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Expat Living and Working in Saudi Arabia - Rules, Regulations, Laws

Rules, Regulations, and Laws in Saudi Arabia

Living and working in Saudi Arabia (officially known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, or KSA) is like nowhere else in the world that I've experienced. They enforce their rules to the letter, and the punishments are severe. Punishments for foreigners may be even more severe than for locals; most Saudis in the kingdom would just get their wrists slapped.

You also have to remember that your employment is linked to your behavior. If you were arrested for drinking or womanizing for instance, you would not only find yourself jailed and deported you would also lose your job and any accrued benefits you may have earned. So that one drink could cost you a huge amount of money if you were expecting a few months' tax-free bonus at the end of a couple of years' hard work there in Saudi.

Saudi Arabia is also one of the most hypocritical societies that I have ever encountered. In a society that constantly preaches about not using alcohol and the sanctity of their women's virtue, the queue to leave the country at the end of the working week over the bridge between Khobar and Bahrain is at least 4 to 5 hours long. The queue is made up mainly of Saudis, and I don't think they are all going to Bahrain to visit the mosques. The fact that Bahrain has many bars and nightclubs where people can drink and chase women (and not the sort of women you can take home to Mother, I hasten to add) may have more to do with the length of those queues. But maybe I am wrong; perhaps if you visit the bars in Bahrain you can let me know.

Even within the kingdom it is very easy to find just about anything you want, on or off the compounds where most expats live. Most Saudis that I know have a bottle of two of the strong stuff hidden away for when they have visitors. So it is very much a case of "do as we say, not as we do" when working in Saudi Arabia.

That being said, with high wages and generous benefits it is a hard place to ignore for employment—and many expats (myself included) would rather endure the restrictions placed on us to work there and make that extra tax-free cash.

Where Is Saudi Arabia?

Working in Saudi Arabia

Just in case you are ever fortunate enough to visit or work in Saudi Arabia, I will summarize the main rules, regulations, and laws that you need to know.

Please, whatever you do, follow these rules—especially in public places. Saudis take their traditions and their religion very seriously. They are not known for their leniency towards foreigners who break their laws, and their prisons are for punishment, not reform.

Carry Your Iqama at all Times

Don't get caught without your ID
Don't get caught without your ID | Source

Don't Leave Home Without ID

You have to carry your passport/visa with you at all times unless you have your residency card (Iqama). Once you have your Iqama, you must keep it with you at all times. If you get stopped with no valid ID you will be treated like an illegal and taken off to jail. Most of the police officers do not speak (or choose not to speak) English and will not generally be helpful.

If you are with a woman, she'd best be your wife—and you must either have an Iqama that proves this relationship, or you must carry your marriage certificate.

Daily Prayer

Muslims pray 5 times per day. Here in Saudi Arabia everything stops and shuts down for prayer, which lasts 20-30 minutes each time. So if you are going out, check the prayer times before you leave or you will end up waiting. You will know when it is prayer time as every mosque will start its call for prayer. The first compound I stayed in had 4 mosques nearby, one just off each wall. The call for prayer begins at dawn—if you are a light sleeper this will be when you get up every day.

When prayer is called every business will close. You will be asked to leave smaller shops, but large supermarkets will allow you to wander and fill your trolleys during prayer (although I once witnessed a group of matawa, or religious police, drive everyone out of a Riyadh supermarket at prayer time, but that was only once).

Women Dressed in Abaya

Follow rules, regulations, and laws even at the beach
Follow rules, regulations, and laws even at the beach | Source

Laws About How to Dress

When working in Saudi Arabia you have to dress respectfully. For men this means no vests or shorts in public. Women must wear an Abaya (long black dress/cloak covering the entire body) at all times outside, and they must also cover their hair. Most foreign women do not cover their hair; however, it is good practice to always carry a headscarf. If asked to cover your hair, do so without argument.

No Pornography Allowed

Porn is against the law
Porn is against the law | Source

Pornography Is Illegal

Pornography is illegal in Saudi Arabia, and "pornography" can cover a surprising range of items. Even glossy magazines with scantily clad women will be classed under this category. Whatever you do, don’t bring anything like this with you when you arrive to work here. Remember, this is a country that is concerned about the naked flesh on cereal boxes and other items in the supermarket and uses black marker pen to cover it up!

I often get asked about whether your laptop and other devices will be searched when you come into the country. I have yet to meet or hear of anyone who has ever experienced this. Although a laptop search is not likely to happen to you, it is probably best to ensure that anything out of the ordinary is hidden away from the usual directories on your computer.

I have, however, known several women who have had cell phones snatched and searched by religious police, or mutawa. Quite frankly, most of these guys are just looking for an excuse to take away women from less well-off countries and abuse them. If you are a woman, be very careful with what you have on your cell phone, especially if you are in an area known for predatory mutawa.

Pork Banned

Pork is illegal
Pork is illegal | Source

Regulations About Pork

You won't find any bacon sandwiches in Saudi Arabia. Not only do they not eat pork, all pork products are actually illegal. If you are caught with pork, the police will throw you in the slammer!

If you know someone, however, who is able to open a tin can without leaving any evidence you can easily smuggle in bacon in a can disguised as fruit or something else. Not that I have ever done this (too often!). Forget banning alcohol, for me this is the biggest problem about living in Saudi Arabia.

Laws Regarding Mixing with the Opposite Sex

Unless you are married or a direct blood relative, you are not allowed to mix in private with someone of the opposite sex. This is generally extended to the public sphere, as well, so walking and talking to someone of the opposite sex is likely to get you into very hot water—perhaps even jailed or deported. Again, your origin will also affect how you are treated here. As a westerner I have never been stopped or questioned with any woman, nor have any of my friends—but it does happen, so beware (I hasten to add that I am actually married). On the other hand, I have both seen and heard frequent reports of Filipinos and Indians, as well as others, being stopped and arrested.

If you want some additional information about dating in Saudi Arabia you can have a look at my article about this subject using this link.

Illegal to Mix with the Opposite Sex

Rules Regarding Segregation of the Sexes

Segregation of the sexes is strictly upheld. If you go to a restaurant, even a fast food joint, such as McDonalds, there is a “singles' section,” which is for the men, and a family section, which is for women as well as for families. Even within the family section there are often screens arranged so that one table cannot see another, so that everyone is isolated.

When working in this country you will find that the sexes rarely mix in the workplace. The women are required to have their own areas within the workplace.

Segregation of the Sexes

Strict Adultery Laws

If you have an affair, be warned. The penalty for adultery here is death, and the penalty for a woman even “consorting” with a man can run to many lashes. Even a rape victim here recently was lashed, and her husband called for the death penalty in response to her “infidelity."

Rape Victim

Public Shows of Affection

When Saudi men meet they will often kiss each other on the cheek. Women will do this when they meet one another, as well. However, do not think that this gives you the right to kiss your wife in public! Affection between men and women is not tolerated in public. It is okay to walk hand in hand with your wife—but no kissing and cuddling, even if meeting at the airport for the first time in a year. Control yourself until you get somewhere private.

If someone tells you to stop doing something, stop straight away and do not try to argue the right or wrong of it. It is best to remove yourself from the area as quickly as possible in these situations. You do not want the people telling you to stop deciding that further action is required.

Kissing in Saudi Arabia

Don't Curse God in Saudi Arabia

Rules About Bad Language and Gestures

Do not swear or make obscene gestures. People are easily offended (or choose to be offended just to give you trouble), and things can escalate out of control. If someone takes a dislike to you, remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. The general rule here is that a Saudi is always right. Even if you are in the “right” in a dispute, if the dispute is with a Saudi, you (as the foreigner) are wrong. Otherwise the decision tends to follow a hierarchy of origins: a middle eastern gentleman will always be given preferential treatment over a westerner (unless there is a possible diplomatic fallout), and the westerner will always win out over a Filipino or an Indian, and so on. There is a very definite pecking order here in Saudi Arabia.

Do not give the finger when you are driving, no matter how bad the Saudi is driving. This is not your country, and you will be in the wrong.

And never, ever blaspheme the name of God or the prophet!

Women Are Not Allowed to Drive

Women cannot drive in Saudi Arabia; therefore they must have a driver. However, a problem arises because a woman cannot be alone with a man who is not her direct blood relative or her husband. Some men will not allow their wives to have a driver for this reason. There is a very real danger that a woman can be accused of having an improper relationship with her driver if the police want to cause a problem.

In order to get around this problem, I have seen boys as young as 10 or 11 driving their mothers around.

Women Driving

Rules About Women Alone

Women in Saudi Arabia who travel and walk alone are generally regarded with suspicion. Many people may think that she is a prostitute and will treat her as such. My wife occasionally walks from our apartment to the hospital opposite where she used to work (around 100 yards away); cars will often stop and men will beckon for her to get in—and we live in a “nice” neighborhood.

On one occasion in the past (several years ago), she was grabbed and dragged into a car by a man who tried to hold something over her nose and mouth to knock her out. Luckily she carries a knife, and the man stopped and let her out when she started to stab his seats and threaten him. My wife is a Filipina, not western. I have not heard of western women being treated in this way, but I have heard several similar reports regarding Filipina and Indonesian women, which have ended horrifically in rape and beatings.

Illegal Drinking

Alcohol Is Illegal

Alcohol is not allowed at all—not even in mouthwash and perfumes—so be careful what you bring into the country. It is not difficult to find alcohol in the kingdom, but don’t go asking Saudis unless you know them very very well.

Making your own alcohol is not exactly hard; it is easily made when sugar is fermented by yeast (ordinary baking yeast is sufficient). So sugar and yeast added to nonalcoholic beers or to fruit juices will quickly ferment to produce an alcoholic version. Fermentation normally takes 1-2 weeks, and it takes another 2-3 weeks for the cloudiness to clear. Or so I am told, as this is strictly illegal.

Finding alcohol on the compound is very easy—some compounds have their own residents' bar. Non-homemade quality stuff is harder to come by but not impossible. Expect to pay as much as $250 for a bottle of Jack or Smirnoff when supplies are low.

Penalties for having alcohol are stiff, so don’t travel off-compound with it. If you are caught you are likely to get sent home unless you are very lucky and someone manages to smooth-talk the police for you. If you have Saudi friends let them transport the alcohol—they will only get their wrists slapped if they are caught. (Most Saudis I know drink and have supplies of many types.)

Whatever you do, do not sell booze under any circumstances. If you are caught you will be so deep in excrement you will not see the light of day for a long time.

Drugs Are Illegal

Drugs are a big problem in Saudi Arabia. Hashish is a major problem here; many Saudis smoke far too much of it as well as other drugs. I am not in any way, shape, or form someone who uses drugs, but I know that they are freely available. The penalty, however, for trafficking drugs here is death, so before you bring some into this country with you, or try to pass to your “friends,” remember this.

Censorship in Saudi Arabia

Censorship

If you travel on Saudi airlines and watch a film, you may be surprised to see women’s legs and cleavage “fuzzed” out—as if they were people who should not be identified on a news program. The kissing scene where the hero steals a little peck from the heroine? Missing. I am not talking about a sex scene here; I am talking a peck on the cheek. Censored.

As for the internet, if it has to do with sex, drink, gambling, scantily clad women, anything that is anti-Muslim, news about Saudi Arabia they don’t like, etc., you won't be able to access it.

Even when you read the newspapers, you might notice that there is just too much good news about how wonderful everything is in Saudi Arabia!

Rules About Having Fun

Basically, if you think it is fun then there is a good chance that it will be illegal here in Saudi. Working in Saudi Arabia may seem very restrictive, but at the end of the day we are here for the money and the lack of taxes.

But remember, if it goes on behind closed doors, quietly without disturbing anyone, no one will stop you.

Working in Saudi Arabia: Additional Information

If you are still considering working in Saudi Arabia, then my full guide to working as an expat in Saudi Arabia will tell you everything you need to know.

Saudi Arabia is not somewhere to visit or work in unless you have done your homework. There are just too many things that you could do wrong and too many ways to easily offend the Saudis. Always do your research, and understand what it is that you are letting yourself in for. Punishment in Saudi Arabia can be severe.

Comments 619 comments

niddz profile image

niddz 6 years ago from saudi arabia

vote you up..

yes you are absolutely right about the country.Nice hub, Keep writing and keep smiling.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks for your comments Niddz, "keep smiling" has always been my phrase to everyone.. I love Saudi Arabia, it is very different to what I am used to from the UK but I generally feel safer..


yan70 6 years ago

very informative,thanks huge.

and just wandering if you know whether dependant is allowed to work.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Yan70, the official rules are that an expat can only work for their sponsor. As you would be the sponsor of your dependent they cannot work, saying that many do....


Missing Link profile image

Missing Link 6 years ago from Oregon

Hi LeanMan,

Excuse me if you have already covered this and I just missed it. I have heard that if your belongings are searched at a Saudi airport...that if they find a Bible...they confiscate it. Is this true? I enjoyed reading your hub on dating in Saudi Arabia!

Also, if you don't feel like going to prayer can you just skip it if in public vs if at home behind closed doors?

Thanks much!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Missing Link, thank you for reading.

The official line is that if you have one bible they will let you keep it as this is a "tolerant society", however the chances are that they will take it. If you have more than one then you run the risk of being seen as someone who is coming here to spread Christianity and will be sent back home!

As to prayer, they only expect the Muslims to pray,as a non-muslim I just continue my work in the office while they all pray together or continue on my way outside. However no shops or any other business will be open or functioning whilst they pray.

Many of the Muslims do skip the prayers, like any other society there are those that are devout worshipers that never miss and those that would rather not!

I have on a couple of times seen Mutawa (the religious police types) pushing people into the mosque to pray if they look as though they were going to walk by.

You will find that your work colleges and even strangers in the street here will try to convert you to save your soul!


Arshad Ali 6 years ago

Excelent information. To me most Arabs seems to be same. Can any one please write if other Gulf States ( or is it Estates) 0r UAE has similar type of Rules, Regulations, Laws as that of Saudi Arabia. arshidali@hotmail.com


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Yes Arshad Ali, other Arab countries and states have similar laws, but not all enforce everything to the same level as Saudi Arabia. Thank you for reading and commenting.


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY

as always leave it to leanman to take us abroad to far away places. Thanks for sharing these interesting facts about living in the middle east.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

I am sure you would enjoy life here wavegirl, but you will have to cover up your swimsuit, Saudi Arabia rules and laws just will not allow you to dress that way!


Kim  6 years ago

Really LeanMan?? Wavegirl will enjoy life there. Frankly it sounds like Hell on Earth. ESPECIALLY for women. Cultural and religious difference or not, their laws and society are absolutely draconian and women are treated like chattle.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks for the comments kim, maybe my sarcasm was lost on you a little. However like any situation or society you make what you can of it, I enjoy my life here and know many that do. If I were a woman though I would never have come here.


YesSir 6 years ago

Hi LeanMan,

I'm thinking of going to teach ESL in Jazan City. What can you tell me about the city and working as a Canadian there. Also, I'm not your stereotypical "westerner" I am latino, therefore have a dark complexion and have been mistaken many times, for many things (i.e. Iraqi, Indian, Filipino, Saudi), so having said that what kind of experience should I look forward to?


shaheer  6 years ago

can i know whatis the rules and regulations about financial transaction between abraoders?? exapmle .. if u giv to credit the huge amount to my friend how can i bring the seciruty for that cash ..how can i make agreement? can u help me


wife with no love 6 years ago

my husband is looking to 'escape' the U.S. as he 'can't' find work here and has applied to work for a U.S. Company in Tabuk.....he 'likes' his alcohol & computer porn (gee, and he wonders why he's not 'happy')...


marieryan profile image

marieryan 5 years ago from Andalusia, Spain

Very interesting article, Leanman. I am a single, woman and have just moved to Abu Dhabi to work. I feel so relieved that the UAE seems a little more liberal. Your wife can probably cope because she is legally married to you and you are there with her!This must lend her some semblance of respectability. If she were a single, perhaps she would not be able to manage so well on her own.


Rajeeb 5 years ago

Hi Leanman,

My name is Rajeeb and I am from India. I am having an offer to work in Saudi Arabia. The strict laws making me think twice whether should I go and work in that country. What people do there in their free time?


Geoff 5 years ago

Are the rules regarding 'private' encounters, let's say between two westerners within a hotel or a compound, perhaps the two are different situations, strict, or do people get away with more within the confines?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Geoff, the rules are the rules wherever you are in KSA, however within a compound you can get away with a lot as they turn a blind eye to a lot of what goes on there! But just try booking into a hotel if you are not married!!!


Susan 5 years ago

I have lived in Dhahran, and shopped in al Khobar and I now live in central Georgia (USA), and I don't see much difference in behavior.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Susan, I am sure that you may have noticed a few differences in behaviour! The rules and Regulations there in Georgia are just slightly different than those in Saudi Arabia! I am sure that you have seen women dressed provocatively, young girls hanging out with boys, people drinking alcohol, heard about friends having affairs and not being stoned to death, the shops not shutting for prayers, pork hot-dogs for sale on the streets, etc. I think you need to open your eyes a little Susan!


Susan 5 years ago

Ever hear of the Blue Laws in predominantly Baptist Georgia? They don't stone, but they do have a taliban here--the Dixie Taliban.


Juz 5 years ago

Will be heading to Saudi for a business trip and will most likely have to bring the laptop. However it does contain some porn files so I was wondering if this will cause any problems. Would greatly appreciate your advice LeanMan!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Juz, thanks for taking the time to read, as to porn on your laptop I would not worry too much, I have never had or knew anyone who had their laptops checked. However, you never know!!!


leeloo 5 years ago

hi leanman

I just wanna share about having porn on laptop and sexy pix in your mobile? even a picture with you and boyfriend sweet( even taken in Philippines) they would confiscate your mobile and sent u to jail!

i have known a couple who lived in Riyadh,once a while like a surprised visit from the mutawa they would open your laptop. And about mobile phone like when they see you alone walking and talking on phone they would just go and ask for your mobile and scan and if they see anything that is prohibited they will sent u to jail and well we never know what "really" will happen to u then.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Leeloo, yes I have also heard of girls alone having their phones checked for pictures etc by the Mutawa but normally only Filipinas, Indonesians etc, I have never heard of a western woman or an Arabic woman having the same done to them.

The Mutawa generally only target what they believe to be "easy" targets who are not able to fight back, often the motives are not religious but to take the girls somewhere remote! These stories I have had related to me on more than one occasion by their victims who have no way to fight back or complain!

As to laptops, yours is the first story I have heard. So best to be very careful about everything especially if living off compound where the Mutawa and police can get easier access to you.


crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Nice article,thanks for sharing.


i live in saudi arabia (nushrulz) 5 years ago

the only reason i live in saudi arabia is beause thats where my dad moved before i was born for work

saudi arabia is where i was born (unfortunately)

i hate my life for having to live hear

its given me an empty child-hood

made me thing in a sexist way man times in the past

i am 13 years old and have recently been starting to realise this

living in ksa i have realised saudis ARE VERY RACIST,DISCRIMINATIVE,SEXIST AND NARROW MINDED

if u have kids DONT COME HEAR

IT WILL CHANGE THE WAY THEY SEE THE WORLD

only come to this ruined and corrupted contry if you are single and have job offers here and no where else

this place has to be your last option


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Nushrulz thank you for reading and leaving such a moving comment regarding living in Saudi Arabia. I hope that you manage to resolve your problems in a positive way.


UK female 5 years ago

Just spent some time reading through this page. Had considered Nursing in Saudi. Thought would look into the rules/laws. Found this really good, but must say as a single female it has put me off. Do single women ever leave their working and living communities? Is travelling around a definite no? Saudi has never really crossed my mind until i started to look at working over seas. Would i be able to date and have sex? I am not going if not.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi UK female, nice to drop by and leave some comments.. You will be able to get around by yourself but you will have to have a driver as you cannot drive as a woman. As a westerner you will have less problems than for instance a Filipina but you may still encounter some discrimination as a woman.

As to dating and sex I suggest you check out my hub about dating women in Saudi Arabia, it is just as applicable to women wanting to date men even though written from a mans perspective.


Toss of the coin? 5 years ago

Hi there LM and many thanks for posting this really informative article. I knew KSA was quite a restrictive place to live, but I never realized quite how much so! You must have the patient of a saint (oops! I mean 'Wali' :-) to live there. I have just been offered 2 jobs, one in KSA and the other in Qatar and now I know which one I'm going to take. Qatar sounds like Woodstock by comparison! Many thanks again, Matt


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks for reading Matt, I hope you enjoy Qatar.. I actually enjoyed living and Working in Saudi Arabia (I have just escaped), despite the rules it can be quite a fun place to be. In addition to this the main reason for being there was money and the wages and lack of tax were very worth it!


Matt 5 years ago

Indeed! Good salary + no tax = :-) The teaching job I've been offered in Qatar is about £5k less a year than the one in Saudi, but I'm happy to sacrifice that to get the work-life balance right. I'm sure if you've managed to have fun living there, your next destination will seem like a dream! Cheers, Matt.


Engr. 5 years ago

Hi leanman. .ive just read your article and find it very informative. All i want to know is, will i be able to date my girlfriend there? We are both filipinos. .i am working as an engr. in an oil refinery and she is a nurse in one of the hospitals here..by the way we are not in the same city. .thanks!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks for your comments Engr, I hope you are enjoying your time living and working in Saudi Arabia. As to your question about dating your girlfriend, if either of you manage to be able to travel from your workplaces to meet then it is not strictly allowed! I have added a link to my hub about dating in Saudi Arabia to the section above about the mixing of the sexes within Saudi Arabia, that should help you with this problem.


swordfish 5 years ago

what if i want to send MMS with porn content to my country,,will they be able to track it?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Swordfish, the answer is yes they could! If you remember they cut off blackberry last year because they did not have access to their servers to monitor the blackberry messaging. They monitor all phone and internet access, however there is no way that they can check everything so the chances of anything happening are very slim unless of course you use words in your message that are going to be flagged.


nurse 5 years ago

Hi leanman thank you for a very informative article..I am a nurse and waiting for my plane ticket to go to riyadh but im having second thoughts because im afraid of what ive'd heard..any suggestions? thank you very much!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Nurse, thanks for reading.. A little late to be having second thoughts while you are waiting for you flight.As long as you stay within the rules in Saudi Arabia you should be fine. Do your work as expected of you, get paid and enjoy as well as you can.


Akram 5 years ago

Very nice and useful information.


Taunz 5 years ago

What about earrings ? Are they allowed on male?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Taunz, I don't know of any rule against earrings and know many people male and female who wear them. So I guess that earrings are fine in Saudi Arabia.


ukdude 5 years ago

Hi, thanks for the post its awesome! would just like to know what the view is on moving to saudi with your girlfriend, you said if together you must be blood related or married! How do you get around this simply as a couple?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Ukdude....The rules and regulations in Saudi Arabia are pretty clear, if you want to live with your girlfriend you will have to marry her! If you are the one getting the visa to go there to work then you will not be able to get her a visa unless you are married.


isha 5 years ago

what is the average or minimum salary for a senior engineer with more than 15 years experience


timberland 5 years ago

Hi LeanMan! I am a filipino male bi-sexual. I have a job offer in Riyadh Saudi ( Hotel )My question is, am I getting trouble if cant resist to have sex with same sex? please advice. thanks


Unsure 5 years ago

Hi LM, nice article and good reading all the comments. You say there is discrimination to people they see as easy targets, how far does that go?... I am British, but pakistani descent, thinking of taking up a senior architect post in dharhan. I know people come over from Pakistan / India and work as cheap labour and may be treated unfairly. Do you think I may be subjected to the same disrespect even though I am British??


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks for all the recent comments regarding the rules and regulations for working in Saudi Arabia; Timberland you will be in trouble if you are caught, and certainly don't display your preferences openly as this is not allowed within the kingdom. Unsure, you will suffer the same problems as your countrymen as they will not be asking to see your passport before they decide how to act towards you.


Sam 5 years ago

Nice Article by LeanMan. I am totally in opposite position to what LeanMan is. I was born in Saudi and after wasting my childhood, spending boring and serious life I moved to UK. I can assure you that what LeanMan has mentioned is absoluetly true.

There are many compounds for foriegners, about which they are not really bothered about.

Rest wherever you go, you keep your eyes, open, never ever get in conflict with Saudis, unless you are FBI agent.

Lastly, if you are travelling from Western country, they may check your laptop. Last time, one of my friend's laptop was checked as he was dressed like a gay, whereas they were not interested in my laptop and tablet.

I would only suggest you to go into Saudi if you are desperate for money. Also it helps if you are married, as you dont have to date and be worried.

However if you have children, send them to western schools so they dont see themselves wasted.

Thanks LeanMan for this article and hope it helps many others.


curious 5 years ago

Hi Leanman, good article. I was wondering if you have witnessed or heard of any actual punishments against female adultress recently in Riyadh. Do these death sentences actually happen for such so called "crimes" ? it just seems so bizarre, do they actually announce such crimes and individual's names to the public? just wondering.


Eketerina BinCock 5 years ago

Saudi kings and their stupid silly laws are against human freedom. They need to be overthrone like Libya, or the ongoing revolution in Baharain and Syria. The saudis are hypocrites, when they are in the western world they throw away their sheikh robs put up a tight jeans and you will see them in the bars, with prostitutes and are keen in homosexuality (i support homosexuality). To pretend and pray 5 times is a foolish activity. God is in ones heart and how you do good in this world and not to bend several times to show God that you are religious. These saudis rape their maids, torture foreign labours, underpay foreigners. All what you see artificial skyscrappers is the sweat and blood of foreign migrants labours. i would definitely give a gift to the stupid bastards suadis royals a golden embeded satanic verses when i see them in one of the western bars! revolution is the ONLY MEANS OF ACHIEVING HUMAN FREEDOM IN SAUDI ARABIA.


McHemlet Reem 5 years ago

I have seen saudi male royals in western countries sex shops buying dildos, leathers, poppers, whips and boots.They love to be whipped perhaps due to their impotence thats the only way to RELIEVE a supressed human freedom. Saudi Arabia needs democratic and human freedom active involvement, to take these paths the only solution is to OVERTHROW THE SAUDIS ROYALS.


Miss Africa 5 years ago

Hi Leanman, thanks for this as it is very informative. You have mentioned how they discriminate against Indians and Fillipinos women, what about African women how are they treated? I am a Nigerian woman thinking of applying for a job as a Geologist in one of the oil companies. I wouldn't want to move to Saudi if i would be treated as a prostitute and look down on in my workplace. Please advise?


