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


Tony worked across Saudi Arabia in Riyadh, Al-Khobar and Jeddah, where he met his wife who has worked there for twelve years.

Women Dressed in Abaya

Follow rules, regulations, and laws even at the beach

Follow rules, regulations, and laws even at the beach

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-worth of a tax-free bonus at the end of a couple of years of 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 four to five 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

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 will be taken 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 five 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 four 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).

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

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. They 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

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 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.

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 was recently 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 a Westerner. 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 rapes and beatings.

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 one to two weeks, and it takes another two to three 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 that 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 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


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.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.


Mary on April 16, 2019:

Wat is the pushment of someone that escape

Edger on March 29, 2019:

I lived in Saudi for years, some of what you said is true and some are not or maybe miss understood. But what im sure about that you want to copy your life style back in the UK and enforce it in other communities. I think this is very shallow and close minded. If you spent more efforts to know the people instead of smuggling bacon, you would’ve had quite good time and friends

There are hundreds of fun things to do, unless you can’t enjoy yourself without a glass of whiskey.

JoNo on March 11, 2019:

Does Filipino and other nationality can live in one room, even for 4 days?

KL on February 27, 2019:


is it safe for a women to work in Saudi now....

MOHAMMED SHAHIR on February 14, 2019:

Hello Mr.Tony,

Whether can we work part time in ksa, when we came here from company visa, simultaneously I am working in that company

P M on October 11, 2018:

Is bibles not allowed at all in Saudi Arabia?/

merriam on August 14, 2018:

what can i do.. my husband dating another girl.. in saudi were legally married here in the philippines

Gouranga halder on August 04, 2018:

How can I change my kafil? He is very bad.

Jake on June 30, 2018:

How about looking woman for a long time.. is that against to their law? what is the punishment?

karol on May 12, 2018:

good day sir just want to inquire im scheduled to visit my younger brother next week in saudi arabia could i see my wife who works as a domestic helper in ad dammam for two months now thank you so much

babmjs on May 10, 2018:

HI tony i would like to ask people selected by KSA govt jobs cleared medical exams if they are given prescription of medications for an year

hypertension and diabetes can they bring or any objection as saudi enbassy say only for month for visitors what about 1 year contract employees if you any idea kindly let us know.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on April 27, 2018:

Hi Ailyn,

It will all depend on your sponsor/employer as whether they will allow you a visa to exit and return to Saudi. Without the visa you cannot go anywhere. While many employers will allow their staff time to visit other countries at weekends and for vacations there are many that will not.

Ailyn on April 26, 2018:

Hi tony,

I just want to ask if you are employed at KSA are they allow you to go travel going to near country side? Like Dubai abudhabi or Bahrain?

John Michael on April 04, 2018:

Hello Tony,

its okay if my Fiancee declare in Saudi Arabia that she is married but were not yet married in Philippines we already have son, the reason why she declared that because she is working in the hospital and a lot of guy is asking her to make friends especially Egyptians guys and Indian.They keep on asking my partner because they like the beauty of my Fiancee I'm a little bit worried to her.

Jim on March 13, 2018:

Hi Tony ,

Im moving to Saudi , so is my girlfriend , we are both have separate accommodation on the same compound , are westerners usually free to do what they like ( within reason ) in the compounds . We both got job offers within local hospitals .

yanna on February 05, 2018:

hi tony, i've got some questions. i was employed in saudi way back 2014 with a 2-year contract, but we were informed verbally that the employer wants us to complete 4years. when we were about leave, the agency asked us to sign the 4-year contract (since, we are to leave for KSA that day, it compelled us to sign it). once we were there, all other provisions in the contract was violated. no holiday pay (we were paid the regular rate), we didn't avail of our sick leave (we were fetched from our accomodation even if you are sick), overtimes were not paid except if your duty falls on a friday. i went on vacation on nov 2016 and went back to work on dec 2016. i went on vacation after 2 years and 7 months at work. it was only on january 2017 that i found out that i was pregnant( i am not married). when my employer knew about my pregnancy, he had me booked to return home to the philippines. i was not given my employment certificate, given half of my benefits. the "no objection certificate" was also not issued to me. in the philippines, the standard term of employment in KSA is only 2years. that goes the same with the labor code in saudi. i am worried that i might be banned to return in saudi and i wanted to get my employment certificate even just for the time that i have rendered work before my vacation but the management refused to give me. i couldn't think of a way to check if i am banned from returning to work in a different employer.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on November 14, 2017:

