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Country Information - Saudi Arabia

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Visa Requirements  
  Everyone who enters the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) must have a valid passport with at least six months validity and the appropriate visa. Unless you are a visitor from a GCC country or in transit, all other nationalities require a visa to enter the Kingdom. Visas can be obtained from your local Saudi Embassy Visa Department or Saudi Consulates available in all main cities worldwide. Visas usually cost around 200 Saudi Riyals.

  Useful links for more information on Visa requirements are:
  Saudi Arabia Visa Information
  Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
  Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia-London
 
Important Information:

Please note that if a woman is arriving in KSA alone, her sponsor or husband must receive her at the airport. All women must have confirmed accommodation for the duration of her stay and they are not allowed to drive a car. Therefore they can only travel by car if accompanied by her husband, male relative or driver.
All visitors to KSA must have a return ticket.
Currency  
  The Saudi currency is the Riyal and banknotes are issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Riyals. Riyals are divided into 100 Halalas and coins are issued in the value of 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100.
Tax  
  There is no tax in Saudi Arabia however all countries have different tax laws on income being brought back into their country. Candidates are advised to seek advice from a tax consultant before beginning their assignment in KSA.
Language  
  Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia, but English and other languages are widely spoken and understood in the country.
Business Hours  
  The working week is Saturday to Wednesday, although some offices and businesses also operate on Thursday morning.

Government Offices: open from 7.30 am to 2.30 p.m.
  Banks: open 8.00 a.m. to 12 noon and 5.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.
  Private Businesses: open 8.00 a.m. to 12 noon and 3.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.
Emergency Phone Services  
 
Police 999
Fire 998
Ambulance 997
Traffic Accidents 993
Medical Insurance  
  Health insurance for Saudi Arabian citizens is free however foreign residents are required to obtain private insurance or corporate insurance if provided by the employer.

Links for expatriates obtaining Medical Insurance include:
  Global Insurance Net
  Expatriate Healthcare
Schooling  
  There are many well funded international schools that cater to expatriate communities in Saudi Arabia.

Useful links on schooling for expatriates in KSA include:
  The Saudi Network
  International Schools Group
Law  
 

Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state therefore all law is based on the Holy Quran. It is called Sharia Law and governs both criminal and civil cases. It is also considered the constitution of the country and provides ethical values and guidance.

Climate  
 

Saudi Arabia is one of the driest countries in the world with an average rainfall of less than five inches per year. Marked seasons, as in the European or America sense, do not exist. Summer is hot with temperatures reaching 49 degrees. Winter is cooler with an average temperature of 23 degrees in Jeddah and 14 degrees in Riyadh.

Dress Codes  
 

A dress code for foreigners living in Saudi Arabia was published by the Society for the Encouragement of Virtue and the Elimination of Vice. Long loose fitting clothes for females are a compulsory requirement and tight fitting clothes, dresses or tops with no sleeves are not appropriate. The majority of European women wear an Abbaya, a big black cloak which covers you from head to toe and conforms to requirements of the KSA. Proper attire is important for men as well and tight trousers and shirts and any type of shorts are discouraged.



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