Mark 5 years ago

You have obviously never been to Jeddah, one of the most open cities in KSA, the muttawa lost most of their powers back in 2008, and saying that they are only really seen in Riyadh, having lived and worked out here for 7 years now I can say that the screens in public eating places have long since disappeared, coffee houses such as Starbucks and Costa don't have separate seating for families or singles. On the previous compound I lived on in Riyadh in fact in every compound I have lived since I have been out here has large parties every Wednesday an Thursday where singles of both sexes meet, it is very common for to have a 'FB'. The laws on drugs and booze yes that is right, pork can be bought back across the causeway from Bahrain disguised as turkey meat, and when we lived in dahran we did that almost weekly, where we live now in Jeddah (a large university) women can wear what they like, don't have to cover up, that even on the beach, my wife wears a bikini both at the pool and at the beach, yes it is a totally mixed race environment, Saudi, ex pat, third country nationals, the only time anyone has every said anything to my wife is to comment on the tattoo she has on her shoulder, in dahran you have 'half moon bay beach' a private western only beach, where single men, women and families mix and interact as if anywhere else in the world. Driving, here where we are living women can drive as long as they hold a driving license, in fact the only reason it is illegal for women to drive here is because they can't obtain a license, it is documented that female drivers have been stopped (recently) in Jeddah and then let go to carry on their business. Saudi isn't as harsh as you make it out to be, true it is different, but then again so is every country. Check out a website for the 'king Abdullah university for science and technology' one of the most cosmapoliton places I have ever had the chance of visiting. Apart from that... Good site you have


GoodGravy! 5 years ago

Wonderful insight. Thank you so much. I saw that you mentioned to Ukdude that he will have to marry his girlfriend for her to get a visa. Is it the same for western-only compounds? My boyfriend has been offered a year contract in Riyadh, and I have read elsewhere that SOME compounds allow gfs to move in after 3 months. Have you heard if this is true?

Cheers!


Boody 5 years ago

Well, as a Saudi a man, I have to agree that most of what is written is true. However, I have to add that it's just a picture from only one angle.

For example, please read what Mark just wrote above. One of the main facts about this country is that it's a huge country with completely different rules and people among the cities. Another issue that I mentioned here is the generlisation about the saudies!! Moreover, what are the reasons behind all the rules!! I supposed u forget to mention that a large amount of them, I'm not gonna say the most, are not happy about what's going on here. So that they are waiting for holidays to go out and live as everybody els in this works does.

I always say that this country is in transference phase, we all know that it was controlled by ( mottwas) the religion people over the last 30 years or so, and that what put our country in lots of troubles. Take the driving issue as an example, most of saudies want women to drive for many reasons financially and logically, as I guess, but those people don't agree. And if you know this country as I do, you will find that the last 10 years witnessed changes in most of the rules and in minds as well. As almost 65% of saudies are under 30 years, and with all this media that open the world and affter decades of dominating by religious people, young generations just started to make their life as they want, and started to say NO for whatever they don't like.

In this regard, it's a vital issue that you most to know as non saudies or muslimes, that most of these rulles and opinions are not originally in Islam. The true islam is what alllah and prophet Mohammed say in certin era and circumstances, and you can see easily what people have changed in Islam from that time to now.

Well, I think that's enough, and I just to write my mind when I read this page.

Thanks anyway.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Mark, have been living in Jeddah for some 3 years until very recently! What you say is true for a very small number of restaurants, but they are small in number! As to the beaches, you are talking about private beach resorts which are treated in much the same way as compounds and they will not allow single men in (unless you know the guy selling the tickets!) If your wife were to wear a bikini on a public beach I am sure that something would be said!

Things are changing at a rapid pace as Boody says above but if you are working in Saudi Arabia it is best to follow the many rules when off compound - on compound it is much the same as being in a holiday camp!

As to girlfriends on compounds moving in goodgravy, I think it will depend on your relationship with the compound, I know many that have live in girl friends on compounds (unofficially) however these women are already in Saudi Arabia, getting a visa for a "girlfriend" may be a big problem!


trisha 5 years ago

hello!my husband is working in riyadh,is there a possible way that a man and woman can eat in a restaurant with some friends?


clash 5 years ago

hi lm!what an interesting article..i'm a filipina and my husband is also a filipino..he is working as a company driver in riyadh ksa..is it possible for a filipino man to date a filipina in public place and go to a private place?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Trisha, thanks for reading, if you are married and working in Saudi Arabia then it is fine, the rules prohibiting mixing apply to unaccompanied singles in Saudi Arabia, you can go to any restaurant to socialize, no problem at all. Depending on the restaurant you should also be able to bring some friends even if some are singles. But check ahead as Riyadh can be a strange and unpredictable city.

Clash, as long as you are married then you can do what you like together in Saudi Arabia. However if you are not formally married then the rules of Saudi Arabia are very clear, if you get caught together alone then it is likely that you would be branded a prostitute and arrested and your husband may also find himself in jail and without a job.


saiyogi 5 years ago from India

Hi...

LeanMan.

It was such a helpful article.My life is in such a Mess n i need real help i have no contact with my husband from past 1 month.

1]My husband is in Saudi for past 4 months.In the 1st 2 months he use to make Calls n we also use to video chat.

But suddenly,he lost his connection both Net n Cell cos of some Iqama problem is this possible.

2]Are there no Std booths in Saudi arabia to make calls to india or how can he get a new connection.

Pls HELP.

Thankyou.


degs45 5 years ago

Good article LeanMan very interesting and informative . A couple of quick questions though.

Can you wear shorts and t-shirt when out running ? Is it safe to go out running?

Can you wear a t-shirt when in the public or at work or does it have to be a long sleeve shirt?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thank you for reading degs45, no problem wearing t-shirts as a man, also shorts are ok but generally accepted that knee length is what should be worn.

I am assuming for the purposes of this response that you are a man, if you are a female then you must wear an Abaya in Saudi Arabia at all times in public.

I have been warned not to wear shorts that are above the knee for everyday wear but you do see people that run wearing "normal" western shorts - although not too many people run as it is just too hot!

It is safe to go out running, many people walk around various blocks of the main cities in the early evening for exercise, you may see some runners but they are pretty rare as the temperature is often still in the high 30s even in early evening. Keep to these routes and you should be fine, I always used to take walks along the seafront in Jeddah or Al-Khobar just before the sun went down but stayed on compound for my exercise in Riyadh.


2teas 5 years ago

I am thinking of applying for teaching jobs in Saudi Arabia, but I am a single woman in her 30's and I am worried that I will have no freedom to move about on my own. Will I be able to have a driver if im on my own? Will I have to cover up outside the compound and whilst teaching in an international school? Am seriously having second thoughts after reading your blog.


Degs45 5 years ago

Thanks LeanMan very helpful.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi 2teas, if you are off compound, or outside school then you will have to cover up, you will be able to dress "normally" on the compound where you will live and also within the school (but may be worthwhile checking with your prospective employer.)

To get around you will need to use either taxis or have a driver as you cannot drive yourself. There are many drivers who you can have arrangements with to drive you when you need them rather than have your own dedicated driver, however this is not strictly legal and could be a problem if you happen to be stopped and the police are in a bad mood.


Rey 5 years ago

I am a Filipino architect living in riyadh right now, I actually like this city more than jeddah, bcoz i find a lot of malls here and more places to find bargain stuffs. I am actually living in jeddah but was assigned here temporarily to handle some projects... I have been to Alkhobar Dharanh and Dammam in the eastern province work there in Aramco as a Supplemental manpower, I can say those eastern cities are far best for first time ex-pats specially inside Saudi Aramco Dharanh the rules out side don't apply inside...

What you wrote there is absolutely true... I enjoyed reading the hub...Thanks ;)


cariward 5 years ago

hi i have just been offered a job teaching at a university in riyahd i am very similar in situation to 2teas above after reading the info on here i am seriously wondering if i am doing the correct thing - how on earth do you get driven in a car if the drivers are all male being realistic would there be any quality of life as a single female i have a long term partner here in the uk but he obviously would not be able to visit me - i thought that the experience would be good as i specialise in advanced building technology but am i being very stupid to even consider this option


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Reys, thanks for your comments, good to know that you are enjoying working in Saudi Arabia, just as I am currently enjoying your home country.

Cariward, you have to consider your motivations for going to Saudi Arabia vs all of the rules and regulations that you will have to follow. Most people working in Saudi Arabia are there for one reason and that is the money! You will have a higher salary, all tax free and no accommodation to pay for etc. A few years living in Saudi Arabia can make a huge difference to your future finances.


Anas sikder 5 years ago

i think saudi laws is a stupid iaw. i am a muslim. but in holy quran there is no indication to do this kind stupid work.fir doing this world human write is going to the hell.saudi arab have to stop this work.recantly,they have killed 8 bangladsehi people.i know they were thief.but to happy 1 family ,they took 8 man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Neo 5 years ago

Dude, you seem to be racist and don't

seem to reply to questions by Indians.

You have the nerve to call Saudis racist.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Neo, well dude you obviously have not read all my comments! Who have I failed to respond to, I don't reply to all general comments but I try to reply to requests for help, sometimes by email rather than on here if the advice may cause problems by having it readily available - like how to bend the rules a little! Perhaps you should pop over to my hub about visas as well as this one about Saudi rules and regulations where you will see I answer questions from everyone especially Indians, or maybe I should forward you the pile of emails that I have thanking me for the advice given after replying to their emails, or maybe you would just rather give abuse to vent your feelings of frustration for some reason..

Have a nice day!


Neo 5 years ago

Dude, no hard feelings. Overall I agree with your

comments. Be a little considerate about Saudis. Not all are bad. :)

Good job.

Thanks for the reply.

Cheers!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Never any hard feelings Neo, everyone is entitled to an opinion.

The rules and regulations in Saudi Arabia are there to keep their society the way they want it, it is just a pity that there are so many that openly ignore the values that the society is built upon.

There are many good Muslims that follow their religion as they should but there is a minority that do not, but like any "bad news" they overshadow the good!

I love the time I have spent in KSA, I have no problem following their rules in public. There are few places in the world where I have felt as safe as I do in Saudi Arabia despite being a westerner!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Never any hard feelings Neo, everyone is entitled to an opinion.

The rules and regulations in Saudi Arabia are there to keep their society the way they want it, it is just a pity that there are so many that openly ignore the values that the society is built upon.

There are many good Muslims that follow their religion as they should but there is a minority that do not, but like any "bad news" they overshadow the good!

I love the time I have spent in KSA, I have no problem following their rules in public. There are few places in the world where I have felt as safe as I do in Saudi Arabia despite being a westerner!


Bruning profile image

Bruning 5 years ago

I have read some of this hub and it is very true.

bur regarding taxes there is no tax at all as you mentioned

"but at the end of the day we are here for the money and the lack of taxes to pay!"

I am still in KSA :)


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Bruning I hope you enjoy living in Saudi Arabia, and as to the tax, It was probably my number one reason for working there!

No tax and good wages, I earned about 3 times what I was earning in the UK and paid no tax. Have bought two houses and not worked for a year after a good stint in Saudi following their rules and regulations, it was worth it.


AR 5 years ago

Hi, I found your hub to be quite entertaining and informative.I would be grateful for any pointers you could give me on some questions I have.I am from india, 31 years, single male.I have an offer to work in Saudi.I am a Piping Engineer.My question is that I have lots of technical ebooks and pdf's (literally gigabytes),alongwith some softwares which are pirated. Will I face problem at entry to saudi? I am hindu by religion. Can I take my prayer books in pdf format and god photos / images to saudi? Or will the religious police create trouble? Thanks in advance for your reply.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi AR, your software etc should be fine. There are no rules or Regulations in Saudi about checking for these on your computer before entry into KSA.

As to your religious items on the computer; they make the most fuss about the bible and christian paraphernalia so I am sure you will be fine.

You keep hearing people talk about laptops being checked but quite frankly I have yet to meet anyone who has been checked or knows anyone; it is always a friend of a friend!


Hugo59 5 years ago

Useful info, Thanks. I will be traveling to KSA for the first time soon. Is it ok to bring in a dive knife into the country? Also, any problem carrying a knife or straight razor on your person in Riyadh or elsewhere in KSA?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Hugo, thanks for reading about Saudi rules and regulations. I will be honest I am not 100% sure about the actual laws regarding carrying concealed weapons but I would say that it is not a good idea and personally I don't think is something you would ever need!


Adrian 5 years ago

I was expat in Jeddah back in the '80s and having read all of LeanMan's hubs on the subject - everything he writes is spot-on and I guess not too much has changed in 30 years.

Yes, it's a place of weird contradictions, extreme laws, monumental hypocracy, alien culture. It is strange and beautiful, fun, and sometimes scary. I survived and have some great memories: wild parties, exploring the desert and the mountains, diving in the red sea, the wonderfully crazy driving, great workmates, earning heaps of money, smuggling women into the compound (by the mini-busload), oh and did I mention the wild parties?

All this was in Jeddah - Riyadh was distinctly more austere, every city has its own culture and you just have to play to the local rules. Like LeanMan, I loved the place and had a terrific time. LeanMan's hubs should be required reading for all budding expats.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Adrian, thanks for reading and the praise!

The wild parties are one of the many benefits of working in Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh they were very much confined to the compounds and even there we had to make sure they did not create too much of a disturbance - in Jeddah however I had many more wild parties off compound at private beaches, in the desert, and at private villas and apartments - as you say the culture of each city is very different as are the people.

Working in Saudi Arabia has been one of the most rewarding times of my life, financially and otherwise. The Saudi rules and regulations although extreme are not so bad that you can't enjoy your life to the full with a little thought!


Alex Keats 5 years ago

Hi LeanMan,

Though I'm English, I have grown up in India. I'm obviously concerned about the lifestyle of a single man in Saudi Arabia, but like everyone agrees, people are there for the money and no taxes.

So you think 11,000 SAR a month is a good deal for a single man?

Cheers!

Alex.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Alex, as a single man the world is your oyster as they say, especially so in Saudi Arabia (read my hub on dating in Saudi Arabia!)

If you are going to be working in Saudi Arabia then you should go there to enjoy and experience life within the rules of Saudi Arabia - at least in public!

As to your salary it depends on the job and your experience, and if the salary is before your accommodation costs etc. You can check average salaries on I think Bayt.com if you want to compare.

I earned (well - was paid) 4 times that for a senior management position! But if you have no commitments you should still be able to save several thousand every month very easily even after having a wild lifestyle.


Omania 5 years ago

I dont know why would live in Saudi while you have 5 free countries near it. I'm an arab and i toured in ALL arab countries. all were normal except KSA and thats where u chose to live!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Omania, because we are working in Saudi Arabia; that is why we remain here for high wages and zero taxes! The Saudi rules that restrict our freedoms are the price we pay for the money we earn.


satya1802 profile image

satya1802 5 years ago

Hey Lean Man,

Thanks for very informative Hub; I completely agree with you that you can’t achieve all, to get something good you must scarify other things in life.

Me I am from India worked 14 years in India could not even reach even USD 1000 per month, then I decided to look outside India, I got opportunity to work in Tanzania, for two years on 1200 USD per month, then last 6 years in Kenya started at USD 1200 and now I am getting USD 2500 plus nominal perks, funny enough to hear I am working as a General Manager.

Now I have been selected at Obeikan Group- Riyadh ( Plastic Division) as a Plant Manager , Unfortunately my degree is from Private collage so getting Visa of "Production Engineering Technician" , and will get SR 22,000 per month + 3 months’ salary that’s 66,000 ( annual)as a House allowance, round trip to India every year for my family and me, Company car etc.

I accepted the offer and joining by Feb 2012; I enjoyed my life like Western guys in Kenya, had fun, night clubs, camping etc… but finally did not satisfy myself because of growing age and very little growth in salary.

I am 43 now; Have tree kids studying in India, For a Quality Education for their bright future needs a lot of money man.

I believe in one thing, If you are going out of your country, you have to change as per the situation in that country, or don't leave your country and don't complain.

Most of the times I will stay at Riyadh alone, except my kid’s vacation period my family will come and stay with me may be for two months. Still I know I will enjoy the life there. My wife always says whenever you feel lonely just open your net banking and see the savings you did for your kids you will feel good and you will say worth to scarify the social life.

Hope to see you Lean Man if you are at Riyadh.

Thanks and regards

Satya


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Good luck Satya, habari gani, I love Kenya also... Have spent some time there touring around.

Sometimes you are right; we have to make sacrafices and follow all of the Saudi Rules so that we can make money to support our families. I hope you enjoy working in Saudi Arabia again.


satya1802 profile image

satya1802 5 years ago

Jambo Leanman , mimi ni Mzuri sana , nice to hear from you that you have been to kenya.

and thanks for making me strong , I was confussed , but heard about going to Manama over the wkdn is a good idea for a single man etc....

keep in touch .....

satya1802@hotmail.com

God bless you and yoru family....

by the way I have seen some of your hubs about lean management systems ......It will help me in my training programms , I do train people for Kaizen, QIP , Six sigma etc....

keep in


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Satya, good luck, follow the saudi rules while you are there and by all means head over the bridge at the weekend to let off a little steam. I have driven from Riyadh to Al-Khobar many times, it takes about 4 hours - the trouble is the queue over the bridge if you time it wrong is often longer..

Working in Saudi Arabia has never been too much of a restriction for me, on the compounds and other private places you can pretty much do what you like - but be good you have a family.

Good luck with all of your training - if you ever need any help just use the "contact leanman" button in the top right part of the hub below my picture.


Rami 5 years ago

Hi LeanMan

I'm saudi and im from jeddah. I lived in the u.s.a for 5 yrs and Canada for 1 yr and now im in south africa for 3 months and coming back to Riyadh December 17. As a saudi i understand why other countries find k.s.a a bad place to live in. I don't like many things in k.s.a but in the end it's my country. I want everyone to understand that our culture is so complicated so the saudi society needs time to make some changes and actually they are happening now. I'm 30 yrs old and i can assure u that k.s.a today is not the same 10 or 15 yrs ago...i knw changes r slow but as i said we need time due to the strict culture. My argument is that many foreigners in k.s.a hate living there so why going there even if it's for money cuz money is not everything.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thank you for your comments Rami, many of us working in Saudi Arabia actually like being here, the rules in Saudi are not so bad once you are used to them, you just go with the flow! (However I would not want to be a woman!)

I have seen many changes even in the short time that I have been there, i just hope that Saudi keeps making improvements.


Rami 5 years ago

Yes i agree with u women don't have much freedom in k.s.a and saudies r talking about this and want to change this. You have to know that thousands and thousands of saudies live now in many countries over the world for education and work so they r more open mind and that's will be helpful when they return back to k.s.a. However after living outside k.s.a for more than 6 yrs i know that too much freedom is not always good... one of the things i like about living in k.s.a is that it's safe and the crime rate is low and im not saying that cuz im saudi but it's the true..

Anyway i want to say to everyone that there is no such a perfect place. unfortunately some of the international media send a bad image about k.s.a and that saudies r not friendly but not that is not true...it's normal that not all people r nice and it's everywhere.

LeanMan maybe one day we can meet in riyadh and have a nice conversation...wish the best for everyone who wants to come to k.s.a no matter who u r :)


Victor 5 years ago

Hi LeanMan,

Thanks for this very informative hub. It gave me a lot of information about Saudi Arabia, especially about it's culture. I've been here in Saudi Arabia for 1 year and 6 months in exact but i am still unaware some of it's rules and laws not until i finally found and read your hub. I hope you won't stop giving advice to those people who want to come in Saudi and those who are already here.

More Power!


Jaysie profile image

Jaysie 5 years ago from Philippines

Hi Mr LeanMan

This is Ferry as i read your hub i become interested as i love to work too in middle east. Your hub help us alot! i just want to ask a question if you have a LIFETIME BAN IN UAE do you think it applies to all GCC countries?? please if you know something pls kindly share it because i do have lots of offer going GCC coubtries specially in Saudi Arabia....

Thanks in Advance :-)


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Jaysie,

Your lifetime ban in the UAE will not apply to other countries, although if they stamped anything in your passport it may be worth losing your current one and getting a replacement.

The reason that I say this is that the Saudis for instance will stamp prostitute in Arabic if you are deported due to being caught with a member of the opposite sex; this is not going to go very well if you are looking to be working in Saudi Arabia and arrive with that stamped in you passport at immigration!

Good luck with finding work in the gulf.


Jaysie profile image

Jaysie 5 years ago from Philippines

thanks for the replied.. now im worried i do have stamped but that kind of stamped is only in my visa sticker for my previous work in UAE and i really don't know what kind of stamped is that? im just thinking that is only cancellation stamped, im being confused now coz my visa date there till 2013 but i do have stamped on that sticker what should i do now???? as i know that all deported w different offense would get stamped on their passport.

Do you think that's the stamped you said????

i tried to removed that sticker but i return it back again coz it damaged the page of my passport. now im thinking if ill get a new passport as i know its not easy to get a new one :-( pls advise me again and ill do my best to follow your advise..

Thanks alot! Mr LeanMan i really appreciate Your big help....

Jaysie


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Jaysie,

Send me an email through the contact leanman button below my profile picture and I will give you some advice as to how you can get around your passport problem.

It is likely that if you were deported for the reasons you told me elsewhere that the stamp may not be very complimentary and will not be very helpful if you are wanting to be working in Saudi Arabia.

I look forward to receiving your email and will reply promptly.


Jaysie profile image

Jaysie 5 years ago from Philippines

Hi I sent a message already to your contact THANK YOU! very much...

God Bless! :-)


LordSwah 5 years ago

Hi LeanMan!

I am a bloke looking to work in KSA in the near future (From UK) and your articles are a exactly what i've been trawling the internet the past few weeks - an insider's experience.

I do have a query about playing online poker. I know gambling is prohibited but if i access pokersites when in a compound (on my own laptop)what are the chances of getting caught and moreso what would the punishment be!

Also will i have access to Broadband and Western sattelite TV (mainly Premier league football!) when on a compound?

Keep up the good articles i am now excited and terrified in equal measure ha ha!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Lord Swah,

You will have access to satellite tv and will be able to watch the footie, it is not prohibited in Saudi Arabia in fact they are keen players and supporters.

As to broadband, I have used the various mobile networks broadband and found them quite satisfactory for use just about anywhere in the kingdom. However the censorship in the kingdom is very effective and you will find it next to impossible to access your poker sites.

Try to set up a proxy server before you go (several of them to be sure) so that you can surf and play as if you were outside the kingdom. I tried to set up from within the kingdom had too many problems and so did the works IT people who tried in vain!

The other alternative is to pay for satellite broadband which is a little more expensive but does not come "through" the Saudi system and you can therefore avoid the censorship issues.

If you have any other questions feel free to contact me, also let me know how you get on in Saudi Arabia and how you put up with the Saudi Rules and Regulations.


satya1802 profile image

satya1802 5 years ago

Hey Leanman,

It has become a routine job for me to read your hub every day and get to know what problems people are facing which I may face when I will come there and thanks for trying to solve everyone’s problem.

I wiuld like to know about the satellite broadband internet, is there any provider at Riyadh and how much it will cost for a month looking at 2mb speed.

Secondly If I will subscribe VPN service, will I be able to use Torrents site to download movies and music and browse the social sites like tagged or MySpace which I heard are blocked in KSA.

Good day and God bless you


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

I will be honest I am not up to date with regard to satellite broadband providers in Riyadh.. I have been using the mobile internet through Mobily which costs 200riyals for 5gb or 350riyals for unlimited per month. I have found this ok for my use.

There are many sites that are blocked and sometimes a site that you could access one day will be blocked the next.

Set up a proxy server service before you go to Saudi to change your IP address as if you were outside the country and you will have no problem.


raeae 5 years ago

This article not complete, tell saudi's positive side also..


wasyfries 5 years ago

Hi LeanMan

Your site has been very informative and comical both at the same time. I am experiencing most of the things you have mentioned and was stopped at a shopping mall as I was not with my wife.

I am desperate for some information . My wife has been employed by a recruitment company along with 70 other teachers to teach at a university.

We have been honored with most of the contractual agreements but now that we have to be issued our permanent housing the company is changing its story. The contract states that all teachers will receive a housing allowance based on a percentage of their salary or live on a compound. The company has informed my wife that no teachers will be getting a housing allowance and that the only option is to move to the compound, which for us is not possible as it is a ladies only compounder only. This has caused a lot of the women to leave already as they where expecting to be able to bring families over. So is this all legal? Can a company bring you over on false pretenses. Is the contract binding and can we hold the company to the contract.

Any info would be greatly appreciated

annon.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Wasyfries,

Signed contracts are binding and you can take the company to court in Saudi Arabia over any changes they are trying to make - however; it could take a considerable time to be heard in court and you would have to pay an attorney to represent you etc. This can become quite expensive (I was quoted over 80,000 riyals for a dispute I had that according to the attorney was an open and shut case, that was going to take over a year in their courts)

Saudi employers often change terms of contracts or fail to give exactly what was agreed knowing that it is almost impossible for most expats to get through the Saudi legal system.

If you cannot persuade the employer to change their minds then you have two choices that I can see - your wife goes alone or she applies for a different job.

But try to talk calmly with the employer first as most can be persuaded and they do actually look at the family as being important - do not accept we will look at once your wife is here as she cannot escape once she is there and if they decide not to change anything then you will be separated until the employer sees fit to issue exit visas - and I have emails from a teacher at one of the Saudi universities in Riyadh who is being refused exit visas to be with their family!!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Raeae, I think I have covered the positives of working in Saudi Arabia! Read some of my other articles on Saudi Arabia not just this one about Saudi Rules and regulations which are very restrictive when looked at from any other country in the world - even other Muslim countries.


wasyfries 5 years ago

Hi LeanMan

Thanks for the reply,I will keep u updated on what happens.


Juffair 5 years ago

A few questions for you. I'm moving to Jeddah after years in Bahrain. I am pretty sure I have the option of bringing my car with me. Is life infinitely better in Jeddah with transportation? I'm going to be a bit off the grid (KAMC) so I am guessing a car will help but I don't want to deal with no parking/traffic jams, etc. What do you think?

Also, leaving Bahrain I realize the social scene will be different in Jeddah than here. Can you speak to the fun factor? For example I know it is very fun living in Khobar as there are always things to do and lots of outgoing people. I even here that Riyadh has a thriving western expat social scene. What about Jeddah? It's not a snoozefest other than diving is it?

Finally is Jeddah airport really as bad as they say it is?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Juffair, If you are working in Jeddah then a car will be essential, I could not imagine life without a car...