Hi Maryam

It is not always easy for a single woman in Saudi. However you will likely be safe if you don't do anything stupid like mixing with guys or walking the street alone.

Usually the accommodation that is offered is fine and you should get a reasonable quality of life living there.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on November 14, 2017:

Mr "Anon"

You are welcome to your own opinion. However I stick by my comments calling the society hypocritical. You only have to look at the queue going into Bahrain or the number of Saudis heading into Dubai every weekend to see how many are going to drink and chase girls.. Then look at the way people drive, or treat expats from third world countries.

Yes there are many great people that I met there - but many that are less than great.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on November 14, 2017:

Hi ColonelZA

It will all depend on the attitude of your wife and daughter. If you are living and being schooled on compound then they may be fine with the lifestyle that they can gain there. However in my experience many women simply do not enjoy living there with the restrictions placed upon them.

Maryam on November 07, 2017:

Hi tony

Very informative indeed. I was just curious out of the job I am offered. Is it easier for a widow lady with two kids work and live alone in Saudi Arabia? Are there any chances of moving about the places like malls and Markets in cabs (like uber and careem etc) along with the kids of course?

I am from Pakistan, and I need a good advise whether or not to take up this job as a dermatologist at a hospital which will also provide accommodation.

What would you suggest owing to the social status I hold.

Best Regards

thessa on October 27, 2017:

am planning to come and work in Saudi Arabia but am petrify due to the fact that am a christian. will there be any room for forcing foreigner to be a Muslim

Anon on October 17, 2017:

A lot of your comments you've written in the beginning sounded really generalized and biased which could be easily misunderstood.

I feel like you generalized Saudi Arabia as a whole for only a part of the population who does things that you said as a part of the "hypocrital society". I absolutely disagree with that term.

I could'nt even continue reading this article for more possible misinformation.

ColonelZA on October 16, 2017:

Hi Tony,

I may have an opportunity to work at a hospital in Riyadh.

If successful I would have to relocate with my wife and daughter (4 years).

Would that be a wise choice?

Would life for my family be depressing and risky?


Tony (author) from At the Gemba on October 02, 2017:

Sorry, I have no experience, nor do I know what would happen.

However I do not recall any check being done when I made my last application.

Vaishnavi mankar on September 23, 2017:

Best advices

Unknown on September 23, 2017:

I am travelling with my coworkers to KSA, is it illegal to have sex with her in hotel. we both are married but not with eachother.

amphy on September 21, 2017:

Hi Tony,

Its a great read. Im just curious really if you have any knowledge of obtaining a work visa with a criminal record? And if so what are the likely outcomes of an application? Thanks

NDLOVU KHUMBULANI on August 05, 2017:


Tony (author) from At the Gemba on June 18, 2017:

Hi Cha,

Yes it is always difficult to be with a girl in Saudi and the penalties if caught are severe. I hope that you are able to resolve things with your husband, especially for your son. Best of luck with everything.

cha on June 09, 2017:

Thank you so much, Tony for taking some time to reply. Recently, I made an effort and tried fixing things again with my husband. At first, he was too hard that it seems that he did not want to put everything back to normal but then few minutes after, we began being okay again. After all, this has been our routine every time we had an argument. My 6yr old son unintentionally made it a joke when he said that his father has a new wife in Saudi. Guess what my husband reaction was? He laughed so hard. Is this reverse psychology not to be too obvious? Or if guilty, he could have denied and explained? What do you think? I asked him who that girl was, he said that she's just a friend and they go out always as a group. Probably, they just have some pictures together since they usually sit beside each other and that would be during those days when we were not talking. Now, it's Ramadan. He said he's going to go out with a friend/s to jog. Again, my jealousy started to arise again. I immediately asked him if it's a girl, if that's the same girl. He first laughed but became a bit irritated probably because of me being immature. He said that it's not easy there to just be with a girl especially that it's Ramadan today. Is it more strict there for unmarried couple to be together when Ramadan than those ordinary days? Should I start trusting my husband again and avoid thinking too much negativity? Thanks again. Hope to read your response once I open this page again. Thank you!

