer many more benefits to the visa holders, including:
- Permitted to carry out businesses as per foreign investment regulations
- No more requirement for an exit and re-entry permit for ex-pats working in Saudi Arabia
- Allowed to apply for visas for families
- Allowed to employ domestic workers including housemaids
- No restriction to own real estate in the kingdom
- Can work in the private sector and switch jobs within this sector
- Allowed to buy and own private transport
- Permitted to use airport lanes dedicated to Saudi nationals
Saudi Arabia is rapidly transforming into a future-looking economy, offering attractive potential and business opportunities to investors for doing business in Saudi Arabia and driving non-oil economic growth in the country.
The top Executive from a reputed multinational business consultancy house remarked, “The new visa scheme is a future aspiration and attraction for expats, especially since there has been a high level of implied confidence and trust in Saudi Arabia’s economic trends recently; outperforming many major developed countries such as US, Germany, Japan, UK, and France.”
“We anticipate an influx of affluent individual investors who will seize this opportunity to incorporate businesses in KSA and take advantage of the booming Saudi market,” the executive noted.