The rules and regulations in Saudi Arabia are enforced far more than in Bahrain, and of course there are no bars or clubs so your main socializing will be on compound although once you get to know people I am sure you will get to find the right beaches to go to and other places.

Read some of my other hubs (follow the links below) and you can find out more.


mboamens 5 years ago

Hi ,am Ghanaian ,someone has promise to offer me a jobs in KSA. am computer systems administrator. could you please tell me how i will be treated as Ghana in KSA and the salary per month in Dollars


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi mboamens, if you are are going to be working in Saudi Arabia then you may wish to read my other articles about working in the country, especially about how expats are treated by Saudis. You can find links to these articles below this comments area.

As to salary that would be between yourself and your employer,although you can compare salaries on bayt.com for your industry.


Bryan 5 years ago

Nice hub Mr. LeanMan..

I am about to leave within this week bound to saudi, I am gathering information with regards to the country until i found this hub saying anything you want to know about the country..

Though you clearly stated, i want to ask about the way they check the laptop if in case they did... coz i have many downloaded songs and movies in my laptop, i am worried they confiscate the laptop even all the movies are wholesome...

and one more thing, is bringing a dslr camera not really a big deal?

also i have microsoft zune which has a music and movies, is there any chance of checking all these gadgets?

hope for your immediate response in this regards... thanks for the informations here...


Juffair 5 years ago

Thanks LeanMan! I felt a little daft after I posted that comment and saw your other hubpages. Great insight. Let me ask you, what's the avaerage interval between petrol stations from Riyadh to Jeddah?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Bryan,

I have already mentioned this a few times but it is unlikely that your laptop will be checked, I hear stories but have yet to have anyone actually say that they have had it happen to them. If all the movies are wholesome as you say then you would have nothing to worry about anyway as you are not going to break any of the Saudi rules.

Your camera will be fine.

Enjoy working in Saudi Arabia.

Juffair, I always make sure that I fill up when I am around a quarter of a tank just to make sure - but I guess the biggest gap is about an hour and a half at the most.


Northy 5 years ago

Hi. I am just about to move to Dammam (but hopefully live in Khobar) Thank you for all the information you have put on as this really does help when making a decision on moving to KSA.

A few questions if you dont mind.

Will my lap top be searched I want to bring photo's of my family and pets so nothing offensive I was wondering if they will be allowed.

How safe is it for a westerner when tarvelling to and from work etc and going out at night

Can you also put some information about how to set up a bank account and can this be done up front and what is the best offshore bank to use to pay bills at home etc.

Driving before I get my Iqama (spelt wrong I guess)can I drive on my UK licence. my company will be giving me a car allowance of 2500 sar per month will this be enough for a decent car?

I will be paid 25,000 per month is this a decent salary? Housing allowance of 125,000 per annum will that get me a decent place?

Sorry for so many questions but I think there will be more to come.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi northy, good to hear that you will be working in Saudi Arabia. Your salary etc are fine but if you want to compare the salary within your actual job go to bayt.com. You can drive fine on an international license although they say you have to convert to a Saudi one within 3 months (I drove on a UK license for over 3 years..lol)

Your photos on your laptop will be fine, I think I have answered the laptop question several times in the comments now.

I never used an offshore bank account, I banked direct in Saudi Arabia and just transferred home to the UK what I needed. A bank account in KSA is very easy to open once you have your Iqama.

As to safety, I spent many evenings wondering around stores and seafront there, just make sure you don't break any of the Saudi Rules whilst you do..

Driving in the area is another matter, use the links below to read some of my other articles, there are some videos of the Damman and Al-Khobar roads and how people drive in there!! Be very careful and be sure of yourself before venturing out in a car!!

As to going out, your location is great as you can pop across the bridge to Bahrain for a night out as long as your sponsor gives you an exit re-entry visa.

Enjoy your time in Saudi Arabia, follow the Saudi laws and don't get in trouble and you will have a swell time.


patty 5 years ago

Going to Saudi soon...and as a flight attendant I always travel with my trusty stuffed animal....but I've seen some sites that say that they are banned...is this so?

Let me know...he's very special to me..if that is the case then I will leave him home.

TY Patty


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi patty I have never heard of any Saudi rules regarding soft toys (I assume you mean a toy rather than an actual animal that has died and been stuffed!) They sell soft toys in the kingdom and have a Toys R Us and other similar stores with these on the shelves so I can't see any reason to worry!


Juffair 5 years ago

Since this is still Q&A let me chime in! Is it true that most official business (forms) in KSA must be completed in BLUE INK? Should I throw out all of my black pens right now? I have heard nightmare stories about people standing in queues for long periods of time only to be told their forms could not be accepted because they were not completed in blue ink. Another friend of mine claims to have had the same experience but it involved a two hour drive!

What's with the blue ink?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Juffair, I can't say I have had any problems with Ink color - my pens are generally black ink and I have never had any problems in Saudi Arabia or heard of others having a problem!

The problem I usually have is that they will find any reason to reject anything in the hope that I will buckle under and offer a bribe!


Anonymous 5 years ago

Hi im a female and i am a medical secretary. To work in hospitals, doctor rooms...what are the dress code?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Anonymous,

If you work within a hospital or a doctors clinic generally the Saudi dress code is slacks and long jacket with full length sleeves although you will see some women wearing the full Abaya. Most employees are however foreign and are more likely to be wearing the jacket. Certainly no one will be wearing skirts or anything with a plunging neckline! The western nurse with short skirt and stockings is only a dream for those working in Saudi Arabia.


Ambreen Saeed 5 years ago

i was born in riyadh n nw im 21 yrs old n living in jeddah......sometimes i really hate restrictions....why they are not allowing driving for females..............i want to drive (bcz sometimes i need......) lolzzz. Actually problem is in the brains of saudi males.....


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Ambreen, I wish that Saudi Women were allowed to drive as I think it would improve the driving in KSA a huge amount - and I love your reasons for all these Saudi restrictions!


Mark 4 years ago

hi, i want to ask about the case of my friend. he is working here in Riyadh since 2009 until now. last October 2011, he was aprehended by mutawa or religious police with his wife accusing that they possessed fake marriage contract. after 2 days their respective sponsor took them from jail and they were release by police officer. Now, he is planning to go exit next month January 2012. Can he go for exit without any problem in the airport immigration in Riyadh?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Mark, I don't see any reason for a problem if they were released with no charges being made. If there is a problem it will show up when the sponsor applies for the exit visa anyway.


berrieblount 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan,

Interesting read here. I have some questions. I am a black African born female and married to a US citizen. He has been offered a job in KSA. I read some comments about how Filipino females are treated. Are there many black people in KSA and how are they treated in general. Can dependents work over there and is the process easy. I am a Mental health Nurse (with is different to general nursing) with a UK qualification. Please advise and thanks in advance.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Berrieblount, there are a lot of "black" Saudis, black and white discrimination does not seem to be an issue there in Saudi Arabia, discrimination is all very much down to perceived social standing - so citizens of "third world" countries that generally work as maids and the like are treated very poorly - even openly and publicly abused. You may want to read some of my other articles for which you can find links in the section just below.

Dependents cannot work in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi rules are that you can only work for your sponsor so your sponsor would be your husband! Some do work however but this is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

You should also get your husband to check if he can bring you - not all companies and visas will support your joining him!


berrieblount 4 years ago

hi Leanman, thanks for your reply.

What would you say are the general jobs that are common amongst dependents. Are there recruitment agencies in KSA and can dependents approach them for jobs.

I understand that your sponsor would be you husband. I read somewhere that when some company wants to hire dependent legally, they request for a written approval of her husband-sponsor. And after that they may transfer her iqama under the company`s name.What is the likelihood of this being true. My husband's job will support me to join him. PS its proving difficult to find Nursing Jobs in my field. Are mental illnesses and hospitals common in KSA? Thanks

also when i mention KSA to my friends they are advising me not to go because its a war zone. That is not true right? thanks


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi again Berrieblount,

Yes it is possible to transfer you sponsorship to an employer from your husband if you find employment, but you should be careful in doing so as you would be then under the "control" of your new sponsor. You must consider this when choosing a new sponsor, I have heard of some wives been forced to take "company" accommodation after they have started working for new sponsors and other problems!

There are many hospitals and many mental problems from my observations as well as addiction problems. I am not sure about specific hospitals for mental problems and have never seen any but have heard about people being treated in the general hospitals for these problems.

As to being a war zone, I don't see it nor do any of my friends around Saudi, but I would not work on the border with the Yemen!


a1 4 years ago

i wish to get married over here in riyadh.. im english and currently on a business visa and my partner is filipino with iqama.. is it possible and if so can you point me in the right direction


chineseeye 4 years ago

two thumbs up for you LeanMann! you're awesome! i have been here for six years and everything you write are true and correct. i remember when i was still new in saudi, i was passing in front of a mutawa office in manila market when someone stop me and ask me to sit inside their office for more than 3 hours and my violation: walking like a lady! LOL... asking if i am gay, of course i have to say NO... (for the first time in my life, i have denied my preferences). they did nothing but lecture me of do's and don't...

anyway, i was here to ask also, if you don't mind?

for six years i am taking my annual vacation every 30th of December and as of today everything are ready except for my exit/re-entry which has been provided almost every last week before i leave until i heard a very bad news this morning! my sponsor died...(may he RIP) does it will affect my vacation!

thank you for you favorable response on this matter.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi a1, thank you for reading.. It is possible to marry in Saudi Arabia, no problems. I assume you are Christian rather than Muslim so you will need to either go to the Philippines or the UK embassy and get the ball roll there. I married in the Philippines embassy in Jeddah to my Filipino bride, but be aware there is a lot of paperwork to get together to prove you are single and so forth.

Good luck, maybe see you in the Philippines one day when you are finished working in Saudi Arabia.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Chineseeye, thank you for your story of "breaking" the rules in Saudi Arabia. You should never admit you are gay in KSA, you would have so many problems!

As to your vacation it would depend on who applies for your exit/entry visa, if it is normally your sponsor himself then you may have a problem and potentially a very long vacation coming up! I know it is inconvenient but wait a few days to talk to your sponsors family when things are more relaxed.


Northy 4 years ago

Hi

Can you give me a few costs for things like mobile phone and internet etc? do they work in the same way as the UK, cheap if not fgree phone on certain tarifs? also does the internet contarct work the same way here,x amount free for your monthly cost?.

Any tips on what I should bring with me other than work wear and normal clothing


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Northy,

Phone and Internet services are pretty similar to the UK..

I paid 200 riyals a month for my inernet connection through mobily and that was sufficient for me.

You can find most things that you have in the UK in the supermarkets in KSA as long as you are going to one of the major cities. Marmite, gravy powder and a few other things can be hard to find but just shop around the different stores.

Most things are a similar price to UK to buy in stores but you other expenses will be way down such as petrol so you will not find it hard to save.

As to what to bring, follow the Saudi rules and don't bring some of the things listed above such as bacon, porn and booze!

Enjoy working in Saudi Arabia.


Prashant 4 years ago

hi Lean Man,

Thanks for the info on Saudi, i HAVE WORKED IN Dubai for 3 years which is far more relaxed than Saudi............tell me is it one of the world most dangerous places to work in vis-à-vis the rules set by them......i know the saudis are a hypocrite lot u find many saudis enjoyin booze and women in UAE.........leaving everthing written in QURAN out of the window....its a gud place 2 save money....is money the only driving factor to live in saudi.....dont u feel the freedom 2 express and life beyond is critical.....like moving with family....i suspect how the saudis treat their own mothers and daughters.....thank GOD I Live in India which is very secular and democratic...i can do anything..the fear from religious police is very minimal here.


Subarub 4 years ago

Hi to everyone! Ahlan

I must say the post was a quick guide to Saudi for westerners, informative but acute - an adjustment manual to say.

However with all the truth there is the trunk missing. Having lived, worked in Riyadh, Jeddah for many years on/off I have a complete different story. My interest in Saudi was after having my first child. We had a visit from a mid-wife in our South London flat and we were intrigued. Extremely beautiful, courteous and mature - she happened to delve into her previous trip. We were astounded for her mention the middle-east, then Saudi more precisely. Funnily she mentioned wearing just next to nothing under her abaya; and not having to groom her hair hours on end before work. Nonetheless after leaving, me and the wife decided to get some books and found very little apart from traveller guides. WWe researched, read and thought we try out Riyadh. In 2003 I got a job as an English teacher coupled with IT. We met our employers in London and was a contrasting event to recruitment I've been to before. there we met at a hotel, had a great lunch and tested. After a day or two accepted with no quirks. I remember going to Hyde park with interviewer for a after tour. Shockingly the bearded Arab was called a suicide bomber - something he took on the chin effortlessly. Anyway, months passed I waited for the papers and no sooner was in Riyadh. A pleasant journey, but again saw an incident which alarmed me. At the airport an American passenger was aggressively commenting on another passenger, who was clearly a Muslim and religious, another verbal attack. Nevertheless he was silent. Thoroughly shocked by this behavior I still took little notice and ventured on in the land of the desert.

I worked for many years, and like the mid-wife mentioned wad the greatest joys I can remember. There's many reasons I wanted to travel, money, weather but all in all was peace. Having lived and worked in London for over 27 years, life was tiring, miserable and over-rated. The endless daily commute on UK public transports, buses, trains, tube - people sad and depressed except a few. The new shift of life to me was the best move I've ever done. I lived with Arabs and with hand on heart, say that even there is many who are described evil, I never saw no nonsense.

Imagine, coming from south London a place of daily, crime, killings, muggings, stabbings, accidents, rape, abuse, burglaries, road-rages etc etc... to hearing the opposite. I read in a comparison table that UK crime is 200 times more than Saudi; that's official international registered figures not Walt Disney stuff.

Anyway, for me and my wife and the kids its been amazing, yes, awkward at times but most UK people are not used to Muslim laws. We live for entertainment and success, but Saudi has much more a spiritual climate than any country in the world. For example 3 million people come just for 10-30 days to do the Haj, a Muslim duty. That's like the Olympic games every year here. For this reason of being the centre of Muslim focus, the country is and has been gratefully of the trillions brought in the economy yearly. Henceforth, this service can only be upheld if the country is in totality with it's law and order. I used to find the criticisms odd and frequent. Then one day, whilst in the largest supermarket in Jeddah I spoke to a off duty shelf-stacker from Bangladesh. He informed me that coming to Saudi has been a survival for his family and he loved the country and the living standard compared to home; after 5 years his employers are going to grant his family stay.

Likewise I met some with harsher stories but with end results of gratefullness of work and opportunity. Saudi for all the people I spoke to had been an excellent career move. Except for those looking for vice. And I agree that it seems hard, but prevention is better than cure. We may curse at the social mouldings, but the lifestyle is cleaner, healthier and more stress free.

For example, theres this rage about the disengaged youth, I think they are lucky. In UK the kids are more geared up for crime than 3rd world cities. bitching, moaning spoilt brats who never seen hardship in a day let alone a year. And they're uncultured and uncivilized. The respect has been flushed and there's nothing but an ego war.

Getting back to Saudi, having taught and engaged with the youth I find them more fun and natural and interesting. Maybe.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Prashant, thank you for reading. I hope that you manage to endure working in Saudi Arabia and follow all of the rules that they set out without too many problems. We all are there for one reason; money!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Subarub, nice piece of propaganda you have written there about how foul the west is and how wonderful Saudi Arabia is! I like Saudi Arabia, I can't deny that - but I don't like the hypocritical BS behavior of so many of its people!!

I like to present both sides of things personally, and try to present data with some reality rather than religious wishes! The crime rates are lower for many things - but rape and abuse is much higher than anywhere else in my opinion, but women cannot report it as they would be the ones punished! I have met so many runaway workers that have told me how they were sexually and physically abused whilst working in Saudi Arabia but had no way to deal with it!! I have met a handful of people in other countries that have had a tales of abuse but in Saudi I meet someone new every day with a story like this! I have also seen the behavior first hand at parties where Saudi men have forced themselves on women and boasted about drugging them!

Look at my hub about how Saudis treat expats; the polls and how people vote tell you everything - the majority of workers report being abused verbally and many physically especially those from poorer countries!!

I felt safer in the streets in KSA and did not fear street crime as such, but women should not be on the streets alone, my wife was grabbed by a man who tried to attack her and she had to defend herself with a knife! Our neighbor was grabbed by two men who tried to drag her into their car in a "nice" neighborhood, thankfully she managed to escape!

As to the youth, I have been privileged enough to sit with large groups of teenagers to early 20s at family events; ALL wanted to leave Saudi Arabia and its harsh religious rules! However all were well behaved and discussed things intelligently which is very unlike the behavior of many of our youth in the west now!!

The shelf stackers from Bangladesh that you mention are paid high wages in relation to their home countries but the wages are barely enough to survive in KSA! Wages are minimal for many and you will see many of them begging on the streets for money and food to help them survive!

I find in my experience that to highlight problems and make everyone aware of them is the first step to solving them, people who bury the problems and deny they exist just propagate the problems! It is time that people stopped denying these problems exist and pointing the fingers at others and dealt with the problems honestly and openly! Then maybe Saudi Arabia would have a society that they could be proud of!


subaru 4 years ago

You have a fair point I can say, but your opinions are very narrow and deeply surface level. Call me a sympathetic Saudi lover, but western living is at rock bottom with all values. You hollow that women are suppressed and sex slaves, but how do you know anything when you have less tha


subaru 4 years ago

Cont.

than an iota of Arabic reading and writing knowledge? Your pages sound like a 'sun' readers guide rather a factual account based real evidence - primary source. For example take the 'guide to dating women' supersetted with trashy. YouTube vids? You should write for the news of the world, because its a stream of acute stories. Nothing original, stick toyour day Jo


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Subaru, working in Saudi Arabia and many other countries in the world has opened my eyes to many things. No country is perfect, none ever will be. No individual is ever perfect and what people perceive as perfect will always be different.

That being said, I have my opinion as to how people should behave in a civilized world, and that includes honesty, equality, and a respect for others - something that I find sorely lacking in my dealings within Saudi Arabia. I have seen with my own eyes, heard with my own ears how Saudis treat others and their women and can say that I am sickened to the pit of my stomach by the behavior of many!

Yes there are those that take food to the Bengals that are cleaning the streets, and there are others who employ them and give a wage that is too low to survive in Saudi. I see employers striking their maids and drivers for imagined problems, and I know others that treat them to foreign holidays for good service. I know Saudis who venerate and respect women and I know others personally that would drug them, rape them and leave them in the street and think it as being funny!

I constantly hear how wonderful Saudi is and how perfect Islam is, but burying your heads in the sand and ignoring the behavior of the many hypocrites in your society who hide behind religion as an excuse for bad behavior and blatantly ignore it is a recipe for the destruction of society. If you follow the rules of ANY religion you will respect others and have a harmonious society. It is time that Saudi Arabia openly admitted the many problems that it has as a first step to dealing with them - ignoring them and hiding them is the same as saying that they are OK!

You cannot force people into behaving the way you want through Matawa and secret police, it is time the government and the clerics had an honest look at their society and find the reasons for the behavior! Why do so many Saudis drink and take drugs? All against the rules and regulations in Saudi Arabia and against the beliefs of your religion! Why are so many of the Saudis non-productive and lazy in the work place? Why do so many Saudis mistreat their employees? (look at the polls on some of my other hubs over half of those that took part say they have been abused physically and verbally)..

But I guess you will as usual attack and ridicule the messenger, and blame everything bad as coming from the west. In the west we are open about our crimes and our problems, but you will not see employers treating people the way they do in Saudi, you will not find as many people claiming to be victims of abuse as you do in Saudi. Yes we have different values with regards to women, but our women can choose to be who they want to be! Every Saudi that I know that has lived overseas prefers to live outside Saudi!

I don't like living in my own country as I see problems with the way our youth are growing up lacking respect in many areas - but I still see worse behavior in KSA. Saudi Laws and Rules will do little to curb the behavior as you are doing nothing to find the causes of it and refusing to acknowledge that it exists at all.

Go back to reading the Sun and the News of the World if that is what you prefer and ignore the problems in KSA.

Rant over! By the way I love being in Saudi Arabia!


Roy 4 years ago

Just a quick question for you...I am sharing a villa outside a compund with 6 guys. Two of them are married and want to bring their wives for a visit. They want the wives to stay in the villa along with the rest of us. As I read it, that is not allowed and would put all of us in trouble if discovered. Am I right or wrong.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Roy, this is not a problem, however she cannot be left alone with the rest of you, if the husband leaves the villa she would have to leave with him or remain with another couple there. The rules in Saudi Arabia are that a woman should not be alone in a private place with a man who is not her husband or blood relative.


Rona 4 years ago

Hi,can i just say that i have read through all the comments and have found some really interesting information,great site..

In a Scottish woman,married to a great Egyptian guy..

I have a chance of coming to work in Riyadh for a VIP family,will i have any problems with my husband joining me?

Also do us women need to cover up to go shopping,visiting malls etc?Wheres the best compound for expats to stay in Riyadh?

Many thanks.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Rona, you should have no problem getting your husband to join you in Riyadh, although check with your prospective employer that they will support this as otherwise you will be unable to get a visa for him!

The rules in Saudi Arabia are that you must be fully covered in public which is everywhere off compound except in someones private home!

I have been around several western compounds in Riyadh and all that I have seen are very similar, your employ should be able to find you accommodation and if they are a VIP family they will not want to lose face by putting you somewhere shoddy!


sanaa 4 years ago

i am working in saudi arabia since 4year but actually last year i took my passport with other document including jawazat paper the purpose of release my visa to other comapany becoz they are gave me better salary therefore still my iqama dont transfer to the accordance company when i cheque my iqama in computer its says its involid becoz my sponso give complaint on me its could Balagh- now i m really sad about this mather kindly give me a better advice plz


Cobb 4 years ago

Hi Mr. lean. There is a very fat chance that I will work in KSA in a month or two and I'm very thankful that I read some of your posts. I would just like to ask regarding two things as of the moment. First is about having porn in your laptop or external harddisk. Is this allowed? And 2nd, is it true that some bad arabs tries to pickup not only females but males as well just to get some action? TIA


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Sanaa, once your sponsor has issued a complaint there is little you can do, you are now an illegal and if your sponsor wishes to make trouble for you they will. The employer in Saudi Arabia has all of the advantages as it is almost impossible for you to take them to court or disprove what they say about you.

Cobb, the rules in Saudi Arabia are very clear, porn is against the law in Saudi Arabia and if you are caught with it you could be in big trouble! That being said I have never known them to check hard drives, flash drives or laptops.. you hear rumors but i have still to have anyone confirm that they have had it done to them! As to men trying it on with you, yes I have been propositioned by men in Saudi Arabia, i hasten to add that i said NO..


The neutral and fair.. 4 years ago

I agree with many comments.KSA may not fit with the life style of many yet, many here are so satisfied.The simple solution is, do not come if u don,t like.Why do you hate other cultures? But, if i am honest and study the statistics of crime and negatives,, It seems KSA is million times better than our countries i west.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi the neutral and fair - not quite sure that the name is a good one! You obviously live in the west and are not living and working in Saudi Arabia -NOT!!! Statistics can only be compared if they are gathered honestly - and seeing as rape victims and female victims of similar crimes are unable to complain for fear of themselves being punished it can hardly be said that the statistics are going to be fairly collated!

As a man I liked living in Saudi Arabia, but I would never want to be there as a woman..


TheNewGuy 4 years ago

Very helpful many thanks mr. Leanman. Another question i would like to add. If i downloaded and/or saved nude videos or photos through internet to my laptop, would i get caught by muttawas or any special anti-phornography task force? im curious.


butterfly 4 years ago

I'm a Christian and since it is not allowed to bring Bible in Saudi, it is ok to carry Our Daily Bread booklet?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi thenewguy, the rules in Saudi are very clear when it comes to pornography, you can't have any! That being said I have never met anyone that has ever had their laptops or flashdrives etc checked. I have however known people have their cell phones checked by mutawa on the street, but they were filipinos, Indians, and Indonesians.. Never heard of the same being done to a westerner.

Butterfly the official line is that you can carry a single bible for your own use but if you are checked it is most likely it will be taken! Other religious booklets are just as likely to be taken if you are checked, if you have one then they will just take it and tell you not to do it again, if you have several you will be accused of coming to spread Christianity and probably be sent home!


TheNewGuy 4 years ago

Many Thanks Mr. Leanman, till nxt time. ma'al salameh.


Abby 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan, I'll be going to dammam with my boss for business trip, it's just me and him and the driver of our company will gonna pick us up. So meaning I'll gonna be with two men's do you think I'll gonna have problem n that? I'll be staying there just for just couple of hours and fly back to Dubai. Your advice will really help. Thanking you in advance.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Abby, the rules in Saudi are that you should not be alone with a man, that being said you will probably be OK but it only takes a police man having a bad day to cause a problem!


doc 4 years ago

i work as doctor for ministry of health. my contract is 48 hr/week. however i am required to work 7 days a week & 30 days a month. sometimes i am even asked to work 12 hrs a day! i have resisted few times, they have complained and i was investigated. but i always respond in a logical manner with evidence to my arguments. still they keep threatening me now and then.what can i do about it?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Doc, get yourself a copy of the Saudi Labor law (here is a link - http://www.gulftalent.com/home/Saudi-Labour-Law-Re... They cannot force you to do more than you are required to do within your contract or Saudi labor law, whichever is most in your favor out of your contract or the labor law is what is applied.

However that does not stop your employer trying to force you to do more, but there actions would be illegal and they could not punish you. If they did you can take them to court.


satya1802 profile image

satya1802 4 years ago

Hey Leanman I finally arrived in riyadh on 15th Jan 2012, company has provided me a hotel till i get my iqama and driving licence, Your advice and tips helped me, suprisingly company is going provide me a laptop worth 4000sr and a moblie worth 2000 sr, the owner and other areabic senior staff is very good and giving me respect more than what I got in kenya and India....let me share another thing at imidration it took me only 20 min to come out only palm and thumb impressions, no question asked,reagarding screening the lugage and laptop , no questions asked .....not checked my laptop , did not open my bag ....nothing......wow ..... its much faster and easier than even in India and other countries I have traveled.....have a gud day


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Satya, I hope you enjoy your time in Riyadh. They are not very inquisitive in the airports in Saudi Arabia to be honest, I have never been checked for anything and always processed quickly. But as long as you follow all the Saudi rules and regulations it would not be a problem anyway!

Sounds like your company is going to look after you, enjoy your stay.