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on June 05, 2017:

Hi Cha,

Hi Cha

Many people take the risk of hanging out with people of the opposite sex, after all they get lonely when they are separated from their families for so long. If this is a group and some of the people are married then often that will be OK. But being alone together if not married is a problem and they could be arrested if caught together. You are not however going to be able to report them from the Philippines.

As to your actions, you are understandably angry and your choice of action is down to you; personally I would concentrate on building a better life and forget revenge.

cha on June 03, 2017:

My husband works as an OWF in Riyadh. We usually fight and because of the distance, things always end up worse. He recently posted pictures with a woman who is also a Filipina. They hold hands, they sit beside each other so close, they even seem alone having a good time at the park/mall/taxi. There was also this picture where they were a group of 3 men, 3 women, seems that they are all partners. I am planning to sue the girl. How do you think it is possible? My husband converted to Islam few years ago but he was a Christian when we got married here. Please advise. Thank you.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on March 27, 2017:

No; to live together or even just be together alone you must be married. That being said, if no one notices that you have moved someone in then you may just get away with it.

John on March 05, 2017:

Hi “Leanman”,

A great article! In my experience it’s been that light skinned (i.e white) women have much less strict rules than women from Asian countries like my Philippines.

My wife was usually able to go around in Saudi without a scarf, or if one was required worn very loosely. But my friend’s wife is from Malaysia and the mutaween always insisted that she wear a thick scarf. Sometimes they even told her to cover her face.

Moral of the story is that the Saudis treat people differently based on race and whether they think you’re subhuman or not. Very very sad but true.

ISurvived on May 04, 2016:

Interesting reading - I worked in KSA and Abu Dhabi for three years, returning home to Australia 11 years ago. My husband and I worked as Intensive Care Nurses and saw the very best, and the very worst of humanity in those countries. It is only now that I realise that I have been suffering from PTSD because of some of the things we saw and the stress we lived under and can only now talk about some of my experiences. Life is harsh in the KSA and the penalties even harsher, I'm glad I survived to tell the tale. I am more grateful for my freedom and safe society I live in as a result of my travels throughout the Middle East. Your accounts are frank and honest, nobody should ever work in the KSA without doing their homework first and I can vouch for the truth in your writing.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on February 14, 2016:

Hi Joy,

There is no one that you can complain to apart from your husband. He is taking a big risk and should be very careful with what he is doing there. You need to work with him to sort our your relationship.

I know many that work there in Saudi end up with new relationships due to being alone in a strange country; some of these relationships become permanent destroying the families that they had back home while others are dissolved as soon as the participants return back to their countries of origin.

joy on February 06, 2016:

Hi Leanman,

My husband is currently working in Riyadh as engineer and to my surprised they were dating single nurses without our knowledge. I'm here in the Philippine taking care of my daughters and yet they're doing a shit behind my back. How can I complain them to KSA government. I want to stop those bad deeds before our family will be destroyed..