Gelo 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan, thank you for this article. It helped me a lot. My sister left today for Saudi, she will be working there as a hospital nurse. We are a little bit worried because of their laws and antics but it's my sister's choice. We're from the Philippines. I'm going to share your post to my sister. I'm sure it would help her a lot as well.


rsssheetal 4 years ago

Dear Leanman: Truly appreciate your patience in answering all the queris so far. I have recently received an offer as HR Coordinator within a good company at Dammam Saudi. Not much is written about Dammam within your posts. I have few quick questions

1. The salary offered is $2000 USD + Accomodation for family. Do you think this is sufficient to live comfortablly in Dammam and Save good for the rainy day?

2. Is social life in Dammam better/worse compared to the other cities in the Saudi?

3. I am expected to travel frequently to Philipines, Other GCC countries and India. Will it be safe for my wife to stay at home duirng this period? What precautions should we tak?


Loc Dogg 4 years ago

I would just like to comment that the reason (probable) that you guys were fortunate enough to have that experience is almost definitely that you were the right color or you have the right passport (or maybe the officer was a decent man) As a black person i can tell you that just based on looks you will definitely be searched and interrogated for no reasons...i've been stopped more than a hundred times in many places including right outside my house which looked too good for me...anywayz i went off topic with the racial issue i just couldn't help but add this..and i hope mr satya will still feel this way after a few weeks..and my advice is stay away,,no matter how good "it" is you dont wana lose your neck if you know what i mean


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Gelo, my wife is also a Filipina nurse. There are a huge number of filipinos in Saudi Arabia so your sister should have plenty of support and people to tell her the rules of Saudi Arabia. Tell her to email if she needs any advice (the contact icon below my picture top right).

rssshetal, the salary is enough to survive on in KSA and you will be able to save some easily. It is not the highest but it is far from the lows that are offered to domestic staff and the like.

Dammam is good place to stay, make friends with your work colleagues and countrymen and you will have a good social life there - but follow the rules! As to your wife's safety when you travel, it is like anywhere in the world, if you live in a nice neighborhood or on a compound then there should be no problems, if you live in a rough area then there could be!

Hi Loc Dogg, I can't say I have witnessed much racism with regard to white on black in KSA, the place is fairly mixed with regards to color. Class discrimination however is a whole other issue!!


Jose Jesus 4 years ago

hi leanman.. im going in jeddah this april and im a filipino.. ill work in a restaurant, im thinking twice if ill go or not? the contract is 2 years and my salary is 1200Riyals free food, free transpo and free house.. this is my first time to go there in jeddah. from what ive heard jeddah is a scary place. what should i do? i hope u give me some piece of advice. thanks


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Jose, Jeddah is a very nice place to live, I know many Filipinos there. My wife is a Filipina and lived there for 12 years. There is a huge Filipino population so you will have plenty of people to help you out and make sure that you don't break any of the Saudi rules. Working in Saudi Arabia is very different from the Philippines but you will at least have money to save for your return home.


Gelo 4 years ago

Thanks. I'd be more than happy to provide your contact info to my sister. I really appreciate your kindness. By the way, she will be working at Riyadh. What part of Saudi are you in? I'm still on the process of researching info that might be useful to her. I'm even researching basic Arab phrases that she can memorize. She's a little stubborn and although she was given orientation prior to deployment, I told her that knowledge about the people and the place would still be the best way to get out of trouble.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Gelo, I am currently in Negros Occidental taking a break from Saudi with my wife. I am sure she will be fine as long as she follows their rules and stays out of trouble.


lisainjedda profile image

lisainjedda 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan, I hope your enjoying your vacation. I am a 31 y/o single AA female Registered nurse with a 11 year old daughter who is considering working in a Jeddah hospital to save money to help purchase my first home and pay off outstanding bills. My US credit score is currently around 500 (which is pretty low), as I have many past due and outstanding bills I need to pay off. I know how the Saudi's perceive members of their own society with regard to past due bills and credit. Have you heard of this stopping anyone from working their through an emloyment agency or the like. I guess the better question would be are you aware of any Americans working there that have past (overdue) credit obligations they are working/ paying on? How does your wife enjoy her work in the hospital there? How does her workload compare to other English/ American hospitals? Are there many American nurses working there? I also have to ask in regard to her work there is she allowed to bathe or see her male pts nude at all? (lol) Im just wondering how the sick and ill are affected by the religious rules. FYI I am a telemetry/medical surgical trained nurse. Do you think I would be safe coming to work their alone without a husband/ or female friend? I know of no one thus far that has traveled to Saudi alone without a husband or some type of buddy in place before hand.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi LisainJedda, I see no reason why you should have any problems if you come to work in Jeddah, follow the Saudi rules and stay out of trouble and you will be fine. Stay on compound, especially with an 11 year old daughter or she will hate it.

A lot of people I know have credit issues, its a good reason for working in Saudi Arabia!

My wife loves working in KSA, she enjoys her life in the hospitals. I would say that the workload is less than in the UK, although neither of us have been in an American hospital. There do not seem to be too many problems with male patients and female nurses although my wife has a few stories about over-amorous patients that could come from any country! As to American nurses neither of us know of any in Jeddah, but there are many hospitals!

When you get there, make some friends with your work colleges and your compound neighbors as you will find it much safer and more fun to go out in company rather than alone. My wife has been grabbed in Jeddah by a man and so have several of her friends; so beware of walking alone, especially at night.


lisainjedda profile image

lisainjedda 4 years ago

Thank you! My daughter won't be coming with me but I want to make sure I make it back to her safely. Has your wife experienced any problems with using her vacation time? Outside of scheduling conflicts with other nurses she works with? I want to make sure I get to use the full 7 week time they give us and hope that the employers don't frown on using your time.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi again Lisa, I have known people have problems with getting vacations when they want them (and for people from poorer countries getting them at all!) Apply and get your holidays approved as far in advance as possible, HR departments can be very slow to process and you cannot leave without your exit visa. Most companies expect you take your annual leave all in one block and should approve you without too much problem, but problems do occur and in these situations the company has all the power as they control your passport and your visa!

I wish you all the luck, I am sure that this job will help your future considerably but please follow the Saudi rules and stay out of situations that could lead to problems such as wild parties with Saudis and the like. Stick to mixing with expats on compound it is far safer and less likely to lead to problems.


lisainjedda profile image

lisainjedda 4 years ago

Thanks LeanMan for all the wonderful advice as I've been researching the culture and rules for about a year now but have not been able to gain that valuable, "inside scoop", you have been able to provide. (I've even went as far as sending messages to various employees of my perspective employer on Facebook, but of course they were very hesitant to talk with me! They did repsond back but no specific details only general responses and some questions went unanswered. YIKES ) BTW Ive just read your hub on Visa info, which was also very informative, as I had some worry about the whole handing over your visa situation and carrying around the work permit. My greatest fears were confirmed but I guess if I should ever decide I need or want to leave I would not inform my employer and go on vacation and not return. (American HR departments would understand my reasoning and be sympathatic to my situation lol) Although I would regret not receiving my bonuses, I am sure the benefit of safety or sanity would certainly outweigh the cost. I would also like to know if the hospital nurses usually work in shifts together so a female is not alone with the shuttle driver that the hospital pays to transport us back and forth from the compound to work. (lol just read something that took me back to your saying of never trust a saudi male even if he's a prince) Im guessing that the KFH compound is a hospital provided female only compound. I hope not as this would prove to the some of the strangest night life and fun scenes I will ever experience. Do you know if all staff nurse positions are considered labour positions for visa purposes? Or have you heard of a staff nurse being able to sponsor their family? I know that the agency (HZ) I am considering does not allow this as they only approve single status contracts. I think my prospective agency may be able to answer some of these questions but wanted your insight as well as I don't fully trust any staffing agency as I feel their job is to try to sell you what you envision so they can get paid.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Lisa, if you want some more info about nightlife etc you can always email me directly through the link under my profile picture top right.

I doubt if you would end up traveling or on shift alone, most nurses that I have met tend to travel as a pack (not sure if that is the best description but..)

The job description on your visa and Iqama will be very much down to your employer and what they can agree with the ministry, in theory any position can sponsor their family but this does not always work in practice. However I would not recommend bringing your daughter to Saudi, take her on a great holiday somewhere exotic where you can enjoy together instead!

Email me and I will answer any questions you have..


Ambet23 4 years ago

Hi leanman your hub is very informative I am a filipino and currently applying as Computer Engineer/Technician in Saudi Arabia, I was called for an interview but I have no idea on salary rate for the position I was mentioned.

Thank you very much! and have a nice vacation in the Philippines... Its more fun in the Philippines ...


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

HI Ambet23, if you are looking to be working in Saudi Arabia make sure that you follow the Saudi Rules as you don't want to end up in trouble, it is a very different way of life compared to your home.

Just ask the agent what the salary is, don't accept if the wage is too low as some companies are just looking for cheap labour and don't pay the rates they should; and cheap wages will probably also reflect cheap treatment when you get there.


Ambet23 4 years ago

Thanks for the reminder..This make me think twice..but it seems big adventure and also a big changes to the kind of living i used to since I was born.I realize that filipinos are very lucky to have freedom to do what we want... Thank you very much..


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

You also have to consider the extra wage that this will give you and how much it can mean when you return back home to live. Sometimes it is worth sacrificing a few freedoms and following some rather rigid Saudi rules so that you can benefit in other ways.


Afropolitan 4 years ago

Greetings LeanMan!

I too appreciate how you have articulately provided a general idea of what life may be like for those of us planning to live and work in Saudi Arabia.

Please let me introduce my situation in an effort to gain the most appropriate response from you.

I am a young, well-travelled, cultural anthropologist and woman of color. I have just been offered a position teaching with an institution called Education Experts in Riyadh. The salary being offered is average for someone holding my credentials and for this type of position. This being said, the money being offered is a good bait.

I am of the opinion that despite the seemingly extreme social restrictions and cultural regulations placed over women, because of these modern times, a great deal of joy (freedom) could stem from empowering young Saudi women through their acquisition of a foreign language.

As a few of your more militant readers commented, many believe that the KSA system should be changed. I can only assume this is true based on what I know, but I know that no matter one's outlook any society should aim to enhance its positive attributes and work on doing-away with those that devalue and harm its inhabitants.

To be honest, I cannot fathom changes in KSA not becoming dramatically more visible as more and more students of English take an interest in reading about international news and culture.

I have stated all of this to provide an idea of the mentality that I have going into this prospective teaching placement. I aim to keep well within the social rules and not draw attention to myself as a foreign woman, something that I choose to look at as a form of spiritual fasting and self-discipline. I simply to not want to be naïve nor ignorant about what is approaching.

So please, help me (and perhaps others)better understand the following:

- The best ways to learn Arabic while in KSA, as a woman.

- The easiest way to make cool Saudi female friends.(places, things to do etc)

- What's cool to talk about and not so 'in'. (Im an American! Its hard to gauge what's appropriate any more, especially in the Middle East.)

- The banking system and how easily it is for money to be transferred on a monthly basis from KSA to a US bank account?

- Women's dress/style: How often is a woman seen wearing colors and accessories other than black!? I ask because though I aim to adhere to the 'laws of the land' & wear the Hijab and Abaya, does that mean I can't "spice them" up a touch?)

And finally,

- How serious were you are when you practically said several times, that you wouldn't be caught dead, if you were to have been born a woman, living in KSA? Yikes! Is life truly that painful, unequal, bleak, isolating, unsafe and pathetic for single women in KSA (or more specifically unmarried western women)?

Thanks for your time and All the Best!


I'm 4 years ago

who can tell me about the life in Hail in KSA


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Afropolitan, thanks for reading and asking such intelligent questions.

If you want to learn Arabic there are usually courses offered through the various compounds, I have seen many advertised although I am not very good with languages so I never tried.

You will meet many Saudi friends through your work placement, you could also join a ladies gym which would be affiliated to one of the local hospitals (otherwise they are banned!)

I was always warned to steer clear of talking about politics or religion as the Saudis can get upset over what you talk about and even if they seem sympathetic to your views when chatting they then report and cause problems for you after! That being said I had many good discussions about religion with a variety of Saudis including those in the mosques as they tried very hard to convert me to save my soul!

The banking system is fine, I have never had any problems - plus as a woman you will get your own dedicated entrance and female staff!

Many women dress up their Abaya with prints, beads and fancy trim - but not over the top! I have seen an occasional green silk Abaya or other color but these are rare and as a foreigner I would avoid drawing attention to yourself in that way!

I was serious about I would not go as a woman, that being said if you get yourself a good bunch of female friends then you could enjoy a social life also but I would 100% avoid any "party" at which Saudi men will be! Going to family events is fine as you will be looked after by the women, but a "party" at which men and women mix and drink would put you in a position where if something bad happened it is likely you would be the one looked at as the guilty party!

Basically follow the Saudi Rules and do not draw attention to yourself - if your students think your preaching revolution then some will report you!


Worried :( 4 years ago

One of my friends are leaving to Saudi this year, and I presented him a photo of me and him taken when we are simply standing, decently dressed and he having a glass with a little beer in it. He said that he will need to keep it home since the Saudi airport will confiscate this regarding this as pornography and said that any photo taken with opposite sex is restricted. He also mentioned to me that when one of his friends went to Saudi the hard disk of the PC he had taken had been scanned and all photos taken with girls have been deleted. He is a catholic and he is wondering whether even taking the Bible with him will get him to trouble. I would be grateful if you can provide a solution to this ASAP before the 1st Feb.

Thanks


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi worried, as long as the photo shows you all decently dressed then there is no problem. The Saudi Rules regarding pornography are fairly strict and you will even find that they go around the supermarket obliterating bare flesh on cereal boxes with a big black marker pen to make them decent.

That being said, I have yet to have anyone confirm that they have ever had their hard disc, flash-drive or anything else physically checked by anyone; you here rumors but always a friend of a friend of a friend!

The rules are that you can take one bible with you for personal use, however the chances are that if you are checked that it would still be confiscated. Taking more than one bible would leave you being accused of going there to spread Christianity and you would probably be put back on the next plane home.


Riacska 4 years ago

Hi,

I would like to as you, how much does it earn a bank worker, for ex a credit analyst, or a teller in Saudi Arabia?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Riacska, you can compare wages if you are working in Saudi Arabia on Bayt.com for specific jobs.


merrie 4 years ago

This is packed with information! Thanks! What about pets? Can you bring them into the country to live on a compound? I have a cockatoo I don't know that I could live without.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Merrie, there are a number pet stores in each of the main cities selling a variety of pets - but not dogs! As to whether you could bring a cockatoo to live in Saudi Arabia I really have no idea, you should contact the Saudi Embassy in your home country and inquire there.


Doone 4 years ago

Great article! my husband and I are looking to move to Saudi Arabia. He will teach english and I will get a job as a medical lab tech. I have two major questions. First is if we will have any problems due to the fact that I am caucasian and he is Laos (both canadian). The second issue is that we have a large (100 lbs) mastiff type dog we have to take with us. Any regulations on dog ownership? Is it hard to find somewhere to live with a large dog? Thanks!!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

I have only ever seen ONE dog in Saudi Arabia - Saudis think they are unclean.. Your races will have no bearing in Saudi Arabia..

The Saudi Rules regarding working are that you can only work for your sponsor, if you go with your husband as his wife then he is your sponsorand you cannot work elsewhere. If you then transfer your visa to another sponsor who then employs you beware! I have several emails from women who have been separated from family by sponsors that have moved female staff onto female only compounds and even moved location..


Flying Scotsman 4 years ago

Dogs are not prohibited. My daughter had a dog who enjoyed the regular hash runs. I lived in SA for 6 years and knew lots of western people with many different types of animals. Vets are widely available in most large cities but are expensive.Incidentally, I also worked in Oman for many years and can assure you that not all arab countries are the same. Omanis are polite, tolerant and can be extremely friendly. The hypocracy found in Saudi is not found in Oman. The money may not be as good but the lifestyle is much better.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks for your comments and the information flying Scotsman, I only ever saw one dog in Riyadh or Jeddah and never saw any in the pet stores although I don't go in pet stores very often!


ali 4 years ago

hi i m ali from india. Nd i m worked in riyadh as a delevery boy.and my visa is a house driver. I dont who is my kapil. Nd i m worked a company. My company name is Fast delevery co. My company has not give me orignal iqama who give me only iqama photo copy. Nd i worked there 77 hour in a week. Then he give me only 1000 riyal in a month. Nd he dont give me vacatation in any festivle. Nd i m worked here last 10 month. Nd i want to not worked here i want to go my country. Plz plz plz plz help me. Nd i dont known any person in their. Nd i dnt known fluent english. So plz help me. My no. Is 0541795305


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Ali, your best place to go to for help is your embassy there in Riyadh who will be able to give you advice.


Bryan 4 years ago

Hello Lean Man,

I'm an English teacher currently working in China. I have been looking for work in the KSA because of the high salaries. My wife is Pakistani and I would like to bring her with me to the KSA, but am told that I would have to apply for her visa once my residence permit is processed. I am told this would take at least 90 days.

Have you ever heard of anyone entering KSA on a work visa WITH their spouse?

I am also told that I am required to return to the USA to apply for my work visa to Saudi Arabia? Is this true? Why can't I just go to the Saudi Embassy in Beijing, China and apply?

By the way your blog is awesome! your commitment to helping others is inspiring.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Bryan, you can apply for your visa from China, many people go in and out of Bahrain and Dubai to process Saudi Visas so it is not neccessary to be in your country of birth (although you may have problems with authenticating things like educational certificates.)

Most companies will not support bringing your spouse during your probation period and you cannot sponsor her until you get your Iqama which will as you say be after 90 days. It can be possible to bring her on a visit visa if your company will sponsor her.


Mark 4 years ago

Hey Bryan,

I was offered a job in Al Khobar Saudi Arabia. Was a little concerned about safety. My country, USA, has issued a travel warning....but this could be for any part of the country and not just the eastern province. What is your advice of the security situation? Is security high and a lot of safety? Or am I better to turn the offer away and say thanks?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Mark, there are a couple of places you should avoid in Saudi at the moment but Al-Khobar is fine. There is a large expat community there plus you can easily get across the causeway to Bahrain for some relaxing times!

Being from the USA you will be housed on a compound and that will be fully guarded at all times.. There are some other hubs regarding accommodation and the like you may wish to read, the links are in the section below.


wiro 4 years ago

hi leanman, im from philippines, i recently received a job order from a company in KSA and now my travel documents are on process, and in good fortune ill be working soon in riyadh, good infos u have there, i really learned a lot, but the only thing i liked is having no tax at all in KSA.i was just wondering if this applies to the gadgets they are selling, like phones, laptops, cameras, etc for i was planning to do buy n sell, buy stuffs at KSA and resell it in the philippines to earn extra income. are there any rules on these matter?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

HI Wiro, there are restrictions that are in place in Saudi Arabia regarding how much money etc you can leave with at any one time but they are on the whole ineffective and quite frankly I don't think they will affect what you are looking to do.. The same goes for the Philippines end as most Balikbyan boxes are never opened or inspected.

This can be a good approach as most phones etc are less expensive in KSA so you can sell for a profit in the Philippines if you have buyers that can afford what you are selling. (But don't forget to factor in your transportation costs.)

Another thing to consider is Saudi Gold - my wife used to make a fair bit from buying and selling gold in the Philippines.


cobb 4 years ago

Hi leanman. I heard that as a man you should never be alone when in public even in taxi cabs because the saudis might force you into having an intercourse is that true? TIA


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Cobb, I think that only applies to people who talk rubbish and wear pink.


Mars 4 years ago

Hey man .. this is the first useful Hub I have found so far

Thanks a lot you have no idea .. but I need some extra help .. something privet so .. if you can give me your Email , phone number or something and PLEASE I need it .. like RIGHT NOW !!


john sam 4 years ago

hey guys, Saudi arabias rules roxx... see how many womens&and men are raped in USA and countries like that... saudiarabia=rape=behead!!! the abaya dress prevents others to see a womans beauty and thus prevent a man from doing sins like that. saudiarabia is the lowest rape average in the world. Saudis are bad as some say... but see most saudis are goood

in some places only there are bad saudis who do not follow their RELIGION. being in saudi is SAFER THAN ANYWHERE. saudi are not as bad as you all think... only a few saudis are like that.. im going to work in taxis every day for almost 8 years and ee nothin happened,,, I HAVE MORE TO SAY BUT NO TIME...

YHANKS GUYS FOR UNDERSTANDING ABOUT SAUDIARABIA ANND WISH TO LEARN MORE!!!!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Mars, thanks for the compliments, you can email directly through the "contact leanman" button just below the picture at the top right of the page.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi John Sam, in every country there are bad people and good people. Rape and other crimes occur in each and every country as you say; in the USA and Europe these crimes are reported and the women are encouraged to come forward. In Saudi Arabia the women are likely to be punished for being alone with the man so they cannot come forward and report what has happened to them. Domestic staff are often abused and raped (I have met MANY that have had this done to them) but they cannot report as they are not allowed to leave the home to do so and are virtually kept prisoner, those that do manage to escape fear being imprisoned as runaways and so on!

Yes I feel safer walking the streets of Saudi than I ever did in the west, but if I were a woman I would not! My wife has been dragged into a car by a Saudi and only escaped by using a knife, her friend was grabbed by two Saudis outside our apartment and so on! Women are not safe in Saudi Arabia, there are far more incidents than I have ever been personally aware of in KSA than in any other country I have been in!

There are tough rules and punishments in Saudi Arabia but most Saudis can avoid these problems as most women cannot and will not complain!


rajesh 4 years ago

I am expatriate Indian employed in Saudi Arabia.My family is having their Iqama's valid till 2013,and they are in India now. I am planning for a final exit by next month.Kindly advice me whether I need to bring them back here to get their exit.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Rajesh, If they have no intention of returning then there is no need! Even if they do want to return it would not be a problem after one year.


Angleman 4 years ago

Hi,

I am an engineer from India and got an offer from Saudi organisation in Al khobar, sponsors are from Saudi as organisation is a MNC based in USA & DUBAI. Would like to ask what is the best place to stay as an Indian at budget of 24 k SAR/ year. (Al khobar city) Hows the city ? I am already prejudice minded about the behavior towards an Indian but fortunately, there are already majority of Indians in the organisation so will not face the problem during the work at least. Main aim to go to Saudi to earn money as well as build a career.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Angleman, you should be able to get a reasonable apartment off compound for that money and still have spare for your utilities. Al Khobar is fairly open by Saudi standards so you should be fine there living off compound.


Rose 4 years ago

Probably u r one of de Anti-Arabs'Tats y u speak in this manner..when u all want earn money u want to carry their balls but when it comes to de rules n regulations u find it difficult!!Don't u people all find ur selves selfish n unreasonable..they just follow de commands of ALLAH our creator what problem do u all have with that.. Obviously they don't disturb u all n F..around gossipping about u all..Am i right to say that?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Rose, some of my best friends are Saudis, people that I knew from the UK before I ever went to Saudi Arabia.. I have no problem with Saudis, I have no problem with your rules, after all it is your country, if we don't like your rules we can leave!

I do however have a problem with hypocrites who claim to be Muslim and follow the "commands of Allah" and actually act quite the opposite! Much the same as I have no time for Christians who do the same!


Majid 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan. Thanks for putting up such a detailed article. I have two question from you

1. If one has the option to live anywhere in Saudi, what is the best place to live? Total cash amount receivable at the end of the month is 8K SAR.

2. I could not understand after mentioning all these details you still say, you enjoyed your time there n KSA. How do you define enjoyment?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Majid, in my opinion the best places to live are either Jeddah or Al Khobar / Dammam. Just my opinion.

Working in Saudi Arabia has to be one of the most enjoyable times of my life; despite the Saudi rules and regulations you find yourself with significant spare cash and time so can do an awful lot from desert trekking to partying on compound (or if you are daring finding other places to party and enjoy such as the beach.) Sometimes you push the boundaries of the Saudi Laws and take some risks, but in my mind that helped to make things that much more interesting.

The whole place is so different to the west that if you walk around with your eyes open you see so much that you would never see elsewhere, it is a great experience and one that I will never regret. There were some bad moments but you get those everywhere, personally I don't dwell on them (even if I write about them!)

Some people may not adapt and mix as easily as I do and thus will find Saudi boring and restrictive, I found living in Saudi Arabia interesting and fun!


Sibghat 4 years ago

I do agree with the comments of Rose. If you people come here only and only to warm your pockets then you have to bear up with their laws. I am totally agree and convenient with the laws in this country. I am also working here in Tabuk City. Here law is so good you know you dont see any rape case you dont see any body loitering in the streets drunk . You dont see anybody having gun and approching you to kill not at all isnt this so safe and is in our own interest.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Sibghat, you make Saudi Arabia sound like paradise.. Whilst I agree that the laws you have are yours and if others don't like them they should leave, I totally disagree with some of your assessment of crime levels. I know expats who have been robbed at gunpoint by Saudis who have forced their way into their homes and I know many Filipinas and Indonesian domestic staff who have been raped and sexually abused by Saudi sponsors and even by passing Saudis in the street who have dragged them into cars - I have even had Saudi friends brag about drugging women to have their way with them!

Not reporting or acknowledging problems does not make the problems cease to exist, it just tells the people that do these things that they continue without fear of prosecution!


Amsterdam1979 4 years ago

Dear LeanMan, It took me a a while to read thru all the advise, tips & comments. Big thanks to everyone taking time and making an effort answering everything to clarify a lot of worries or doubts.

However I do have a question about a job offered to me in the KSA without having any completed education, I have 12 years of experience in my field of expertise, would this become a problem when applying for a visa? If the sponsor has no issues and still wants to employ me would I still be able to get a visa?

Cheers


amsterdam1979 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan and others, thanks for the massive responses, tips & comments provided.

One question related to not having a degree but still being offered a job in the KSA.

Will this be an issue in getting a visa? I have 12 years of experience in my field of expertise and have been offered a job and the sponsor is willing to arrange all the necessary paperwork but i am not sure if not holding a degree will cause a problem in obtaining valid working permit.

Cheers


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi amsterdam, this can be a problem as the requirements are embassy based and they can be very pedantic. They also expect companies to hire the best for a position and this means finding someone with a valid degree - otherwise they should be hiring a Saudi..


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Answered below ....


Tanya 4 years ago

Hi!

This was pretty informative, thanks!

Just a question though, I'm a woman, and I'd be heading up an IT project for 2 months. Will I actually be taken seriously in the work place? Or would this be bust right from the start?


Dude 4 years ago

How can I check credibility of Company based in KSA about its reputation, financial stability, ethics, work culture ? I hve not much contact in the organisation though.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Tanya, I worked in a pretty rare company that had women employed and to be honest they were treated with respect and much the same as any man. So I would hope you have no problems on that front.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Dude, do a search on the internet to find out what is available.. You could also search sites such as linkedin to find other people that work there and contact them.


Tiffa-Registered Nurse 4 years ago

Hi! Thanks for the info that you have given us. It was really informative. BTW I would like to ask if it is okay to bring over-the-counter medication from Philippines to KSA? Would they check for it at the airport? I will be working as nurse in KSA by march. Thanks.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Tiffa, like most countries Saudi has many rules regarding specific medication and some that are available in the Philippines MAY be unacceptable to bring. Do a google search for the specific medicine about taking it to Saudi, and if you do take something take a doctors prescription to show that it is for you. If you cannot find something that says that it is OK to bring don't take it unless it is necessary for your health; you do not want to take any risks however as drug smuggling has dire consequences in Saudi Arabia.


glossa 4 years ago

I'm a black female about to start a professional job in KSA. I've also worked in the Far East where I experienced strong racism and I'm curious to know about how blacks are treated in KSA.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi glossa, I have never seen any specific racism against blacks; many of the population are black. Most racism is actually "classicism" rather than down to actual colour.


glossa 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan, thanks for your response, and for all the info on the hub in general. Regarding my racism question..it's not something I'd been conscious of (and I've worked all over the world) until I arrived in the Far East. It caught me completely off-guard and was so 'in your face' that I wished I'd known before I arrived so at least I would've expected it and somehow been ready to deal with it. I'm glad to hear things are different in KSA. Thanks!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Good luck Glossa, I hope that things work out ok for you.


Gaurav 4 years ago

Hi Lm ......I am from India. I got offer in Saudi Arabisa,Riyadh...I am searching for 2-3 days about the life in KSA and luckily come across with your article...Thanks for all the effort you put in to post this article and sharing useful info.. I also have one question...You mentioned Riyad is little different than other KSA cities..so can you share what else we can expect in Riyadh??...Thanks...


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Gaurav, the rules are all a little tighter in Riyadh and you will find the locals are a little less friendly and not as quick to mix and socialize. If you go to Jeddah or Al Khobar you will be surprised how different the atmosphere feels.


singsub 4 years ago

Hi LM, great service... Iam a male with physical disability, have got a job offer in Riyadh.

To describe my exact physical disability, I have polio affected lower limbs and can walk with the use of orthopedic caliper only. One could witness a sort of limping as Iam walking. However this had never hindered me in my career so far and I have been very successful all along notwithstanding m physical disability. I have travelled to many countries across the globe on official assignments. I also have a valid driving license in the place I live currently and drive a car with hand control fitted.

I therefore have some queries here...

Will I get an employment Visa in Saudi or would there be any constraints due to my physical disability?

Is there options available in Riyadh for maintenance / making of orthopaedic caliper in Riyadh like the one Iam using currently? If so, can you kindly oblige to share the contact details of the centres where this could be done please?

Can disabled people drive cars in Riyadh? Can I get my Singapore license converted into Saudi license?

Are hand controls for cars available in Riyadh? How much would it cost to buy and install a hand control approximately? If available, can can you kindly oblige to share the contact details of the dealers please?

Is there special parking lots available for disabled people? Can a disabled foreigner use these lots? Is there any special permission or label needs to be obtained from any government authorities to avail this privilege?

Cheers..


Kumar 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan,the content is impressive. Thanks a lot. I have a specific query about living in Jazan. Can a family (2 Adults + 2 Kids) lead a decent life with a monthly package of about 12,000 Saudi Riyals? Is there any possibility of saving money? Thanks in advance.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Kumar, you will have no problem saving money on 12,000 SAR as long as you are sensible with where you live and so on. You can get suitable accommodation for around 10,000 per year and the cost of living is quite low. Just stick to all the Saudi Rules and regulations and you will be fine.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Singsub, I will be honest in that I know very little about the Saudi attitudes towards disability. I have never seen anyone disabled in Saudi apart from a few old people being pushed in wheelchairs.

Also I have never seen special parking places allocated for those with disability.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Again Singsub, I decided to ask my wife about disability in Saudi Arabia as she worked there as a nurse, in her experience disabled people are kept hidden by their families and are rarely if ever taken out of the house. She has experience of caring within families where there are several children and adults with severe learning disability and these are Never allowed out. If medical aid is required the family prefer to bring the doctor to the house rather than bring the disabled patient to the hospital.


Kumar 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan, Thank you very much for the reply. Good day!


Gar 4 years ago

Hi Leanman...jsut a quick question about Ras Tanura...do you knw oteh place and whast do you think about living there...regarding facilities, cost of compound accomodation and if there are many single western women in the general area. Thanks for you info in advance


J Barry 4 years ago

sounds soo unfair, thanks for posting this article, It would be a tough time for a Canadian to work and live in that country.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

I guess the rules in Saudi Arabia seem very harsh if you are used to living elsewhere in the world, that being said working in Saudi Arabia can be very rewarding financially so the rules are worth following.


lisainjedda profile image

lisainjedda 4 years ago

Hi Leanman! I would like to know if it's okay to purchase an all black Abaya that have trims of other colors ( embellishments) or colored rhinestones or beads? Like an all black abaya with gold trimmings sewed on and so forth? Is this acceptable to wear or would I be asking or drawing too much attention to myself? What kind is better the hooded button front or pull over? Are some fabrics more better than other in regards to the heat? I dont want to be a hot sweaty mess! Please ask your wife for me! I'm starting to prepare for trip! Also if she has a recommended web site that would be wonderful.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Lisainjedda, my wife usually buys Abaya with patterns and trim as she wants something more than just plain black. These are fine and you will see many wearing them, especially the younger generation, I have even seen Abaya with very obvious designer labels (although I am pretty sure the designers in question never made them.) My wife always had the button up the front style but no Hood - if you need to cover your hair use a scarf, most Abaya will come with one. As to the fabric, neither my wife or I am too hot on types of fabric, however you should get as light as possible. It does not matter what type of fabric if you end up outside in 45 degree heat, especially in Jeddah where it can also be quite humid.

You can buy Abaya everywhere in Saudi, every market and mall will have several places to buy and most are hand made and individual so you will have "fun" selecting the right one for you.


lisainjedda profile image

lisainjedda 4 years ago

Thanks LeanMan!! I'm very happy I dont have to be a plain Jane!! I also have a question regarding a tattoo of cross that I have on my upper back it probably covers the whole mid upper portion of my back. Do you see this as an issue? I know it will be covered by an abaya at work and by my uniform top while at work. I am VERY concerned that this may cause me problems at the pool gym or beach if I wish to attend. I can get it covered with another less offending tattoo or try to have it removed before I leave. What are your thoughts if any?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

The tattoo should be fine, you are unlikely to get the opportunity to show it off very often except in places that are specifically for westerners. On compound at the pool and at beach resorts aimed at westerners. Public beaches you will see women swimming in their Abaya!!


lisainjedda profile image

lisainjedda 4 years ago

Lol Leanman! I couldn't imagine a woman trying to swim in an abaya! Thats great though I was worried about that. I love the water and imagine that I would spend most of my free time at the pool. Are the pools for us segregated as well? I just purchased a new 2 piece swim suit. Will I get a chance to put it to good use in Saudi? Or should I return it for a 1 piece swim suit for more modesty?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Lisainjedda, on compound or on a private beach for westerners your 2 piece is fine, anywhere else you have to cover up and that means even your modest swimsuit is too much, you can get Muslim swimsuits that are more like a full diving suit or swim in abaya as many do..


Ridz 4 years ago

Hi,

I am 24 m , going to Riyadh for 2 months. Could you please provide details of foreigner compounds and everything related to these things.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Ridz, in the section below there is a link to an article about compounds.


glossa 4 years ago

Hi there, finally got my work visa and just waiting for ticket to go.Silly question: do I actually have to arrive wearing an abaya, scarf etc or is it ok to be in say..jeans and a long sleeved top? Just to confirm whether foreign women can just arrive in their western clothes? Thanks:)


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Glossa, it will be fine to arrive in western clothes but make sure that they are respectful and cover everything; long sleeves and to the neck, don't show any cleavage!


Scotty 4 years ago

Hi Leanman. Great Hub. Off to KSA for an interview soon and have a few questions:

- do you have a tax adviser/accountant back home and have you kept your home bank account/s?

- how safe are the jobs and what are orgs like as employers in general? (I'm a little apprehensive that I get offered a role and move over then the job gets pulled or they dont like me - there have been several people in the role over the last few years.

Thanks)


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Scotty,

I never had an accountant or tax advisor but I have not been home for about 5 years.. I still keep my home bank accounts as it would be foolish to leave money in a bank in Saudi Arabia which you could not get to should you leave the kingdom. They have habits of freezing accounts for you to verify personal information and such like which you may find difficult if you were overseas.

Every company varies as to how well they treat expats, there are some additional articles that you can read by following the links in the section below. It may be worthwhile contacting other expats that work there by using linkedin, I am sure that there would be at least one with a profile.

Good luck, I hope you enjoy working in Saudi Arabia..


janet cervantes 4 years ago

ijust want to inform in your good office about one lady working in riyadh,olaya area as beautician name Ivy in beauty saloon without working permit since 2005 escape from employer,now shes going with a man leaving together w/one child without marrige contract or using a marriage contract of other,please pay attention w/this girl,thank you


jenefer 4 years ago

please ,i wanna inform you about this lady to catch if still going the law in this country lady name IVY working in beauty saloon somewhere in olaya riyadh,because shes making trouble and working without permit since 2005,need action immediately,thank you.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Janet or Jenefer or whatever name is really yours. It may be against the rules in Saudi Arabia to work without an Iqama and be with a man who is not your husband, however in my mind they are working hard to look after a small child and you want to cause her child to be separated from its mother.. Shame on you girl!


Beth 4 years ago

Thank you LM for taking the time to share your experience, I have been thinking about taking a position in saudi Arabia. Great info


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Beth, make sure that you take a job with a reputable company, if possible find others who have worked there via linkedin or any other network so that you can check them out. Whatever you do though, make sure that you follow the Saudi rules so as not to get in any trouble, especially as a woman.


Kal 4 years ago

I may be going to KSA for 6 months for my firm (they have offices in 3 cities). I've real elsewhere that the employer keeps your passport and that to leave you must get an exit visa arranged by your employer. Is this true? What about weekend trips to Bahrain or UAE? Does each exit require this laborious process?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Kal, it is required that sponsoring companies hold their employees passports; so yes they will take your passport.

If you want to travel then it will depend on the type of visa you have as to what you have to do. If you are going for only 6 months you will probably have a business visa, if this is a six months multiple entry visa then you can come and go as you please.

If you have a work visa then the sponsor (employer) has to issue you an exit / re-entry visa each time you want to travel. This is a very quick process and the company does it online and will print you a copy of the visa and place their company stamp on it to authenticate it.

Just make sure that you stick to the rules while in Saudi Arabia.


Bee 4 years ago

hey there, im a 21 yeasr old student in my final year in college in Ireland. job opportunities are few and far between so I was considering teaching english in saudi- they always seem to be looking for people! my main worry is that im single and female- how would i even get from the airport to a compound? and how would I do anything without being presumed a prostitute?! iv looked all over the internet but im still unsure... the non taxable pay, for me really is the highlight and obviously having a job when im qualified would be nice! thanks, Bee :)


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Bee, your employer would collect you from the airport so do not worry about that. You should be housed on a compound if you apply for a job with a reputable college/company so you will be free to do as you wish there. However I would suggest that you do not go out alone anywhere, always go with a friend or two so that you have company.

Saudi Is not that bad a place to go if you follow their rules, if however you want to act like a westerner and want western freedoms then you will not enjoy your time. If you want to spend 2 years earning and saving reasonable money and maybe continuing your studies in your free time then it is a great place to be.


Madhu Babu Sai 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan,

I got job offer in Jeddah Wipro technlogies as a Associate Technical consultant. I have 3.5 years of experience and they offered me 12000 SAR. I am a bachelor..so will this salary be sufficient for me as well as planning to save good amount. I am a vegetarian guy and will i get good food there?? Will there be any GYMs available?? I have gone through almost all the queries you answered but couldnt find answers for these...so pls help me with this info...

Regards,

Madhu.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

HI madhu, you will be able to save a significant proportion of your wage (over half depending on how you live of course.) You will find plenty to eat there, being vegetarian should not cause you a problem. There are gyms available for men (not women) within the city, if you stay on compound it is likely you will find one there also. You will find more information about other Saudi subjects by following the links in the section below.


pakistani 4 years ago

we love saudia


Madhu Babu Sai 4 years ago

LeanMan,

Thanks a lot for the information and for your instant reply. I personally felt this page to be the best for anyone who wish to know about Saudi.I will keep in touch with you. Thanks once again.

Regards,

Madhu.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks Madhu, feel free to pass this page onto anyone you know and share it on facebook etc. Thanks again.


Madhu Babu Sai 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan,

One more doubt i have regarding the transport facility in Jeddah. Do i need to know car driving for sure or can i manage with public transport for going to office? Do u have any idea on Wipro technologies in Jeddah? Are there any wipro company buses for transport available? And one more thing is the house rents in the compounds?? If i am planning to join any Indian bachelors already staying there in compounds what would be the cost of accomodation in the compounds?? [Just in case if you have any rough idea on the rent amounts]

Regards,

Madhu.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Madhu, I do know of Wipro and have dealings with them in the past, however I have no idea about where they are located and what facilities they have. Your best bet is to use somewhere such as Linkedin to find others who are working for the company so that you can contact them and ask them directly. This will allow you to get feedback regarding the company from people already employed there by them. If you have no luck then send me an email using the "contact leanman" icon under my profile picture at the top right and I will send you some info regarding compounds in Jeddah.


Madhu Babu Sai 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan,

Ok i will check with any of the employees in LinkedIn.Regarding the transport facility in Jeddah. Do i need to know car driving for sure or can i manage with public transport for going to office?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Madhu, it is better if you can drive yourself as a few taxi trips will be more expensive than hiring a car to use. If your company has transport then that obviously will save you money and make life much easier. However I would read my articles about driving in Saudi Arabia; follow the links in the section below.


Faded Moon 4 years ago

Is private religious practice (In between doors) punishable? What may happen if Mutawa ride home (Is this happens?) and find some photos of god ?


Mon 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan,

I'm from Singapore. Been here for 3 weeks already. Working here as a chef for 2 years in Jeddah. Kinda regret my decision already. Anyway, what can I do here in Jeddah on my off days? Besides mall? It really sucks when you are alone in a foreign country with no friends and ended up staying home the whole time. Thanks.

Rgds


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Faded moon, if you worship alone and no one knows then there is no reason for the Mutawa to raid your home. I know that others do worship with small groups but if you do this keep it quiet and don't invite outsiders as you may be seen as trying to spread Christianity (or whatever religion you are.) If you have pictures and books as long as you don't have multiple copies that make it look like you are there as a missionary to convert others then it should not be a problem.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Mon, you need to find yourself a few friends so that you can find others to socialise with! There are a few places to go in Jeddah other than the malls, there is the beach and the seafront which can be pleasant places to walk and relax. You can also go to the private beaches and even hire small villas with pools out in Obhur.

Once you have a few friends I am sure you will also be invited to parties and other social events; just talk with all the other expats I am sure you will find plenty to do! I certainly have had a great time there in Saudi, always busy; just make sure that you keep within the rules in Saudi, don't get caught with booze and certainly don't hang around people with drugs!


LUZZi 4 years ago

Hello LeanMan, I am from Peru and I currently engaged to a Saudi man. We live in the States for now and we have been talking about moving to the KSA. I am aware that living there will be challenging for me since I have am used to be independent and opinionated. Of course, the fact that my in-laws do not know me yet makes me nervous. Would they hate me? or would they love me?

I wish you could advise me about what should I consider before getting married, before traveling there. Lastly, I am a Spanish Teacher and I would like to know my chances of getting a job there.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Luzzi, most Saudi families do not approve of marriage outside of their own "race", my friend was disowned by his family for almost 10 years when he married a Filipina.

Be aware that if you do marry and move to KSA the only way you can travel is with your husbands permission, if you do not get on and you wish to leave you cannot without his permission. Also any children you have; he would have full rights over and you would not!

I am sure that you would be able to find a job as a teacher however you may have problems being able to work as your sponsor will be your husband and you can only work for your sponsor..

Personally unless you 110% trust and love him I would not consider going!


ESL Lecturer 4 years ago

I was told that my passport would be taken and held. I'm from the US with some experience of working in the Middle East and have yet to have my passport taken. Yes, I am aware that the passports of non-Westerners were held. Is this customary. Also, any information on Tabuk? I'd really appreciate your time.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi ESL, it is standard practice for employers to take the passports in Saudi even for westerners, however if you are on a business visa it is worth holding onto it if you can just in case you decide you want to leave! Some employers will not make a big deal about it if you are western but some will.

I am sorry but I am not familiar with Tabuk.


Daniel 4 years ago

Hi Leanman and to ALL reading this wonderful blog. I am just wondering if you guys have knowledge how much will it cost me to rent a clean and nice room in Tabuk saudi. I just like to rent a one room with own br to save money (cost including electricity, water and others). I will be assigned as expat in that place. thank you in advance.


deanKSA 4 years ago

sir,i have long hair above my shoulder..i always ware a cap when going out in public.im new here in riyadh.is it restricted to have long hair for men? Im a filipino by the way..thanx..


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Daniel, I don't know Tabuk specifically but assuming it is priced in a similar manner to other parts of the country you could get a very basic apartment for 10k for the year if you look around. There is a link in the section below about finding housing in Saudi.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Dean, there are no rules about hair length for men, and I have seen many Saudis with long hair. Don't worry about it; however don't walk like a girl or you could be stopped for other reasons!


Christian 4 years ago

I just finished reading this hub, well I found it informative. I've been working in Khobar for 3 years, I experienced most of this. You forgot to write about how teens drive here with their mothers.


Christian 4 years ago

BTW, I've been to Riyadh, and I found it very hard to do things there. Lots of muttawa's on public places. Here in Khobar, they only have muttawa's here on Malls and checkpoints.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Christian, thanks for reading, I hope you continue to enjoy your stay working in Saudi Arabia.

I have even seen pre-teen children driving their mothers, if you read the articles about driving in KSA (links in section below) I mention it there amongst several other issues..


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Yes Christian, there are far more active Muttawa in Riyadh, places like Khobar and Jeddah are far more relaxed.


umar 4 years ago

Hi

Hope you'r doing well today!

I am married and have a small kid.

I have got a job offer in Riyadh'.They are offering me SR 3200 Per Month with accommodation(sharing basis),car,mobile expenses(SR200 pm),2 years contract,incentives,bonus etc etc.

Since you are there from long time now would glad to know your esteem advice regarding this.

------


Maria 4 years ago

Hi,

I'm an English teacher with an MA TESOL and am considering applying for one of the jobs in Saudi advertised on the internet such as http://careers.tesol.org/jobs#/results/keywords=employer%3A%22Saudi%20British%20Centre%22

I'm female, though, and having read your and other people's comments I'm a bit concerned about my freedom and security.

My husband would go there with me and possibly teach other expats' children the percussion [he's a music teacher].

What do you make of our initial thoughts? We've lived in different countries but all in Western Europe, so obviously the cultural adaptations we had to make were smaller.

Thanks in advance!

Maria


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Umar, not knowing the job or where you are from it is hard to assess if the offer is a good offer. If the money is enough for you then it is ok. You can check out wages on bayt.com for many positions.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Maria,

There are a number of links in the section below you may like to explore which will give you more information about Saudi and many more comments.

As a woman you will have to ensure that you abide by the various rules in Saudi Arabia, as long as you don't do anything foolish then you should be fine. Certainly don't go anywhere with men who you are not related to!

The problem with your Husband accompanying is that for both of you to work you have to both be sponsored by your respective employers and I have had several emails in the last few months from couples in the education sector who have found themselves separated when employers have moved their place of work or insisted on specific accommodation.

So if you take jobs ensure that you are sure about where you will stay and work and make sure that the jobs and conditions are totally secure. You may wish to use linkedin or other social networks to find others working for the same potential employer so that you can chat with them to get their experiences.


Maria 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan

Thank you so much for your reply and for all the info generally. You are incredibly helpful!

Having spent today reading up on all of this, I've decided to go for other countries instead.

Abu Dhabi, Dubai etc sound much more like it. Even if the salaries are possibly more modest, until Saudi changes its attitudes towards females, it won't be the place for me.

Do you happen to know of anyone who provides similar info to you but about the UAE?

Thanks again and I hope you continue enjoying your time in Saudi!

Maria


shamimhassan 4 years ago

Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country and like all Muslim countries we have our own religion and culture, and we are proud of it.

Nobody forces the Westerners to come to Saudi Arabia. If you dont like the Muslim culture or Islam stay in you own country...dont come to Saudi Arabia.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Maria, thanks for the compliments, the rules in Saudi Arabia can be a little too much if you are used to western freedoms especially for a woman, I totally respect your decision.

I don't know of anyone that writes as much as me about those countries but I have not searched, I am sure that there must be someone out there if you do a search.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Shamim hassan, you certainly do have your own religion and culture and those of us that can't abide by it generally do stay away. The same as countries elsewhere have their own religions and customs and they should be respected by yourselves also either at home or when they visit your country.

The main reason that many of us come to your country is because we have been invited to do so to help you build businesses with experience that you do not currently possess, or to do work that you do not want to do. On the whole we abide by your customs and rules and we try to be respectful and as helpful as we can be.

That being said there are a minority of Saudis who don't realise the contribution that expats make to your country and treat them with little respect if not outright hostility. If all expats left Saudi tomorrow the country would grind to a halt and be unable to operate.

I enjoy working in Saudi Arabia but I find the hypocritical nature of many of your fellow Saudis to be very annoying. You condemn the west and everything about it and claim to be pure Muslims, but them queue up by the thousands to go to Bahrain and Dubai every weekend to drink and chase women, all things that are illegal in your own country and against your religion.

Maybe you should expend your energy setting your own house in order, I believe religion and culture are a personal thing and I do not try to force my beliefs on anyone else or condemn anyone who has different ideas to mine.


abc 4 years ago

m from a moslem country a bit liberal than this one, but i dont even think of going there because of their harsh n closed society....they are arrogant n stupids....i've heard of many stories of their discrimination against even against non arab moslems..even my brother had to face problems when filed a case against his employer in dubai n he was denied even an interpreter to defend his case..so better dont even think of going these countries


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi abc, sorry you have had such a bad experience with your family. Many people working in Saudi Arabia have no problems especially if they follow the rules. Sometimes disputes do occur and typically the Saudi will always have the upper hand.


shamimhassan 4 years ago

I personally belive that everbodys religion and culture should be respected, and I am nobody to tell anybody that who is right or wrong.Love and respect always wins, hatred always creats more complications and problems.

I NEVER comment on others religion or culture

If all of us can learn to love and respect each other irrespective of their country, religion or culture this world would be a very nice place to live in. Last but not the least, Love for all hatred for none.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Shamimhassan I have to agree with you, thank you for your comments.


TABUK 4 years ago

I had recently been offered a job in tabuk. Salary wise, I do not think any problem. I am hindu and Indian. I do have some queries:

1. I do not know to drive the car? is it possible to have a rented taxi from my home place to work place every day and at what cost?

2. If I carry the pictures of our God with me, is it going to create some problem?

3. I am fond of walking around, If I walk around alone, will there be any issue?

4. is there is indian community in tabuk so that i can have some indian friends?

Please respond to me as I have to say yes or no to the offer soon.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Tabuk,

Taxis are not that cheap compared to the cost of fuel and car hire, but you will probably find that your company may arrange transport from accommodation to work. You should inquire of them..

As long as you are discreet about carrying the picture then you should have no problem.

There are no problems about walking around alone although you may find the heat a little more than you are used to. I have seen Indian communities every where I have been so I would think you will quickly find new friends there.


knightrider123 4 years ago

Do you know much about the Saudi labour law?

As an expat working here I have been refused access to the personnel files my company keep on me. I have been told that all such files are their property and as such I have no right to them. Is this accurate or is it something else I need to take up with a lawyer?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Knightrider123,

Saudi labor law does not mention anything about the records a company can keep on you and what rights you have over the information. I would guess that there is little you could do about what information they keep on you but you are welcome to try using a lawyer to access the information. Please keep us informed of any progress.


knightrider123 4 years ago

Thanks LeanMan. I've got my lawyer looking into and will let you know how I go.


SteveN 4 years ago

I'm about to go to saudi for a year. I do smoke hash (but I don't drink) and I'm always hearing this "hash is readily available." Well, how does a western guy find it?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

The penalty for being caught with just a small personal quantity of drugs would be a couple of years in prison and potentially lashes as part of the sentence so I don't recommend that you carry drugs in Saudi Arabia. If they think you are dealing or smuggling they can and do impose the death penalty.

If you really want to smoke you need to find some close Saudi friends who you can trust - wait till they light up and offer - don't ever ask or you may find yourself in trouble.


Abdulaziz 4 years ago

Salam (Peace) to you all!

Its funny how some western men and women are seem to be a little surprised of the situation over here in Saudi Arabia, a land which is considered "the holiest" for Muslims and maybe all Abrahamic religions..so it's meant to be as clean as possible from any sexual perversion and other corrupted manifestations, even if its and - at least- in public. You know guys, Saudi Arabia, by the will of the vast majority of its people is happy to be that way with this shape of conservativeness. So I guess the globe is wide enough for anyone to fornicate or to have his sexual freedom somewhere else.. we need a at least "one" clean place in this planet and we must keep it that way, if some one is interested in drinking, sex, drugs or sodomy..etc he can practice it in a neighboring place. wish you all a nice evening!


Abdulaziz 4 years ago

Oh and btw, Thank you LeanMan for your posts, you seem to be a wise and respectful.


DominicFG 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan- great site - well done and thanks BTW :)

I am trying to get back out to the Gulf and it looks like (if all goes well) it will be Saudi or qatar.

was in UAE for 3 years and had horrible time there and had to skip last year.

one employer (lebanese guy) was stealing from govt sites (LOTS of equipment USD nearly 2M) and tried to pin it on me (failed btw) but managed to push me out of job and nearly got me jailed.

the nest one didn't pay wages for 4 months and then tried to get a travel ban on me when I protested - had to skip in the middle of the night before the ban ...very traumatic (lost the lot) and left debts :( .....