Thank you

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on October 15, 2015:

Why are you so intent on trying to ruin another persons life. Being arrested with a man that is not your husband in Saudi could see her jailed, lashed and likely deported with Prostitute stamped in her passport. There are many expat men and women there that have taken another partner while they are there. Most are there separated from friends and family for many years in an inhospitable country so it really is not surprising that so many will pair up for the time that they are there in Saudi Arabia. Stop worrying about what she is doing and concentrate on your own life.

petertravasso on October 15, 2015:

if a lady from India got married here in india and living with some other person in jubail saudia is a crime the why no action even after sending so many letters and Emails . the indian lady name is OMANA ANDAVAN working in almana general hospital, Billing dept. Why no action.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on September 26, 2015:

Hi Joue

The only rule that you have to be careful of is if the bachelor is left alone with a woman without a married couple there to chaperon him. So if he is left alone in the flat and the wife of the married couple is there alone with him then that is potentially a problem if anyone knows.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on September 21, 2015:

Hi Salih,

You are entitled to your opinion, but in my personal experience there are times when westerners are treated very poorly. If you look at my hub about how expats are treated there is a poll there that tells a very different story to the one that you are suggesting.

salih on September 17, 2015:

I believe you have exaggerated big time. Westerns in the kingdom are treated better than the citizens and no one touches them even when they cross the line

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on September 02, 2015:

Charlie, the rules in Saudi are very clear. You cannot socialize with a man unless your are a direct blood relative or you are married. So you risk imprisonment if you are found alone with him. Your compound would also not allow him access as they will be stopping any men from coming in if your compound is for single women.

In addition to this it will be very difficult for him to get a visa to enter the country. It would be far easier for you to visit him there in Dubai if your sponsor will provide you with an exit / reentry visa which is at their discretion.

Charlie Kelly on September 01, 2015:

Hi, I have been offered a job as a radiographer in Jeddah which includes accommodation on a compound. I am a female and have a male friend living in Dubai, would they be allowed to visit me? Would they be allowed to stay at my place and would we be allowed to hang out socially in public/ on beaches?

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on July 12, 2015:

Hi i.bon

As long as you are legally married then it is no problem to live together - however do get your marriage certificate translated so that anyone that checks will be able to understand that you are married.

What you should be aware of however is that your wife's Saudi sponsor may expect her to stay in their accommodation for female staff. This could be a problem and I have had several emails over the years from couples who have been separated by their sponsors expecting them to live in specific quarters. I also have many emails from couples where one or the other has had to move with their sponsor or been transferee to another part of Saudi away from their spouses. You are very much under the control of your sponsor there in Saudi.

That being said most sponsors are very good to married couples but just be aware of the potential for problems. Good luck and I hope that everything goes well for you both.

i.bon on July 11, 2015:

Hi LeanMan,

I am working here at Riyadh and my wife is expected to come here by next week to work on a hospital. We are legally married in the Philippines - have our Marriage Cert stamped by Saudi Royal Embassy at Phils, not yet translated though - planning to process translation here.

We will be working on different sponsors - would there be no problem if we stay/live together?

Please advise what should we do make things work well.

Thank you in advance.

John on June 06, 2015:

Thank you Leanman, your advice has been very helpful and I look forward to our trip. Hopefully our short layover will go well...

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on June 05, 2015:

Hi John

Long sleeved and a long skirt rather than figure hugging jeans are a better choice, while you may see women dressed less conservatively it only takes one over zealous individual to make a scene and you will have a problem there in Saudi. I would also advise carrying a scarf or something similar to cover her hair should the need arise although you should not need to. Good luck and safe trip.

John on June 05, 2015:

Hi "Leanman",

Thank you for your advice. I know that I will not be able to leave the airport; that's not a problem.

I just have a few questions: when you mean the shirt should cover the arms, are you saying it should be long-sleeved? Also, would a long skirt be better than slacks? I think a long skirt might be more conservative so that that might be a better choice, but I'm wondering about it. What do you recommend, does it matter?

Should we bring a head covering just in case, or is it safe to travel without one?



Tony (author) from At the Gemba on June 04, 2015:

Hi John,

You will not be allowed to leave the airport during your 15hours unless you have a visa for Saudi which is going to be very unlikely unless you have a sponsor. While you do not need to wear an abaya within the airport your daughter will still need to dress respectfully which will mean long skirt or trousers and a shirt that does not have a cleavage and should cover the arms. Hair covering should not be necessary on a lay over within the airport.