Saudi seems more sane and hopefully a chance to clear debt....

fingers crossed... :)

will go alone and save money for the family...

the UK is broken - this place shocked me to the core on my return and can't wait to get out...prospects and QOL are very bad.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Dominic, I think 4 years ago was the last time that I was back home in the UK, it had slipped way down hill then so I hate to imagine what it is like now. Working overseas in places like Saudi is the way to go; follow the money.. As long as you can manage to follow their rules and regulations in Saudi and other countries then you can get along fine and get yourself a nice little nest egg..

Hope you don't find yourself involved with any more dodgy characters in your next job, good luck.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Abdulaziz, I have no problem with the rules about dress in Saudi and about meeting women and so on; as you say it is your country and it is what you want. If people want to behave that way they only have to get on a plane or drive across the causeway to places like Bahrain and Dubai.

That being said there are a large number of your countrymen who do behave in this manner, drink, drugs and women are available quite freely in many areas; I have been to many Saudi organized parties where these are all available and being partaken of by the mainly Saudi party goers.

I say things as I see them, and I do not mean to offend; I write on here mainly for the benefit of those expats looking to work in Saudi and those already there and I think it best that they have a truthful view of what really goes on rather than one given by someone who wears blinkers and ignores behaviour that they don't like and tries to pretend that the the things that they don't like don't exist in Saudi Arabia. Too many people (not yourself) leave comments on here and other pages condemning me and the west in general for what we do and claiming that all Saudis are perfect and would never do anything wrong. Saudis are people and as fallible as those from any other country.

Have a great day and a prosperous life.


siddharth 4 years ago

hey ...

i wanted to know wether it will be a problem if i upload photos taken with my mom is saudi airport into my facebook account ?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Siddharth, you should be fine putting up a picture on facebook. They are not going to come looking for you for that..


DominicFG 4 years ago

Lean

thanks mate :)

haver checked all immigration rules re debt and UAE residency still in my passport, and am OK if I get new passport for the Iqama when I secure the job.

thank God I never took the Emirates ID - that damn thing can block you for the whole GCC - they share the database for that one only.

They have now started forcing people to take it - I got out just in time.

I am looking forward to getting out to saudi hopefully soon and getting my head down to some hard work to build things up again.

No problem with the rules - I don't drink or anything....

I just play computer games or study or read when not working LOL

A few more years hopefully should get us enough saved to move to NZ (dream)

:)

I am now prepping for the phone interviews I have in 2 weeks time - if those go OK then off to Riyadh for final interview and immediate start (they said) - fingers crossed! :)

Dom


Mary 4 years ago

I really wanted to live in UAE, but after reading this post, I kinda changed my mind. Being a liberal Muslim girl, this whole dressing down, not being able to drive and having everything separate from men and being undermined is too depressing for me...I rather live in my homeland Turkmenistan, at least we can wear mini-skirts there.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Dom, best of luck with the interviews; I hope that you get what you want. Work hard, stick to the rules and invite me to your mansion in NZ one day..


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Mary, maybe one day the rules about what you can wear in Saudi will be relaxed but I can't see it happening for some time.


Surinder 4 years ago

Really...Very useful tips...


Ram 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan

You postings are very useful

I am newly married & i want to stay with my wife,

1) Is saudi Safest place for Indians...

2) I heard about ill treatment of woman is it true...

3) People will respect other nationality people.

4) I have a habit of smoking rarely it is ban


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Surinder, thanks for your compliment.

Ram, Saudi is like any other country, there are Saudis who will treat you well and others that will not. Generally however I would suggest that you stay away from them as they will not show the greatest respect for Indians or anyone that they feel come from "lesser" countries.

Smoking is fine, as long as it is tobacco and not some other type of medicinal smoke! You may like to try the "hubbly bubbly" pipe as that can be quite relaxing and fun and you can get with many different flavors.


Anil 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan,

Can a Single entry visa with 30 days validity can be extended for 30 more days with in KSA or need to exit and get another visa for entry?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Anil, you will have to exit after the 30 days and apply for a new visa.


Alok 4 years ago

Thanks LeanMan for the wonderful post & the Q&A's.

I would probably coming to KSA in July. I had few questions to ask:-

1. Though all of the explicit content on the Internet is banned, Can i Use Facebook & other Social Websites as freely as I Use in India?

2. Is 3G network available in KSA?

3. As i will be on a Work Visa, Is it hard to get a Mobile & Internet Connection?

4. Last but not the least: What would be the best thing to do for a Single Man working in KSA on his off day?

Thank you in advance. Take Care..!!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Alok,

Facebook and most social websites are available most of the time but there are a few times when websites get banned for no apparent reason.. so yes today you can use them without problem.

The Internet is quite good in KSA so you should have no problems, I used the internet through the mobile network rather than a phone line and had a very good service.

As to what to do on your day off it is very much up to you, there are a number of links to other articles that I have written in the section below which may give you ideas such as trying to date in Saudi but that would be against the law and likely to lead you into problems.


Mani 4 years ago

Hi i have an employment visa if i go back to my country n dont come back to KSA wat will happen ?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Mani, the short answer is nothing.. They cannot come after you and make you return. However if you decide at a later date that you wish to return to Saudi you may have problems.


MAni 4 years ago

Hi Lean Man , Thanks for reply wat are d problems if i wish to return back to saudi .. if i wish to join to other company


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Mani, firstly it depends how your first sponsor has reacted and if he has lodged any sort of formal complaint. If you put your Iqama number into the MOFA website it will tell you if there are any problems or if it has just expired. If you left any debts do not return as they are not allowed and you would be arrested when you came into the country.

Otherwise without a letter of no-objection it would be a full year before you can re-apply for a visa.


kazimo 4 years ago

I don't know whether it is a rite place to ask you below queries but, appreciate if you can explore(if you know) or guide if you can.

Queries:

• Can we get work visa instead of visit/business visa before travelling to KSA? And

• Can we convert work visa to Iqama upon reaching KSA?

Business Visa/Visit visa related:

• Can I rent an apartment on business visa?

• Can I open a bank account on business visa?

• Can I get internet connection or phone service (Post Paid) on business visa?

• Can I get medical insurance on business visa?

• Can children’s get school admission on business visa?

• Can business Visa/Visit visa be converted to Iqama?

• Can I rent a car on business visa?


dolly 4 years ago

hi ;

i am going to accompany my husband along with my daughter to jubail.my husband has got a job there.is jubail a safer place for us?will they harass us just bcoz we r indians.are these rules strictly followed in jubail too?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Kazimo, in the section above the comments area there are some links to other articles, one of them is about visas;

http://hubpages.com/travel/Saudi-Arabia-Visa

Have a read of that.. but to summarise in general you can't do any of the things you ask on a business visa as they should have a copy of your Iqama, that being said most will accept a copy of your passport for things like a phone connection and a rental car. Bank accounts are out though..

If you are going to work long term you need a work visa which is converted to an Iqama at the end of 90days assuming your sponsor likes working with you. Many sponsors use a business visa when they have problems getting a work visa so beware! You may find yourself working for 3 months and having to leave and not being able to return.


Mani 4 years ago

Hi Leanman , Thanks for ur Valuable reply ..

Last question are they going to ban me in case to enter within country is it considered as ban ?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Normally you can return after one year unless your sponsor has lodged some form of case against you as they were upset with you leaving.. even if the charges are untrue you could have problems..


mohammad ludu 4 years ago

can i go again in saudi because i was in saudi jail iqama problem.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

go to the mofa website and enter your last iqama number and it will inform you of any problems.. If you are worried there are many other countries in the gulf region that hire expats.


Mani 4 years ago

Hi Leanman thank u so much ..tc ..

good job


Fazl Siddiqui 4 years ago

Every country has its tradition & culture, if France can pose restrictions on wearing head scarf and hijabi (scarf wearing) women looked down upon and viewed with suspicion even in the US then why should SA not have its own share of traditions & culture following tenets of Islam.

If you do not understand Islam and the beliefs behind it why go work in SA, stay home.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Fazi, you are right, if anyone does not like what you do in Saudi Arabia they do not have to come there..


Arlee58 4 years ago

Great Information, I am here visiting my daughter from US

Thinking of staying..Where would you suggest I go for activities to start off with.


SteveN 4 years ago

Thanks for the info.

I have a work permit for a day job. Is it ok to work part time teaching ESL nights or weekends?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

You can only work for the sponsor of your visa / Iqama, working for anyone else would be illegal.


not a Saudi 4 years ago

i think most of the commentators here are equally hypocrite,just like Fazl there said. Besides, many mention that they're not allowed to bring the bible with them.if you care much about the bible why don't you follow it's rules? most of you have no relegion so just stay home and practrice your atheism all u want. instead of coming to KSA and trying to impose your animal-like life style


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Wow not a saudi, you think that every Muslim follows your Koran, just go to Bahrain or Dubai at the weekend and count the Saudi Muslims in the bars drinking and chasing prostitutes. Don't throw stones if you are living in a glass house my friend!

As to animal-like lifestyle go to parties run by some of your country men and see what they get up to...


SAK 4 years ago

I have 2 nationality, Saudi, and USA. I lived in the USA for 20+ years and I visited almost all over the world. I am 52 now.

I find you a 7 star lier, I do not need to prove it you already did. We have more than 8 million non Saudi working and every year they come back and in most cases the bring their family.

Sham on you


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Sak, I thought that 5 stars was as high as the scale goes, perhaps you can enlighten us as to the exact lies I have told and provide us with the truth. Are you saying women can drive? Are you suggesting that women are not segregated? That maybe pigs are flying in Saudi Arabia and being eaten everywhere as we speak? Please let me know..


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi dolly, sorry for the late reply. You should be fine in Jubail, there is a large Indian community so you should find plenty of friends.

The rules are enforced in every part of Saudi.


COTTONCANDY735 4 years ago

Dear LeanMan,

Thank you very much for all your help.

I am a registered nurse in the Philippines. I am married and Last Monday I was offered a job in Riyadh College as a Dental assistant because After I graduated from nursing. Since 2007 I been working as a dental nurse. I was offered a salary of 2,500 SR with free accommodation and transportation. With Over time pay. The agency told me that because of my visa as a Dental assistant , I can eventually bring my husband in Saudi. Is that True and Will there be a problem with my visa if I am a Registered Nurse and my visa state that I will be working as A dental assistant. And lastly Do you know the Riyadh College? can you give some information regarding that company. Thank you very much and Regards to your wife.God bless.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Cotton,

You should not have any problem with your visa with regards to being a graduate nurse working as a dental assistant. In theory anyone can bring their spouse to Saudi once they have their Iqama, some companies will even support this financially.

As to the company I do not know it personally, you may wish to try joining linkedin and look to see if there is anyone else working there you can contact to find out more.


COTTONCANDY735 4 years ago

thank you very much for your reply..God bless and take care...regards to your wife..

cotton from the Philippines...


Pid 23 4 years ago

Hello i would like to make some questions I recently have an offer for working in Saudi iI am 32 male single europeanand i am working in Hospital How difficult is to meet european girls to have sex with them


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Pid,

You could read my hub about dating girls in Saudi Arabia to find out more, there is a link in the last text section before the related hubs and comments. But generally you need to offer more than just sex! Always keep in mind that mixing with the opposite sex is illegal and likely to get you thrown in jail and possibly lose your job and be deported.


traveller 4 years ago

i am a us citizen but a filipino descendant, how will they treat me if i get into trouble?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Traveler, Don't get into trouble!

Follow the rules and stay out of trouble in Saudi. Being a US citizen will be of little help if you break any of their laws.


cashier 4 years ago

hi leanman, i am too much bother on what happen to me in this night..i read the rules and regulation here in saudi if this The general rule here is that a Saudi is always right, as a foreigner even if i am“right? that one of the saudi take the money from the counter which im working as cashier they took 500 riyals he run going to his car with his friends saudi people ..diffinitely i have to pay that money belongs to my company which is a saudi man took the 500 riyals...now twll me mr. leanman is that including the rules that sausi is always right? im not so sure for that..


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Cashier,

If anything goes to the police or to the court in my experience and the experience of all of my friends and acquaintances is that they will find in the favor of the Saudi in every instance and not the expat.

Your case is however a little different, if someone stole from your counter then I am sure that there is a video camera as most stores have them so you can demonstrate your innocence. I hope that things turn out OK for you.


cashier 4 years ago

now i understand that some peoples tell that all expatriate working in saudi arabia is unsafe even they follow the rules and regulations,..i am so lucky to have a opportunity to work in KSA but in behalf of my life is dead

thank you mr. leanman for your advise..


Ram 4 years ago

Can i marry my girl friend in saudi arabia is it's possible


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Ram,

Yes you can marry, if you are both Muslim then you can get it done anywhere in Saudi; if not or you want paperwork that will be recognized back home I would suggest that you go to either yours or your girl friends embassies as you can get married there.

Good luck and congratulations.


Jaysie profile image

Jaysie 4 years ago from Philippines

HI Sir, how are u?? been long time haven't message u... sir still remember me? the 1 who ask help for my ban issue? just now Sir i got my visa going kuwait and waiting for my visa stamping here in the philippines...

Sir i need the confirmation from u, is it sure that i can go and work in kuwait? since im deported and banned in dubai? do u think and cant effect my case if ill go kuwait?

im sorry for the disturbance BIG thanks in advance :-)


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Jaysie, you should be fine to go work in Kuwait. If they have approved your visa then you do not have any problems as they would not approve otherwise.

Very best of luck and I hope you enjoy it there in Kuwait.

Stay in touch..


Jaysie profile image

Jaysie 4 years ago from Philippines

A very big thnks always Sir and Godbless to u and to ur family....

ill keep in touch w u when im there..

ang soon after a years hoping to work in saudi too... mwuaahhh

Thanks alot!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Enjoy your time and stay away from any situations in which you can get in trouble. Do your job and return safe in a few years.


luffy 4 years ago

what about phone sex? is it ok?


luffy 4 years ago

or is it possible that they can traced my calls,hehe just worried bcoz me and my gf been doing it recently


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

At least you can't catch anything bad - unless the reports about phone radiation are correct!

I think if they tried to catch everyone in Saudi who has been "naughty" on their phones everyone would be imprisoned.

Just don't let your GF save any pictures on her phone as she could be in big trouble if she is stopped, same goes for explicit texts, sometimes the Mutawa will use anything as an excuse to be able to terrorize some women.


jason 4 years ago

hi! ive been offered a job in tabuk city, anyone knows about this country?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Jason, follow the links in this hub and you can explore all sorts of things about Saudi Arabia. I Hope you enjoy working in Saudi Arabia as much as I do.


jason 4 years ago

hi leanman... thanks ..... i read article and it is very helpful, i hope you can orient me more in tabuk city...... a lot of people dont know this place, so do i. thank you... hope you can help me


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Jason. I am not personally familiar with Tabuk city. What I suggest you do is find your employer through LinkedIn and speak with other people that work for them there in Tabuk.


Rishi 4 years ago

I want to ask that if somebody go on exit-reentry visa from saudia arabia in June-2011 when he will be able to return back (on another company's visa)?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Rishi

In general you will have to wait for at least a year. You may also want to put your old iqama into the system through the MOFA website to see if there is any problem with your old iqama that may cause you problems. If you owed your old sponsor money or they had any other reason to raise a case against you then you may have a problem.


hell 4 years ago

hell on earth... Damn it !!


francis 4 years ago

hi ..lean man , as i am nepali and i would like to ask that my girl friend want to come here in saudi for work in hospital, as i m worried about her, i am still searching that is it is safe for my girlfriend to work here, and what about the new rules. i heard that from aug,2012 only 30 year age girl only can able to work here in saudi , is it true...


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Hell, I guess you are not a fan of Saudi Arabia or its rules. Personally I enjoy working within Saudi Arabia immensely.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Francis, there is no minimum age limit for female workers in Saudi Arabia. My wife worked in hospitals there for many years and had no problems at all. As long as you follow the rules in Saudi Arabia and stay away from places which are known for problems like any other country then you will be fine. I am sure that your girlfriend will be fine working there. You could try to find a position for yourself so that you can join her but you would have to marry to spend time together as the sexes are not allowed to mix otherwise.


Muhammad Faisal 4 years ago

Dear Sir,

Sir mujhe Saudia aye hue 2 month hue hain, Sir Main press k visa per aya hoon, lekin ab main Pakistan wapas jana chahta hoon main ne abhi tak yahan koi agreement sign nahin kiya aur na hi mera iqma bana hai lekin humare manager ne kaha agar mujhe pakistan jana hai to 8000riyal do aur chale jao ab main 8000 riyal kahan se laoon, woh kehta hai k mujhe bulane main 8000riyal kharach hue hain sir saudia main koi aisa rule hai k hum wapas pakistan nahin jasakte Plz Sir Helps Me ,


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Muhammad, you may see from the article and from the other comments that this is all in English, while I would love to help you I find it almost impossible when I cannot understand you. Maybe if you could get someone to translate your question about Saudi Arabia that would help.


sharon 4 years ago

Hi. thanks for the patience and time you obviously spend on this. I am considering a well paid position (about $80,000 USD) in Riyadh. We do need the money right now, but my issue is my two daughters - aged nearly 12 and 6. We would live in a compound, and they would go to an international school (if we can get them in) . But should we take them to such a culturally strange environment? We'd probably go only for 1 - 2 years. Would the elder one have the same status as a woman? ie have to wear ababya etc . Do you see many ex-pat children there? Thanks for you help?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Sharon,

If she is a child then she can dress normally, however if she has started to "develop" then she must wear the Abaya to protect her from those lustful stares! On compound however they can dress and behave normally. Most of the compounds have a fairly good social life for the kids with swimming pools and such like but the older one may find life there a bit of a drag. Especially if she has no friends on the compound.

Certainly the larger family compounds have plenty of expat children so it will all depend on where you get housed, try to inquire about which one you will be housed on if you can. Many of my friends have kids and they seem to be OK, teenagers are grumpy and miserable but that is normal anywhere I think.. lol

If you want to email me directly you can do through my profile page (icon top right - unless they change the layout again overnight!) Happy to answer any questions..


Pam 4 years ago

I'm moving to KSA soon and was wondering if it would be safe to take my Bible with me? I'll actually be arriving in Bahrain and then driving across the border. And my laptop has Christian items on it.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Pam.

The rules in Saudi are that you can bring a single bible for personal use, however if it is found it will likely be confiscated by overzealous customs guards. Don't bring lots of clearly christian books or you may find yourself turned around or even arrested for coming there to convert Muslims to Christianity which is a crime in Saudi.

As to your laptop you should be fine, I have never heard of anyone having laptops or flash drives checked, you hear lots of people talking about it but I have yet to meet anyone to whom it has happened or knows someone personally to whom it has happened.

Good luck, don't push them when it comes to religion!


anonymous 4 years ago

Applying for a Saudi visa in Beijing? This is the only Embassy in the whole world that requests for an MOFA pre-approval for male applicants where all other KSA embassies in other countries do not. Even when the official agent in Saudi confirmed that the MOFA no longer issues Pre-approval letter to male applicants, the KSA Embassy in Beijing is still insisting for it. Plus the chinese dude in the Embassy in Beijing - when you call him, be prepared to be just told off. Rude and useless.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Anonymous

all expat visas are pre-approved through MOFA as the sponsor has to have authority to bring you into the country. This "letter" or just a visa number has to be included within your application at any Saudi embassy to process your visa to work or do business in Saudi Arabia.

They often do not understand their own rules, I have had documents bounce between the Saudi embassy in the UK and MOFA in Saudi because they disagree what they should do! The only way that I resolved the situation I had was by "paying" for the problem to be overlooked!


hussain 4 years ago

Hi, just i want known that i have worked in Saudi Arabia in 2004-2008, the problem is my sponsor was not good enough, i have jumped form and worked in other company with out iqama/passport. in 2008 i went to embassy to tell about sponsor, they suggested me to go by jail on Emergency Certificate to my home country they have taken my finger print & eye . now i want to work in Saudi to good sponsor can i take new visa to work. all most 4 years 6 months completed from arrival from Saudi. Please let me konow


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Hussain, if you were deported then it is likely that they will not issue another visa. If you still have your original igama number go to the MOFA website and enter it. You will be told if there are any records associated with your old Iqama that may prevent your return. If there is nothing there then you can come back without a problem.

Otherwise you could apply to any other of the gulf countries to work.


John 4 years ago

LeanMan, I have a question for you: how dangerous is Saudi Arabia? And do you know anything about Taif? I'd really appreciate your time.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi John,

If you are going to Saudi Arabia to work and respect their laws and rules then it is far safer than anywhere I have been in the west. If you want to go there and take drugs, smuggle alcohol and invade mosques to convert the locals to Christianity then you may be asking for trouble..

Saudi Arabia is not dangerous at all in my mind, the people can be a little obnoxious in the way that spoilt teenagers are, but they are not malicious. What the media portray about muslim activists and so on is a very very small minority and you are very unlikely to meet anyone like that, I certainly never have in my years in Saudi.

As to Taif, I have been there but never stayed there. Friends that know it have never said anything bad about it.


T. 4 years ago

Quickly scanning through the comments I have come to the conclusion that westerners are overpaid more than they are worth and Asians depress the local wages and are only hired because they are cheap.

I know Asians will flip over this because most are inconsiderate to any country they emigrate too and bullshit their way into job. But keep away until unemployment drops to 5%.

There is growing frustration at foreigners who take our jobs.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi T,

You have to firstly realize that the reason that the wages that the Asians work for are so low is because your own countrymen offer those wages. It is the greed of your fellow Saudis that keeps the wages low not the fact that there are others in the world that would welcome that money. Don't blame the poor of the world for your own greed. Your comments about Asians are incorrect and highly racist, they generally work harder than any Saudi I have ever worked with.

As to the frustration towards the foreigners that take "your" jobs take it out on the employers not the expats and also look to your fellow countryman's work ethics. The employers take on expats because they will work and the bulk of the Saudis are too work shy and not capable of doing the work.

So go complain at the owners of all of these companies that employ people at low wages etc. Find out why your countrymen don''t want to work when they do have a job!


4 years ago

LeanMan,

I was expecting this type of typical answer and sweeping generalizations. We have to endure racist comments from foreigners and our own greedy countrymen but when we criticize foreigners we are the racists?

Yes many of the countrymen are greedy, but the government is micromanaging them now. Nitaqat is a success despite all the nay sayers be it local or foreign. 250,000 jobs were filled by Saudis in the last years, which is a greater achievement to nationalize jobs than what was previously tried in the past 20 years. 30% of unemployed job seekers hold higher qualifications, which is on par with developed nations.

I have seen unemployment drop from an average of 20% in the last decade to an average of 10% today. Net emigration is in the -2% range for the past 5 years and the economy is still running and did not suffer despite what the fear mongers were saying.

I find it ironic that the top 100 Saudi companies, be it banks, telecoms, petrochemicals, insurance, retail, real estate, etc, and anything listed in the stock market employs the bulk of Saudis and generate 100 billion into the local economy, while mid and small size companies employ the bulk of foreigners and remit 100 billion out of the economy. My point, if Saudis are too lazy or incapable, how come they run leading companies and continue to diversify and move the economy forward?

As for the hard working ethical Asians, one look at their country state of affairs shows they are hardly hard working or ethical.

Every Asian or anyone impressed with Asians should read this and stop living in delusions, fix your own country before you criticize or try to fix ours:

http://escapefromindia.wordpress.com/


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi T

I am sure you are right, after all there is little point disagreeing with someone who does not open their eyes or their mind! You will find Saudi companies as the top companies around the world - or maybe you will not! In fact go have a look at the forbes survey regarding the top companies in 2012 and find saudi companies that are not in the oil and gas related industries - oh, but the fastest growing ones are in places like Tailand, the Philippines and other Asian countries!

The reason your own people employ western expats in places like your banks and other "successful" companies is because they need them to help run those companies due to a lack of local skills and ability to get the work done. As to real estate, I worked in real estate in Saudi Arabia and the industry is run mainly by expats (unless you are talking the small local real estate offices renting apartments!) and the construction crews are the slave labor Indians that you are so fond of!

Please get those companies to stop paying slave labor wages and employing expats - please just stop! See what happens to your "booming" economy. Send home all of the foreign drivers and maids, and see how you cope like the rest of the world!

Stop also pointing the finger at other countries - maybe you should consider where your country and your people would be if you did not have the oil!


4 years ago

LeanMan,

As a Saudi-American who have done extensive business and tourist trips in North America, East Asia and Europe my mind and eyes are open. I don't like to blow my own horn but people who actually know me will testify to it.

I'm aware of the forbes list, but no one is making any fuss over Exxon, Brazil oil, Gasprom, China oil, dutch, and every big oil on the list and happen to dominate the top spots. So whats your point? In fact, you'll have to be oil, bank, or telecom to make it in the top spots of the list.

Saudi banks have a Sharia advisory board as well as Saudi board of directors and I'm not aware of any western expats running the show. By global bodies repeated admission, Saudi banks stood the global financial crisis due to sound regulations.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi T

Well, done Saudi companies must officially be the best in the world. Problems that myself and ALL of my friends have encountered must be totally isolated to just us and the other few million workers there. The Saudi workers that we have observed turning up mid morning three hours late to play with their friends and then go for lunch for the rest of the day are all figments of our imaginations. The Saudis that refuse point blank to work, the ones that do things so incompetently that they would have been better off not being there at all are also complete figments of our imaginations; after all most Saudis can not see them! It seems to me that Saudis have a big problem with acknowledging any problems and will just attack anyone that points them out! The west is far from perfect before you bother to point your finger rather than deal with the problem of your fellow workers. But the work ethic of most Saudis is abysmal, the worst I have encountered any where in the world and I have worked and traveled in many different countries.

All expats should leave immediately and let you get on with you running the country to perfection.


AmericanDude 4 years ago

Hello, my company is sending me to Saudi Arabia for a two year stint and it looks like I'll have to take my wife and kids as well. None of us are religious.

I am concerned as I have two daughters (one 8 the other 14) and a 16 year old son. Will my daughters be required to wear the burka or some other Muslim outfit? What about my son or my wife? I think the whole rules regarding social interaction will prevent my daughters from leading normal lives there, but I have no choice.

How are the schools in Saudi Arabia? Do they require uniforms?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi American Dude

Personally I would never take a teenage girl to Saudi as they will find life very boring and restrictive. In public they will have to cover up fully with the Abaya covering the whole body and should cover their hair too although they may get away with that in places like Jeddah and Al-Khobbar. All women must cover up, it is not compulsory for small children so it will depend on how mature your 8 year old looks.

If you are going to live on a compound they can get a social life there but it will depend on the size of the compound and if there are other kids their age. Outside it is very difficult to do anything other than bring people to your home or go to theirs.