John on June 02, 2015:

Hello "Leanman",

I have a unique question, in my opinion. In about 6 months, I'm slated to take a trip to India for my work, and I'm taking my 15 year old daughter will me because she loves to travel and it is her turn this year. I'm concerned about the long flight time so I'd like to try to arrange a layover so that she can rest a bit. The only option that appears right now is a 15 hour layover in Saudi Arabia, specifically, Jeddah (this is not set in stone, but appears likely at this point).

I have heard a lot about the rather unique rules that girls and women must conform with to be allowed to travel and be within the country. I am wondering what my expectations will be for my daughter during the layover. Will she have to dress a certain way or cover her hair?

I spoke with a Muslim colleague of mine the other day, and she told me that my daughter should wear a basic headscarf just to be safe because Muslim men there will be expecting it. She also recommended that my daughter wear a long skirt (to her ankles) and a thick tee-shirt with long sleeves, because she does want to stand out. However, this colleague is not from Saudi Arabia and she admitted that she is not familiar with the rules of Saudi Arabia, only with what my daughter would be expected to wear in a Muslim culture.

I can't imagine that they'd impose these rules on someone her age, especially when we will not be there very long, however I have read what you and others have written and I want to double-check first. 15 hours is a long time to be somewhere, and during most of it we will probably be awake, so I want to make sure she complies with the rules and cultural norms during that time.

Do you have any suggestions? Thanks a million,


Tony (author) from At the Gemba on March 10, 2015:

Can't say that I have seen any within Saudi but I am sure that many of the Saudis would not be very friendly due to stereotyping of the look.

rasterman on March 09, 2015:

Thanks for the insight, however I am interested to know the treatment of black Africans, dread lock hair styles, any information will be greatly appreciated.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on January 17, 2015:

Hi hiii,

Saudi Arabia is hardly a safe place for women! My wife was attacked by a man on the street! Our friend was almost kidnapped by two guys that tried to drag her into a car. Many run away maids that we know had been raped and abused by their sponsors and other family members and so on! I have heard so many terrible stories and seen so many things with my own eyes. Too many men in Saudi treat women as objects not people; especially women from poor countries that are unable to complain!

hiii on January 16, 2015:

after reading above article i just wanted to say that there is no safer place in this world except saudi arabia.Saudi arabia follows islam.and being me a muslim i am proud of it.For womens its the safest place being of any religion.please do not comment anything becoz allah has given an opportunity to work you here ,to earn for ur fly.I believe some people in saudi they take advantage but its all upon us to take precausions in the same.islam teaches gud rituals,culture and behaviour.so if we remain on safer side absolutely they will be no harm.so follow saudi mans for theire sins,follow what ua heart feels.saudi arabia never said come forcefully here to work,its independence decision.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on December 23, 2014:

Hi Nalyn,

You will be able to come to Saudi on a dependent (family) visa after he has gained his Iqama which usually takes 3 months after starting work there. He will be your sponsor as long as you are legally married not the company. Many companies will fund your visa as the souse of their employee especially as a senior employee. However if not he can fund and process the visa himself.

As to finding work you can apply for any job that you like but you should be aware that you will be very much under the control of your employer and if they say you are moving to another city as part of your work or you will be housed in an all female compound then that is what will happen. I have emails from several married women who have been effectively separated from their husbands by the companies that they work for as well as being denied holidays etc. So think very carefully before taking any work if the aim is to be with your husband.

Nalyn Acosta on December 22, 2014:

Hi LeanMan,

I read you article, thank you so much for sharing this information. I would like to ask something, I am filipina also and my husband is european, we are planning to move is saudi because he found job there as a Executive Chef in Restaurant, for now we don't know if they will give me Visa under his company, my question is, is it possible if I find job there as a Administration staff currently we are here in Abu Dhabi, UAE. and what is the procedure? thank you in advance.