Schools vary, but generally they are not brilliant but most are passable..

Feel free to contact me through the profile page if you need more information..


AmericanDude 4 years ago

Thank you for your comments... I am disappointed to hear about the dress restrictions. When you say it depends on how mature my 8 year old looks, do you mean how much like a woman she looks? If she does not wear an abaya, will we be subject to unwanted attention? If so, what should we do to avoid trouble? I would be prefer personally to let them get in as much freedom as they can so we can make this 2 year trek as short as possible.

How can I get them into a good school? Can I try to get some good connections with my company or is it based solely on luck or where you live? I'm going to assume the religious dress is required during school, if not, what is the dress code typically?

Based on your experience do you think there will be others their age in the compounds? I know my kids aren't going to be that happy there and I've apologized many times but sadly this is what I must do to earn money. Can they at least g shopping, see movies, etc, without me with them?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi again American Dude;

Firstly your kids cannot see movies etc as there are no movie theaters. The only real "entertainment" that they are likely to find will be the play areas within the malls where there are small roller coasters and other rides that they can use. In some areas such as Jeddah you will also find specific play-parks where they can roam around and use the rides.

The bigger the compound that you end up on the more likely that there will be kids their age, certainly within Riyadh some of the bigger family oriented compounds have many kids and various pools and other sporting facilities where they can play and relax.

Schools vary, I took no kids with me when I went so your best bet would be to try to contact any other expats in the area that you will be in to get some recommendations. If your company employs other expats there get some contacts through the company.

If your daughter is developing she will need to wear an abaya, kids are usually treated with respect, generally Saudis love kids - Saudi kids are very badly spoiled and can be obnoxious by our standards at times, like their parents they are highly demanding, will not queue etc.

Stay in touch and I will try to answer any questions you have.


Amara 4 years ago

hello I am currently living in Saudi with my mum and dad and just now my friends and I were stopped on the street by police. They told us that we were not dressed properly even though we all were wearing abayas and hijab. They told me I had to wear a Niqab to cover my face because I didn't look Muslim and that if they saw me again without my eyes and face covered they'd throw me in jail... My Saudi friends were all dressed exactly the same as me I mean from behind or the side you couldn't tell who was who and they didn't care about them. I'm British not Saudi or Muslim so I don't know why they pick on me.

I don't want to cover my face I see other women cover their faces and I don't like how they are draped in fabric. I'm right in Ridayh and not sure what to do... I keep trying to avoid those guys but I keep seeing them and i don't want to tell my dad cause he'll get mad at me for getting in trouble when I did nothing wrong..

I don't even have a Niqab and when I told them they said they didn't care and that I better have one when they come back. I've never worn one and dont even know how to wear one! I have no money and I'm only 15 I dont want to be arrested what should I do?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Amara

Tell your parents! Don't do nothing; I hear stories from people who get blackmailed into doing things to avoid being "arrested" for things that they cannot be arrested for.. Tell your parents today and show them who the people are so as they can deal with it.


Amara 4 years ago

I told my dad last night over supper and he doesn't know what to do... I just left for school and still dont know what I should do. Im seeing those guys a lot where I am and i am nervous cause I dont want them to do anything to me...

Two of the friends I was with yesterday I noticed are wearing Niqab today when they didnt before. Scared maybe I don't know.

I dont know how they can get away with this I dont have to wear a Niqab only a headscarf which sucks enough already cause i cant show my hair and know im super scared...

I can't think of any reason that they would say I don,t look Muslim. I am the only one of my group of friends that is non Muslim but I dont see how they could know that, because of my not being Muslim I do wear abaya and hijab liberally (my friends are super conservative with hijab and wrap themselves really tight but I let the bottom droop about some 2 to 3 centimeters below my neck, doesnt show that much skin only a little but) but that shouldn't be an issue I would think. I do look similiar to my friends my skin and hair are somewhat darker as my mum is a Filipina and there skin is lighter but other than that I look exactly like them.

obviously they have a bad prejudice against me for some reason... Saudi is my favourite foreign country I have so been to so far as I have lots of friends there and this is ruining it, I have been here for 9 months too no other problems.

Please help me... My dad says just avoid them and call if they harass me again but i am afraid they will throw me in jail if I say I'm not breaking the law...

Please help,

Amara

PS: sorry for my grammar typing this on way to school on my iphone and I'm a bad spiller. Thanks


HardyHeron 4 years ago

Hello, I have a question. I will be visiting my brother and sister in law in Ridayh and just had a question. I heard somewhere that camera phones are illegal for females. Problem is my only cell phone is an iPhone generation one and like many of its kind the camera no longer functions at all, so it can't take pictures of any kind. This is not uncommon with older models.

If I demonstrate this to the right people could I be permitted to take the phone into the country and use it to call? I presume the camera restriction is to prevent indecency but without a working camera there is no way to take pictures of anyone.

Also, on a side note do you know of any good clothing stores in Ridayh? Although I am not a Muslim, a husband (who is a Saudi) is and my children are by choice as well and I would like to get my daughter a nice head covering while there that she can wear around the house and to prayer, as my husband said she is approaching the age where they must "become more observant".


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Amara

As your parents say stay well away from these people. If you are living on compound stay there to do your socializing, some of these Saudi men are dangerous towards young girls. I know many women, mainly filipina and Indonesian girls who have been forced into doing things that they do not want to do by "Mutawa" that threaten to arrest them for rule infringements.

If they think that you are a Filipina they will have no worries about abusing you as they think that there is nothing you can do so be very very careful. I know too many Filipinas that have been raped and abused and have not been able to do anything about it.

Follow their rules so that there is no possibility of getting picked up for anything, I know it sucks but it better than the potential consequences.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Hardy,

Your phone is fine, you will see Saudi women with a huge variety of highly expensive phones with cameras. What I would say however is don't go around taking lots of pictures in public places as you may offend someone. Don't keep offensive pictures on your phone either!

There are many places to shop in Riyadh, go into any Mall and you will be presented with many stores that you will recognize from the west as well as many local clothing stores. You will have no problem finding what you need. You may also like to explore some of the souks, but take someone with you that is experienced in shopping on them.


HardyHeron 4 years ago

Thank you for reply, LeanMan. It is good to hear that I can take my phone with me. Is it generally okay to take pictures of landmarks, etc? This is my first trip to Saudi Arabia and I'd like to have stuff to remember it by.

Also, my husband explained to me the concept behind the whole abaya and hijab thing. Luckily last night before I left for the airport this morning he showed me how to put on the scarf, etc. He told me I'd be able to take it off when I'm at my brother-in-law's house because he is related to me but I need to wait for when he invites to remove it, and after that I no longer need to wear it around them.

Is this sound advice? My husband has lived in US for about a decade and I want to know if anything has changed, as I don't really want to have to seek his permission to remove a rather uncomfortable abaya and head scarf.

Thanks for your help.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Hardy

Pictures of places are fine.. Just avoid anything that may be deemed pornographic and that could be something quite innocent by western standards. So pictures of friends on the beach in their swimsuits would be out!

Different families have different rules regarding the Abaya and headscarves thing.. Some homes I have been into have been totally relaxed with women dressed and relaxed in their pajamas mixing normally as we would in the west and other homes I have never seen the women let alone without headscarves!

What I would say is though is to still dress conservatively beneath your abaya if you will be removing it. Even the more relaxed families I have been in still cover up fairly well even if the dress is more casual.


Amara 4 years ago

Hello again.

So we took your advice; my parents and I went out and bought a three piece Niqab that looks similar to my old Hijab but covers my whole face and eyes. This really sucks, because at least with a regular Niqab I could at lease see, but because they demanded that I cover my eyes as well now all I get to see through is a little mesh screen. Anyway the Niqab I have to wear now looks similar to this:

http://www.sunnahclothing.com/black-niqab-3-piece-...

I don't think it's fair that they can do this sort of stuff to me. I'm NOT Filipina, my skin tones are a few shades darker than everyone else's but so what? There are lots of Saudi women that I see that have darker tones than me and they only wear Hijab...

My dad said he's going to confront them about this... Hopefully this will stop so I can start enjoying SA again. Do you of any government authority or someone that we can contact to get these guys to stop... Obviously not the police, as they're ones who are making me do this in the first place.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Amara,

It is not against the law for you to show your face as you well know, the trouble is that many police and mutawa make up their own rules to frighten young vulnerable girls into doing what they want. They cannot arrest you for it but if you annoy them they can just as easily make something else up to give you problems.

I know too many women who have been sexually abused by predators like this, they use their position and their power to frighten girls and young women into doing what they want them to do. Hopefully your father making a complaint to them will get them to stop - but seriously stay well away from them, if you see them coming walk away; best not to tempt trouble.


Amara 4 years ago

Hello LeanMan,

So my dad discussed the issue with those guys and he said that they said that I wasn't wearing my hijab respectfully with it drooped so low from my neck and they were insulted as it was an important Muslim holiday around then. They also said that if my dad would make sure I am dressed properly with my hijab tightly wrapped and abaya closed then I wouldn't have to wear a Niqab.

When he asked them about the issue of them saying how I didn't look Muslim they were referring to how my hijab was being worn and not my skin color and said I looked very nice and that they'd never say racist remarks to me...

They did however say that on religious holidays I should wear Niqab as they said but that I wasn't required to as the law does not require it. However (and I DON'T believe this) they told my father a law was being drafted for Ridayh to allow police to require women to wear Niqabs if their hijab did not cover enough skin and that if it is passed he should ensure that my skin is covered.

So no more Niqab, for now anyway, so yay...


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Amara

I am glad that things have sorted out well for you. I can't see that they will take a backward step to require women to cover up completely so I should not worry about that.

Always tell your parents if people are giving you problems as Saudi can be very difficult for girls of your age. Don't take any chances.

Enjoy your stay there..


lan 4 years ago

hi, i would like to ask about the internet access and on how wide this access can do. are they blocking site like for example fb since some containing images which is explicit to them. i can hide inside my room for 3 yrs, just to get away from trouble. as long as i have internet the freedom to use it. but what makes me nervous is how those authorities act base on reading the article and comments that simply signifies that this people can harass you whenever they want especially filipina even with no offences and can possibly blackmail you without defense. wow... i will be working soon in SA as a machine operator in Riyadh but reading this article makes me confuse . would i continue or not...lols


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Ian

You can access facebook and most other similar sites. You certainly won't be able to access porn or anything like that.

If you are worried about being able to access blocked sites, and there are quite a few, set yourself up a proxy server service before you go. Most of the homepages for these services are blocked so you may have problems finding them when you are in the kingdom.

Personally I have never had too many problems, most pages and sites that I have needed to use I have been able to access.


Bostoner4Life 4 years ago

Hello LeanMan,

My wife, daughter and I are living in Saudi Arabia while I work for IT at the company that's hosting me. I am concerned because my daughter has a nice group of Saudi girls and guys she hangs out with after school. She has recently beginning to change a lot and just act differently.

For one thing there's the whole abaya and hijab issue. She originally hated the hated of wearing one and would yell if I made her wear it anywhere (she was constantly pushing the boundaries at school as well; I once had them call me to tell me to remind her to wear the hijab). Now she is wearing the hijab at home comfortably and won't immediately rip it off upon getting home from school like she used to. She is also wearing her abaya more and more and in places she isn't required to.

I know her friends are devout Muslims (her female friends are only teenagers; the youngest one at 13 is wearing a Niqab and her 15 year old friend Shada is pretty close to being totally covered) and while it's great they've removed the pressure on her of having to wear the required clothing I'm concerned that they're trying to get her to cover up more and more. I know her guy friends frequently ask me if I have Niqabs and other Muslim clothing for her, and when I say we're not Muslim they just pretend like they didn't know, but I know they do as this has occurred at least a dozen times over the past month or so.

My daughter is being extremely evasive on this issue; she won't look at me when I ask why she is dressing up and just changes the subject. If I get her to answer she doesn't go into specifics.

I know her friends are nice to her and trustworthy but I think they are slowly convincing her to dress in a way she's not, consciencely or not. Not exactly brainwashing, but still... I don't really know what they talk about when they're out as I'm never with them when I suspect this occurs (she has a cell phone to call me with in case of emergencies).

What should I do? Is this something you see with expat kids in Saudi or should I be more concerned and speak to her friends?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Bostoner..

The problem that I see is that in most cases the biggest influence on any teenager is always their friends and peers. If your daughter is constantly mixing with Muslims who WILL try to convert her then she is going to be influenced in some way even if only to cover up more. It is up to you what you do, but often trying to prevent something like this will just make a teenager want to follow whatever path you are forbidding.

I am no expert on teenagers so you will have to figure this one out for yourself I am afraid.


Bostoner4Life 4 years ago

Thank you LeanMan,

Yeah, I'll be watching closely. I think she realizes that I find the situation odd as I have spoken to her several times and so is trying to appear like she is not being influenced. However, I think I'll stop her from dressing up like this any more, as she already looks like the girl in this photo here on a daily basis.

http://arabfilmfestival.org/film_detail.php?id=719

As far as I know her friends are not trying to convert her but I still find it odd that she is keeping her head covered at home even when she removes her abaya (which is not all that often; since my wife and daughter go out a lot they usually leave them on unless they will not be leaving for 3-4 hours, but at least my wife uncovers her hair at home and removes most other Muslim clothing elements except the abaya).

Perhaps wearing that stuff to school each day and having herself surrounded by girls covered from head to toe in that stuff is making her want to fit in, I don't know. Like I said, I'll watching closely.

Teenagers are a mystery, LeanMan. I guess you probably don't have any of your own, right? ;)

Bostoner4Life


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Bostoner

I have two teenagers, but did not take to Saudi as I did not believe it would be fair on either of them. Especially as they were very much used to their freedoms.

Good luck with your daughter.


bluberry 4 years ago

Hello LeanMan.

Tell Mr T and all THE "SINLESS SAUDIS" STOP MAKING BABIES BY MARRIAGE TO CANADIANS and than RUNNING OFF LEAVING CHILDREN and MOTHERS with NO FINANCIAL, MORAL OR PARENTAL SUPPORT. HYPOCRITES!!!!!!!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Blueberry

I think that you will find that the problem you have is not limited to Saudis! There are plenty of other nationalities doing exactly the same!


Hope 4 years ago

Hi,

I just got hired to work in Riyadh as a nurse. Is it really strict there? I wish i just applied in Khobar :( If i cover my whole body when i go out would that help me not get any attention from the police? I'd rather be safe than sorry. And also, i have some pdf books in my phone and laptop, (fifty shades of gray) is that also restricted? Or would they just check for offensive pictures?

Thanks in advance, your hub have been very informative :)


Shada 4 years ago

hello I just want to say that I am a 16 year old girl and I want to say that I really do not like Saudi Arabia one little bit. first every day I have to wear niqab and dull black abaya my father says as a young lady I must show nothing to anyone. I used to have colorful abayas and hijab but then i got older and he say no to them and now black only and no more hijab only niqab. before I leave for school every morning he go through what I am wearing and says cover hands! cover eyes! i begin to look like black thing and not a girl as he won't let me show skin, not on hands or feet or anywhere and on fridays now i wear it even when no other men are here.

i am really sad my friends get to wear less of abaya and hijab each year and be colorful with many design abaya and blue and gold hijab that doesn't even hide all hair and they tease me because my father won't let me do that. i know if abaya and hijab were not by law required i could dress like them sometimes but he is radical and next thing you know i be in burka... he won't let me go anywhere without his taking me there he won't let me be driven by a driver even though he said I could if my marks in school were high but he says they not high enough, go higher and then but he never will. :(

i even have to write this at night from cell phone when he not watching because he have software on computer that track websites i go to and he restrict everything, my brothers can visit any site they like and not get in trouble and i cannot visit site have anything to do with men or boys and I cannot watch internet video or he catch me...

my friends and brothers have time of their life here but i hate it. i hate how country can make my father control what i wear as my friends look awesome in blue and gold abayas and hijabs and when I at their house they show hair but no. you overseas people need to not wear hijab and abaya when here as it tell them it okay. i don't care if my friends like it I am a good and loyal Muslim but wish i could dress as i want and go where I like...

i end now so i dont get caught writing this at night else my phone get take away...


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Hope.

Yes Riyadh is much more strict than some of the other cities in Saudi Arabia and it would be best to cover up fully if you want to avoid any attention, especially if you are new there and not sure about where you should go.

As to books and pictures they are unlikely to check your laptop and phone unless you get in trouble for something else.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Shada

I feel sorry for you with the restrictions that you have to endure but unfortunately that is Saudi's culture. Hopefully over time things will change and become more relaxed. But for now you have to do as your father instructs whether you think it is fair or not.


ram 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan,

Thanks for posting valuable info...

I got offer in AL KHOBAR, can i know the living style , i am from india,

i am asked to bring my own laptop, i do not know money exchange process and what are the personal things can i bring from india.

thanks in advance for response


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Ram,

You will find most of the information you need in the article above. You can bring almost anything with you but avoid anything that can be considered pornographic or religious (non-Muslim).

There are several links in the article above which will take you to other articles about aspects of living and working in Saudi Arabia.


Ram 3 years ago

Thank you for response LeanMan,

I got offer 6000 SR , accomodation and food transport they are providing, is that reasonable to work in al khobar , please sujjest if any mandatory work i need to do before leaving from india.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Ram

You should be able to save from that if you are not looking to lead a very extravagant lifestyle. You can review wages on a website such as bayt.com.

Good luck, Al Khobar is one of the better places to live in Saudi Arabia so you should not have to many problems.


Ram 3 years ago

Thank you for giving info .


Ali 3 years ago

My friend got job in AL FALAK (Kobhar) as software developer , could you sujjest whether this company has good carrier growth and work and living style,

can you provide the some of the blog reviews for this company . Thanks in advance.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Ali,

I do not know the company personally and while I do reply to most requests for help you are as capable as I am for typing the company name into Google or linkedin to find out more about them.


anu 3 years ago

Hi Lean man,

i got job offer in al-khobar, contract for 2months can be extendable,

i am joining from some consultancy , i got VISIT VISA for 30 days, how can they make me work by issuing the visit visa,

one of my friend told me that for contract employees they will provide VISIT VISA then they will extend .

is it truthfull information to come on visit visa coming for work. how do they extend the visit visa , or how to they make visit visa to business , because i saw that to work in KSA work or business visas are given, but for me they gave visit visa for working .

please provide me info and give me valuable suggetions and links.

Thanks in adanve


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Many companies provide "employees" with visit or business visas but neither offers you any real protection when it comes to getting your dues nor do they allow you to work as an employee. A business visa should be for an individual who comes to the company to do business; so they should be employed elsewhere and coming to discuss sales opportunities, conduct training or consultancy or so forth. I worked for almost a year on a business visa but had many problems getting it renewed and being allowed to stay for the full duration. I am surprised that you have only been issued a 30 day visa for a 2 month contract, you will have to leave at the end of your 30 days, extending visas is very difficult within Saudi.


Anu 3 years ago

Thank you LeanMan


dobbs82 3 years ago

Hi All,

I am in construction and have an interview with representatives from "Al Kifah Contracting"this Monday. I am told by the recruiter that presented my CV to this company that this is the largest construction company in KSA...which I think is rubbish based on what I have been able to find on the internet.

Has anyone else seen this company around? The website seems a bit 'cheap' in my opinion and I wonder if this doesn't all seem a bit suspect.

If it is a scam then it is quite an elaborate one as the interview is to be held at one of the nicest hotels in Cape Town.

Also, Should I be worried about my safety in the event that any labour on a construction site is killed? The last thing I want, is to be considered responsible and then beheaded in public.

Any feedback would be appreciated!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Dobbs,

There are many "family" owned companies in Saudi and it is difficult to keep track of all of the different industries that many get involved in. I am not personally knowledgeable of the company but that does not mean that it is not a great company to work for. You could try looking on LinkedIn to find employees there from your home country and chat with them to find out more.

If they are going to interview you go with an open mind and remember that Saudi is very different from every other country. If they are going to go to the expense of interviewing you and flying you to Saudi once they offer you a job then it is very unlikely that this is a scam. If however they are asking you for money then you should beware.

As to safety on the construction site, you are unlikely to be help personally responsible if you take all of the usual precautions and ensure that you set a good example. I have worked in construction within Saudi and know of a couple of fatalities working on high rise buildings and nothing official was ever done.


dobbs82 3 years ago

Thanks! That's basically what I figured. Scammers always want money along the way for some or other miscellaneous expense.

At least I am a safety nut on site and so it would be very hard to point any fingers my way.

Lets see how tomorrow goes, and who knows, maybe I'll be offered a post I can't refuse.

Thanks again!


CWick 3 years ago

Hi there,

My husband has applied for a position at Aramco and we are at the very early stages of information gathering about life in KSA. I have lived and worked in Dubai and have an idea about life in the Middle East but I guess Saudi is very different to Dubai in many ways.

I apologise if I am repeating questions that others may have asked before but there is just so much info on your page to read :-) (which is great by the way !)

1. Are Expat wives allowed to work legally while they are sponsored by the husband

2. I understand that women are not allowed to drive, and are also not allowed to be in a car with anyone other than a relative/ husband etc; does this exclude a driver ?

3. are there activities/ classes for toddlers? Our daughter will be turning 2 in a couple of months and is enrolled in swimming, dancing, playgroup etc here in Australia. Do they have anything similar there? or does it depend on the compound you live in?

4. a bit confused about male/female segregation. Are you allowed to have parties/ social gatherings in your home with friends who may be married / single, male/ female?

5. are you allowed to carry religious statues eg: statue of jesus/ mother mary etc in to the country with you?

Any info would be much appreciated and thanks in advance for your time


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi CWick

Good luck with your husbands application at Aramco. Saudi is very different to Dubai in many ways!

1. You can only work for your sponsor and as a wife your sponsor will be your husband so the official answer is NO. However many wives do work illegally in places such as the international schools and even the hospitals. It just depends on the employer and the risks they are willing to take.

2. Officially you would still be alone with a man who is not your direct blood relative if you had a driver. This is generally overlooked but there have been incidents where women and men have been arrested! Just don't pee anyone off and you should be OK as this is generally accepted.

3. It will depend on the compound, many of the bigger ones have nursery facilities etc.

4. You can do whatever you want in the privacy of your own home especially on compound. As a married couple as long as you are together it does not matter as to the status of your guests as you are chaperoning them! That being said if you were off compound and you made too much noise and got raided you could still have problems regarding things such as alcohol. Definitely never allow drugs in your home!

5. If you are talking something the size of a cross worn hidden around your neck then you should be OK, if you are talking about packing an 18inch religious icon in your suitcase it will almost certainly get you turned around and on the next flight home. There are no churches, trying to convert people to Christianity is a crime and bringing more than one small bible and a personal cross may be seen as an attempt to bring things in for the purposes of converting people!


Chantelle 3 years ago

Hello there,

I am a single woman (mid 40s) who is considering accepting a job in Saudi Arabia. I am slightly hesitant to do so because of the nature of the country's misogynistic attitudes towards women...

In general, how would be treated if I accept the job there? Am I likely to be harassed, etc? What would I be expected to wear, etc?

Thanks for your reply.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Chantelle,

I am afraid that in general most Saudi men have a very bad attitude towards women, although in the work place you will almost certainly be treated respectfully. NEVER go alone anywhere with Saudi men in Saudi (or any other man if you want to stay on the right side of the law!)

In public if you stick to the busy places such as malls you will be fine, but only use drivers and taxis that you know and trust.

You will have to dress in the Abaya (fully covered from head to foot) in public places, this may include your workplace unless it is female only.


Chantelle 3 years ago

Hello again,

I am disappointed to hear that. Is this abuse behind closed doors or open and verbal? Though the job I am considering is short term I will certainly not accept if it's more trouble than it's worth.

I would certainly wish to not have to wear an abaya. I'm not entirely sure if I'll be able to procure a female-only workplace, but if I am, will that exempt me from wearing the abaya? And to what extent is this rule enforced?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Chantelle, the wearing of an Abaya is strictly enforced EVERYWHERE, many places will also require you to fully cover your hair as well although you should not be asked to cover your face with a veil. The only place you can shed your abaya will be on a western compound or in your own home. An all female workplace may allow you to remove your abaya but not always.

As to abuse I have seen women being shouted at by their husbands or other family members in public places such as malls and even seen them slapped. Although I would doubt that you would be treated like that in a public place if you look western as most Saudis would be worried about who you are and if you were with someone important. In the workplace you will be treated respectfully, most open abuse is normally towards maids and cleaners from places like India and Indonesia which the Saudis have little respect for.

But never get yourself in a situation where you are alone with Saudi men, not only is it illegal, they are a poorly behaved bunch and you could have problems.


Chantelle 3 years ago

Thank you for your response. I will take that into consideration.


Mo 3 years ago

I'm from saudi and I think there is a lot exaggeration in this artical !!! I have a lot of American friends whom have been and still lived here and they are all happy !!! I don't see any of this what you talking about !!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Mo, let me know what you think is exaggerated, the rules of what you can and can't do in Saudi Arabia are all very real. If you live your life hidden behind the walls of a western compound then you will be sheltered from what goes on outside in the real Saudi.

Compounds where most westerners live very much allow western rules and many even have bars (selling home made beers and wine) and ban Saudis from entering to prevent problems. But outside it is a very different story indeed.


Gem 3 years ago

I just want to ask tips and any advise because my Dutch husband who works in a Dutch company is planning to open another business center in Jubail to cater all their customers needs in Middle East. They offered my husband to go and move there together with me. I am a Filipina, married to a Dutch guy and we currently living here in Netherlands. Do you think it is safe for us to move there and manage my husband company? Any tips and advise will be highly appreciated. Thank you, Mr. LeanMan.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Gem, my wife is also a Filipina and we got on just fine there in Saudi; even living off compound. As long as you don't break any of their rules or get upset at their ways you will not have any problems. you should however avoid going to poorer areas where the Mutawa (religious police) hang out as they do tend to target Filipinos and other Asian women!


Gem 3 years ago

Good morning, Mr. LeanMan. Thank you for your reply. It is a tough decision for us because we live here where everything is free, a lot of freedom. But as what I told to my husband yesterday living in Saudi Arabia can be a trouble if we are troublesome people, but we are not. What thing that concern me too is how can I attend a congregation meeting there since this is my belief since childhood. Where a group can have a Bible Study. The price that the company offered to my husband is more than enough and I can also work with them since I since English. My husband told me, his boss is now making arrangement to go and visit Jubail before we go and move there. By the way, I am 5 months pregnant to our first child and I am so glad that your wife is also Filipina.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Gem, there is no where for you to worship in Saudi Arabia and you should also refrain from bringing any religious articles with you as you may find yourself turned around and refused entry.

Some Filipinos that I know set up places to worship in their homes, but I have also known jealous neighbors or upset friends to report them for such places so please be careful with your faith. NEVER try to convert a Saudi, it is a major crime in their eyes.

I hope that you are able to enjoy your time there and also that you enjoy your new baby.


Gem 3 years ago

Good morning again, Mr. LeanMan. Thanks so much. I will keep that in my mind. Since I cannot last a week without attending a congregation meeting, maybe if I will join a group there, I will do it with much, much discretion. Most probably we will move there early next year. I will give birth to our our baby here in Holland. Have a nice day, Mr. LeanMan. And please extend my warm greetings to your Filipina wife.


Mart 3 years ago

Hi LeanMan!

I read your hub and I truly appreciate your patience in answering all the queries. I just want to ask any advice because its my first time going in Jeddah for work. Coming April I'm flying and hope you could help me of some queries im asking.

* Is it okay to have a photo of my girlfriend in my wallet? Do they check?

* How about cellphone have a pictures and some porn videos?

Hope to hear from you.

Thank you.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Gem, please be very careful with your religious meetings there in Saudi, it really can be a big problem and you really do not want to end up in a Saudi Jail.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Mart,

It is unlikely that your wallet or your cellphone will be checked during any routine stop, however you must be aware that having porn is a crime and should you be checked for any reason you would likely be arrested. If you really don't need them on your phone transfer them to safe storage online where you can access them when you want.


IOWANY 3 years ago

Dear Lean Man,

Thanks for your blog,

I have dual nationality, Colombian and Spanish. I have been living in Spain for 7 years and I work for a spanish company.

My wife is from Colombia, she is 28.

Currently I have an opportunity for working in the Taibah University (Medina) but I have some questions, I hope you can help us.

My company has a branch office in Riyadh but we have a project in this universitu, so we will located there.

At the begging of the project I will go as an invited of my company and in paralell they will try to get the residency card (Iqama) from here.

My questions are the following:

- Have you ever been in Medina? It´s difficult to live in Medina?. I have been looking for someone that live there but I have not found anyone :(.

- If I get a normal visa as a guess, can I stay there more than 30 days? Can my wife come with me? Or does she need a visa?

- As she cann´t go out alone, she should go our with a driver, right? but can she be alone with him in the car? Does the driver need a special document signed by me?

- Should she bring our Marriage Certificat transleted to Arabic by a official traductor or its embassy?

- Can we get a mobil phone with Saudi Number without Iqama?

- Do you know if we can use Skype, Facebook and whatsapp?

- Do you know, how long will it take to process the Iqama application?

- When I get the Iqama, so I will be as expatriad. Do you know if 1000 eur /month will be enought for mywife and me to eat and pay services as internet, energy, gas, mobile phone, transport except the house because it will be included.

So sorry, i know are a lot of questions, but we must decide this next days :(.

Best regards and thanks in advanced


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi. You have left the same questions under three different names so I am unsure how to address you however let me try to answer some of your questions;

You can only go to Medina if you are a Muslim, so no I have never been to this city.

You cannot travel to Saudi unless you have a Visa.

To have an Iqama you must first have a work visa sponsored by your employer; if you are on a business visa you will not be able to get an Iqama or apply for her to join you on a dependent visa. You will also likely have to leave after a month or whatever the set period of your visa may be.

Yes you should bring your marriage certificate and get it translated - however if you bring your wife after you have your Iqama her Iqama qill state that she is your wife.

You should have no trouble getting a sim card using just your passport.

You will be able to use skype and facebook.

The Iqama is usually very quick as long as you already have a work visa.

If 1000 euro is your salary it is too low!! But it is enough to pay all of your bills.


HGC 3 years ago

Hello LeanMan,

I recently accepted a position in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and will be relocating there after a brief 2 month session in Ridayh this summer. My wife along my three children, ages 16, 14, and 9, will be coming with me. I have a couple of questions:

1) First, dress is a concern. My oldest and youngest children are girls and I am wondering exactly how rough it will be for them dress-wise. My teenage daughter is a bug fan of mini-skirts, low cut shirts, etc, and I figure that she'll be expected to wear an abaya, Niqab, etc. My youngest daughter is in the very early stages of puberty, and I'm not sure if that means abaya and Niqab, abaya and hijab, just hijab, or nothing at all. Based on other comments it seems that Ridayh is more conservative, so when we arrive in Jeddah will my children be allowed to take some of that stuff off?

2) I've heard Saudi schools are separated by sex, but is the curriculum different? Also, will my children have a uniform or dress code to adhere to?

3) Also, what are some things to do as a family in Saudi Arabia? I understand that stuff may be a bit restrictive at home and school considering the dress requirements.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi HGC

Your children will HAVE to wear the Abaya and should also cover their hair in public places especially in Riyadh. They do not have to cover their faces however. Jeddah is more relaxed than Riyadh and they will be able to do away with the head scarves in most places - however bring them with you and use them if someone complains which does happen sometimes.

Schools are separated by sex and if you were to go to a Saudi school you would find the curriculum very different with most of the teaching being around the Koran. I assume you are from the west and that you will send your children to a school specifically for expats in which case you can check out the curriculum the different international schools offer.

As to what you can do together as a family; the best place to be is on a compound as you will have access to swimming pools and other sporting facilities. Your kids will also be able to relax in normal western clothes and socialize normally without any worries. Off compound however your choices are fairly limited as there are no cinemas or anything else. Malls are your best bet with plenty of places to eat and most have areas which contain fairground rides and other kids entertainment. The malls are generally very big with many stores that you will recognize from the west. Also in Jeddah if you drive out to Obhur you will find several beaches where you can relax as a family and even wear bikinis...

Saudi is really not a good place for teenage girls as it really is a highly restrictive society; you must ensure that your girls do not go out and argue with the religious police over what is expected of them - if they are told to do something; do it and move away as quickly as possible. Do not allow your teenagers out on their own, always keep them with you off compound.


Jeddah 3 years ago

Hello, I just want to make a comment... I just want to say that it is very hard being a teenage girl in Saudi Arabia and sometimes it is very frustrating and if you want to come here you may not want to come with kids as it is hard... For beginnings I cannot go anywhere my father died when I was young and seeing as I have no close family where we live so I have no mahram who can take me places so I am stuck. Except to go to school I do not leave house very much as there is no much places I can go...

Next my mother she work as nurse but she is very strict to me. I don't want to fully cover only what I have to but she makes me cover me whole body eyes, face, all. It is no fun as I don't need to cover face but she thinks men and boys will chase me if I don't. I see other girls not dress like me and they are fine. I am not aganist it in fact I think it should be required elsewhere (when foreigners visit they always look bad here in Jeddah their women should cover more) but I don't like how strict everything is!!!

Overall my country is beautiful but some things about it are hard. So I want everybody to know that it is hard being a girl in my country!!


HGC 3 years ago

Hi,

Okay, my teenage daughters are not going to be too happy about having to wear the abaya. As for head coverings, friends of mine who are also expats in Jeddah have told me that even their youngest daughters have been bullied by police into covering their faces and they have received stares and cold looks from locals. Even if not strictly required, I've heard some of the stories about Saudi Arabia and I'm definetly thinking it's better to be safe than sorry. We'll see though; if it turns out my daughters are fine with just an abaya, I definetly won't make them wear the head covering. I assume from what I've heard long pants and a long sleeved, collared shirt is the best for my son, yes?

As for schools, no, my children are absolutely going to be attending a private school. Segregation by gender and lessons from the Quran are not what I consider to be the best for my children.

I am aware that Saudi Arabia is a restrictive society. I plan to keep my daughters home with us, have curfews, do a check of abayas, hijabs, etc, to make sure there is no trouble.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi HGC,

Just to let you know, when you leave a comment on a website like this it also leaves your ip address which is a bit like a phone number - unique to you. So if you also leave messages pretending to be a Saudi girl it is a little obvious!

However that being said - it is good to remind people that for a western teenage girl Saudi is not the place for them!!


pearl 3 years ago

hello sir...i would like to solicit your help. i have a problem with my husband who works in riyadh. he stole my exit-re entry visa last april 18 before he went back to riyadh..i am suppose to renew my iqama on august this year. he was involved with a female nurse..how do i report them when i am here in the philippines. i just want them deported for what they have done to me and my family. i can give details to the proper authorities. i just need to know where i can ask for some help. can i still get my visa before august here in the philippines at saudi embassy? please help...


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Pearl you can report the loss of your exit/re-entry visa at the Saudi Embassy in the Philippines and they should be able to help you get back to Saudi as long as you have not passed the 90days validity. You will need to be back in Saudi to renew your Iqama.

As to reporting your husband and his girlfriend I would just wish them luck and get on with building your life and thank yourself that your cheating husband has left; I am sure you can find better. It is best not to get involved in any form of trouble in Saudi and authorities are certainly not going to get involved in your marriage problems.


ioannis 3 years ago

i'm offered a medical job in Al Qassim. My family will follow in about 6 months. Can you please elaborate on the concept of ''compound'' and ''foreign community''.

Is the society of Buraidah more conservative than Riyadh

thank you


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi ioannis

Thank you for reading, you will find a section just above the comments and related links that is titled "additional information". There are some links in that section to other pieces of my writting including about compounds;

https://wanderwisdom.com/travel-destinations/Expat...

As to Buraidah I am not personally familiar.


iosdkg 3 years ago

Hi LeanMan, I just want to say, we got back from a several year work stint in KSA and life was rough as a woman there. There were times when my 16 year old son would "escort" me around when my husband was not available. I am of Asian descent although my husband is American and I was constantly harassed by Saudi men. In the beginning I almost felt like I could use the abayas and hijabs to cover my face and body so people couldn't tell my ethnicity - that was how bad it got. I would travel as quick as possible when outside so men couldn't harass me.

However, once I got used to KSA things did get better and I did start to somewhat enjoy my time there. I made friends with some Saudi women and everything turned out O.K. However it was a nightmare in the beginning; I'm so happy my husband, son, and daughter were supportive of me, as without them, those initial days would have been rough.

I did, however, find the whole abaya and hijab concept disconcerting. I have seen many times girls as young as 7 or 8 covered so much that only their eyes were showing. I felt so bad for those little girls. I can understand a hijab at puberty and an abaya later on as a religious requirement, but girls who are 7 and 8 shouldn't be doing that. My daughter got away with a loose fitting abaya with lots of western clothes visible in perhaps the most conservative region of KSA without trouble, however, it was still like prison for her; I can only imagine how those girls feel (we did carry headscarves in case we were ordered to cover up, but in general the only time we wore them was in markets, public squares or government buildings, the first two my daughter and I visited often. :) ).


My name is dude 3 years ago

Hello..thanks for all the information here, they where really helpful

I'm just curious.. I heard that the government banned lots of communication apps like Viber, etc.. For not allowing the government to monitor the conversations..

I might have this opportunity of working in rhiyad, and my girlfriend will be staying in a different country. My question is, will the government monitor the conversations and pictures that she will be sending, some could be kinda showy or maybe picture of outfits. Since she's a model for some clothing..

Thank you.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Dude,

They do ban and try and block various forms of communications from time to time and have even turned off blackberry chat in the past because they were refused access to their servers to snoop on conversations. But in general most of the time everything from skype and facebook through to your phone apps will be working fine (especially if all downloaded prior to entering Saudi).

Yes conversations could be monitored although with the number of people there it is unlikely that you are going to be personally checked on in case your GF sends you scantily clad images for your own personal viewing. Don't worry, if they arrested every person in Saudi that received or send a risque picture over the internet or phone network half the population would be in jail already!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

hi Iosdkg,

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment regarding your experiences within Saudi, like you I actually enjoyed my time within Saudi Arabia once I got used to the way people behave and work. However I really don't know if i could have survived there as a woman!


Random_Girl 3 years ago

Hello Leanman, :)

I'm a 16 year old girl currently living with expat parents in KSA… we haven't been here that long but already life is rough and I want to say that the experiences that iossdkg said her daughter is having are totally true.

Anyway I'm looking for advice, either from you Leanman or anyone… I'm currently visiting some family in the Philippines but before we left for here I got into some trouble with KSA muttawa over what I've been wearing. Recently i've been forgetting to wear the abaya and niqab I'm supposed to wear (I know only hijab is required but my conservative parents make me cover fully :( because they're scared of Saudis and don't trust them) and these police officers stopped me once and harassed me about how men would stare and lust for me if I was exposed… then just the day before we left they stop me and say I'll go to jail if I don't cover up. I forget little parts of the Saudi dress code pretty much all the time when I go out without my parents so I know it's partially my fault but I'm super afraid they'll throw me in jail for tiny violations.

Can they actually do this!? Will they? I don't want to tell my parents and my brother who escorts me won't stand up to Saudi police nor tell my parents… we go back to KSA on Tuesday and I need advice on what to do! Thanks a million!!!!!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

You have to ensure that you cover up at all times as per their rules. Do not go out uncovered or you could easily be taken off by the Mutawa. Many of them just look for any excuse to get girls like you alone so be very careful indeed.


iosdkg 3 years ago

Hello again LeanMan, I just want to share another experience with you regarding our time in Saudi Arabia... I was chatting with an expat friend of mine who works in Riyadh and she was telling me how the other day she, her husband and their kids were at a potluck with some of their Saudi friends. She told me that all of the women and girls were put in a separate section of their house with no air conditioning; she and the other women were dressed in full Islamic garb (her daughter just wore a hijab and abaya) and were sweltering in the 100+ degree heat while the men and boys were in the main section of the house that was air conditioned and at least 50 degrees cooler. Their daughter was apparently begging to go, but they couldn't because the husband had to drive and, not knowing the culture well, he thought it would be impolite to go.

When her husband politely asked if their room could be air conditioned, the host refused, saying that the air conditioners could not easily be moved. Obviously the women couldn't come in their section because of the sex separation rules so they were miserable for the entire day... I think this really goes to show the level of discrimination that can be found in the Kingdom regarding women and the occasionally misogynistic attitudes that you've discussed on your hub before. I was no stranger to them either when I was there, but that certainly settles it.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi iosdkg, I am not surprised that the women had to endure the less than ideal conditions rather than the men having to go through the inconvenience of having to move an AC unit! Despite the number of people that say how wonderful life is in Saudi Arabia and how well women are treated I still get to hear stories like yours and see inhumane treatment of women and poorer expats everyday.

I know that you get examples of this type of behavior in other countries also but it just seems to me that the poor behavior towards women and expats is just many times worse here than any other country.


Vim 3 years ago

Lean Man,

You are the man!! This is an awesome side. Wished I read this before taking up the offer and landed here. Anyway, good job mate. Cheers


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Good luck with working here Vim. Hope things are not to difficult with regards to adjusting to working in Saudi Arabia.


AmericanWoman 3 years ago

Lean Man,

I just want to thank you for the articles you have written. They are very insightful. You see, two weeks ago I was offered a position in Saudi Arabia through my employer. I'd be there for about a year (they'd try to do relocation), but if all goes well they'll probably try to keep me for longer. I'm not opposed to traveling and working overseas, except for one problem. I'm not married (I've been divorced for 10 years) and have two daughters, ages 16 and 11. From what I've read above, it seems like Saudi Arabia is not the greatest place for women. Given that women cannot leave their homes without a male relative, will this make traveling a problem?

Now, I realize from reading that my oldest daughter and I would have to wear the traditional Saudi dress and cover our hair. But what about my 11 year old? I know whether they need to cover up is based on if they've started puberty, but my youngest daughter has been late to start. Will they assume that she's started puberty because she's 11 and therefore expect her to cover her hair as well, or not?

Normally would not consider a position like this but given that it would come with a large salary raise and the fact that it is only for a short time, I am wondering if it is something to consider. I was also offered a post in China, but that is less ideal for us because I do not want to be working in a place that is still in many ways a developing country.

I eagerly await your reply.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi AmericanWoman,

The rules regarding covering up revolve around puberty so if your 11 year old looks like a child and acts like a child then she will be fine dressing normally. however is she in any way appears to be "developing" or dresses more "adult" then she should cover up. She may actually find herself uncomfortable as many Saudis do dress younger children in the Abaya and she would likely stand out.

Traveling for you would be a problem, you would have to have your sponsor take you and collect you from the airport for instance. You cannot leave the country without their permission!

You are not allowed to drive; you should ask your employer if you will be provided with a car and a driver, but be aware that an overzealous police officer could accuse you of being alone with a man who is not your relative! Always sit in the back of the car with your children not in the front! If you have to use taxis be very careful as not all can be trusted!

You also need to discuss with your employer how your children will be allowed into the country; most of the time you cannot get a dependent (family) visa until you have your iqama (residency permit) which will take 3 months after you first enter the country. They may be able to provide you with a visit visa for your children but check all these things before you go as it can be very difficult indeed.

I can guarantee that your 16 year old will hate the country - for a teenage girl that has been bought up in a liberal country the rules there will be a huge shock to the system. There is literally nothing to do for girls of that age! Ensure that you will be on a large compound that has many facilities for children and teenagers. Do not let her out of your sight off compound, Saudi men are very predatory and there are many police and mutawa (the religious police) who will think nothing of abusing their position to grab a girl of that age who is not Saudi! An outspoken teenage girl who is angry will walk straight into any trouble they throw her way!

If you can spend most of your time on your compound and be content with family visits to the mall then you should be fine, but you must follow their rules to the letter regarding behavior and dress! If your daughter is likely to want to wander of on her own or with Saudi "friends" then you are likely to be in for a rough time.

Think also very carefully about your daughters schooling and ensure that you get her into a school that is run by and contains other Americans; even then beware as they still try to indoctrinate the kids.

Saudi Arabia is a great place to earn money and save; you can live there like a princess but you have to be aware of the risks and dangers, especially for your older daughter if she has that independent streak that many teenagers today have!


waqar 3 years ago

hi thanks for the amazing and so true article. I am living in saudi arabia since 2009. things that i noticed about saudi arabia is ,it is the safer then many other countries , racism is every where in some people but you cannot blame the whole nation for that , like australians kicked out indian a few years back , muslims being captured in america for very small reason etc.

so if suadi arabia have some rules then it is for the best of the people , they put some extra restriction on women , its for thier safety difinetely to mininmize the chances of raps and things like that. they close the business at prayer time so that every muslim get the chance to go for pray either their business owner permits them or not. they take extra bibles on airport obviously to protect their religion but good thing is they don't burn them.

they will prefer saudi on me , but its very rare , 5% you can say , depends on the officer you are dealing with but i am ok with that because it happens in all countries as far i know.

I follow a very simple rule here that is don't bother others and they are not bothering me .


AmericanWoman 3 years ago

LeanMan,

Thank you for taking the time to respond, and your long answer. It was very insightful. I will discuss these things with my employer and let you know of any questions I have.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Keeping to yourself is a great way to live Waqar but if you see something that is wrong you should still stand up for what you believe and say something about it. While I know that our cultures and beliefs are very different it very difficult to keep quiet about how women and people from poorer countries are treated.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

You are welcome Americanwoman, if you need you can email me directly through the profile page which you can reach by clicking the link at the top right of the page.


AmericanWoman 3 years ago

Hello LeanMan,

I am currently discussing the things you stated with my employer, however, I do have one quick question for you. In the international schools or the schools for foreigners, are girls required to wear the hijab and abaya like everyone else? I understand that this can depend on the school, and where we are stationed, but do you know what the rules are?

Others on the Internet I've asked have said yes, and others say no, and others still say they only require it when the girls are traveling to/from school. Considering you seem to be quite knowledgable about Saudi practices any advice you could give me would be helpful.

If you do not know the answer, then what would be the safest thing to assume; I.e if other Saudi children go to those schools, perhaps then would it be safe to have my children wear the hijab?

I'm sorry about all of the questions, this is just a country and culture that is very unfamiliar to me.

Also: you said that if I am being driven around over-zealous police officers might accuse me of being alone with a man who isn't my relative... What should I do in that situation?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi AmericanWoman,

The international schools do vary a little but generally the high school girls will be separate to the boys and they will in most cases spend their school day only with other women and thus will not be required to wear their abaya. There is a famous case in Saudi a few years back where a school caught fire and the fleeing girls were pushed back into the school to perish by the religious police who believed that the girls would be better off losing their lives rather than their souls as they were not wearing their abayas!!

The best thing to do is try to get the company to get you some contacts for the compound on which you will be staying and also local international schools so that you can get more info before you leave. Do they already have Americans working there that you can chat with?

As to getting stopped by over zealous police always carry the number of your sponsor with you so that you can call them if there are any problems like this. Make sure that you have the mobile/home numbers of at least two senior members of the company so that you can summon help if you need it at any time. Many problems will be solved by just someone in authority talking with the police or even the exchange of a little cash (but don't you go offering money!!)

Problems rarely happen so don't go thinking that your life will be full of issues there; generally if you follow their rules, enjoy life on the compounds and in the malls you will have little to worry about while working in Saudi Arabia and of course the benefits of high wages, no tax and a low cost of living with most of your expenses covered. It can be a huge opportunity if you can ignore all of the restrictions.


AmericanWoman 3 years ago

Hello LeanMan,

Thank you for replying. Well, the situation regarding the schools is relieving. I am glad my daughters wouldn't be subjected to undue pressure.

We do have some Americans working in Saudi Arabia, a small group, but I do not know where I am being posted yet so I do not know if I will be with them. I sent some of them emails yesterday and have not yet received a reply.

I will certainly gather the phone numbers as you stated; I think that that is a good idea and will be sure to have contact numbers with me at all times; I'll make sure my girls have some as well.

I'll let you know if I have any other questions.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

The very best of luck AmericanWoman, stay in touch while you are in Saudi and let us know how you get on. If you have any other questions feel free to contact me.


ADH 3 years ago

Hello LeanMan, I am an expat-to-be and just got a job in Saudi Arabia... I'm sure that it's going to be a wild ride. Anyway, I was wondering, how should I dress when I am walking around on the streets? I have been told not to wear shorts and that I should probably wear a collared shirt. I know this may seem like a dumb question but I'm just wondering. Thanks!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi ADH

I assume you are a guy; you should wear shorts that come down to knee level or full length trousers. Shorts that expose your thighs will be deemed unacceptable.

As to shirts any short sleeved shirts or long sleeved are acceptable, they don't have to have a collar; normal t-shirts are fine. However do not wear t-shirts with offensive slogans or pictures! Remember that what you might think is innocent could very easily be found offensive in Saudi Arabia, if you have any doubts then don't wear it!

Never try to push the rules in KSA as it is just not worth it - if you get charged with anything you lose your job and any benefits you may have accrued.

Hope you have a lot of fun working there. keep in touch and let us know how it goes.


AmericanWoman 3 years ago

Hello LeanMan,

Just want to let you know that I sent you an email. Hope you can find time to answer my questions.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi American Woman.

Yes I received your mail about Saudi Arabia and I have replied; I hope that I have answered everything for you.


SARAH 3 years ago

I DONT HAVE COMMENTS..I NEED HELP,

MY QUESTION IS CAN I WORK AGAIN IN SAUDI OR IM BAND OR BE JAILED??

LAST 2010 UNTIL 2011 I WORK IN SAUDI.I HAVE FAMILY PROBLEM SO I GO BACK IN MY HOMETOWN WITH ,Y EMPLOYER CONSENT.I HAVE EXIT AND RE ENTRY VISA,BUT I DIDNT MAKE IT TO ENTER AGAIN ON THAT TIME.NOW I AM THINKING OF WORKING THERE AGAIN..I AM FREE OR I FACE PROBLEM??


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Sarah,

As long as your previous employer has not raised a legal case against you then you will be able to return there to work again. If you go to the MOFA website you can check your old Iqama number and find out if there are any problems.

You can return again after one year in the Philippines without having to worry, however if you have debts or a legal case against you do not return!

Feel free to email me if you still need help.


reem mamdouh profile image

reem mamdouh 3 years ago

hi i have a question i hope u can help me to my problem. i found out my husband is cheating in me. he is going out with gays. can u help where to complain


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Reem,

A suspected cheating husband is hardly something that you can complain about officially. If you do not trust him or love him any more then split up and use your energy to build a better life for yourself not waste your time trying to get revenge.

Saudi Arabia is not a tolerant society especially for gays so if this is what is going on he will have a hard time as it is!


Efrem 3 years ago

hi LM wow i appreciate u what the rule n regulation of

Saudi u mentioned

but Saudi is difficult to survive

to tel u frankly am from Ethiopia

and u know Saudi is not human being country

i hate that everything here in Saudi Arabia

i came to saudi to have my own money only but ......................

i hate saudi arebia


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Efrem,

Thank you for taking the time to read and leave a comment. Saudi Arabia is not everyone's idea of a good place to live; however it is a very good place for earning money if you can find work there. I hope that you manage to earn what you need to make your life better.


CH 3 years ago

Hi LeanMan

Your Blog is really helpful. please keep it up.

My question is am working here in KSA Jubail am from Pakistan and my fiance wants to visit me she is from Singapore so i just want you to guide me what documents i need to book hotel for us and they allow us to stay in double bed room or we should book 2 seprate room if seprate room that she can visit my room or not i mean i dont want any trouble. she will stay for 4 days only. Your answer highly appropriated :) Thanks


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi CH,

You may have big problems getting her a visa to visit as you are not married. It will not be possible for you to sponsor her visa.

You will also not legally be able to spend any time together, certainly not in a room alone together. Of course you can break their rules and book two rooms and have her sneak into your room; however if you get caught you will be in a huge amount of trouble.

Far better than meeting for a few days in Saudi that you arrange to both meet in Dubai or somewhere else a little less intolerant.


CH 3 years ago

Thanks for your Reply.

Problem is my passport with my company and they will don't let me go specially for 3-4 months bec am important person of project which we are doing here. about visa i have no worry that i can arrange but i just need guidance about hotel booking and spend time together. they check in markets or if we go out beach shopping center etc... ??? what document they require if i want book a hotel for her ? Thanks in Advance :) this website is really helping.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi CH

Who will be her sponsor? You cannot sponsor her if you are not married. The sponsor will have to deal with booking hotels etc. You are not permitted to be alone with her under Saudi law if you are not married.

Being together anywhere in the country is a major risk, yes you can go out and go places but if you are stopped you could easily be arrested.

If you are caught together in Saudi even walking together or at a restaurant you would both be arrested. You are taking a major risk in bringing here here to be with her. Far better that you meet outside Saudi Arabia.

The only other option is to be always in the company of a married couple who can chaperon you where ever you are going so that you cannot be accused of being alone together.


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