Ahmed Sam on December 01, 2014:

i Also consider that the city called Jeddah is the most Free off strictions city, where there is Hookahs Cafes, and such! if you plan to visit saudi arabia then jeddah is the best place for tourers who don't want to be stricted too much.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on November 30, 2014:

Ahmed. thank you for taking the time to write such a long comment about Saudi Arabia. It is always good to have a comment from a real Saudi rather than just us expats. You make some very good points and much of what you say is also true in many other countries not just Saudi Arabia.

Ahmed Sam on November 30, 2014:

Hello LeanMan, i believe what you've written is very well accurate i'm a Saudi Arabian, and i think everything you said is right, however i realized that you keep respecting the country rules and laws, as well as you keep standing on the complainers side, which is good because everyone has a different opinion, i'm a 18 year old saudi, i have studied in a pakistan international school in saudi arabia, jeddah, however that is how i came to learn the english language, otherwise, people studying in official schools of saudi arabia the gov ones will not be fluent in english at all, because most schools in saudi arabia focuses on Religion, arabic, and math mostly and strict behavior

But i have to disagree on one thing i have read on here

the woman, being weak, Actually they are Money leechers to saudi's

The one who take advantage of the working saudi man is the woman, as to what he gets from her is her children, meaning sex.

For example if a woman in public, was cursed at, or flirted at, touched, or abused, the penalty for that is severe to the man who did it, might as well all people around you will beat you to death to such things, the majority is the guys who have self respect and respect people, the rule is respect yourself to respect and be respected, as to looking sexually to a woman everyone will start looking at you in a discriminated way and dislike you and see you corrupt, however the part where woman get advantage all depends on the husband himself.

And getting to the dating part...as a saudi guy dating must be kept in secrecy, some people of the individuals in the relationship will see it fine and most wouldn't, you can talk to her on the phone, at all times whenever she can, watch pictures of her its all fine, depending if she trust you she would give in to you, that is how woman here are, and most are just like so self respected as if you are thinking to recieve a nude, then thats gonna take awhile and a trick to it, and could be a severe weapon against that woman or girl, because you can spoil her image to people around her with such pics and she will remain forever single if word didn't get to mutawa or die if her family wanted to but most people wouldn't go to killing their children but try to cover things up and do whatever things to cover it up, it all depends on what kind of saudis they are there are ones which are the bado clan, which wouldn't tolerate such behaviors to their womans and are simple minded people barbarians there are many clans of saudi's as to racism against black people here doesn't exist which is why, at all what give a saudi a nice wife is his job and money, i dated a girl in here, and i love her very much we do hang out alot with her convincing her parents of another way that shes out somewhere else with a friend of hers which is a girl considering not to get caught by cops we always be respective in public as a married couple so people wouldn't ask for ID's considering the cop if he pulls you over, you have to act like he has no right to look at her, or ask for her id, might as well shove him as shes really your wife, and he wouldn't say much and go away, but the mutawa are kind of forceful whatever done to them is just they think they are right i most find mutawa to be pedophiles in way most of them, the thing about here that is hypocritical is drugs, as to no alcohol, and no adultry however, there is many secret places where there is adultry and hookers

as to having sex that would make a great impact on the woman as she would never be able to get married to anyone no one wants a woman touched by another men, its a shame in here, so might as well if you want to have sex make sure not to do it from the front and pop her cherry, because a virgin woman is what keeps a woman pride and confident to get any kind of husband if you have a woman who is a virgin that is your girlfriend make sure not to touch her V spot at all deep inside because that would make her lose her future as a respectful woman, behind can be fine but its against the rules to being muslim. we can jump to the homosexual part, where homosexuality is strictly to be forbidden in our quran (muslim religious book) however due to the hard ways to get to dating a woman many guys and man result to sex among eachother which is too corrupt, but please i do not agree to threatening a woman or a girl, with her nude pictures have humanity inside of you at least, and the drugs, as to drinks and such all kept secrecy as to some people bring alcohol in the country illegally you can stay away from that or be it secret with you, yourself, in your home. enclosed, as to Police searching your phone and laptop, be it woman or man, it is not true, even if mutawa try to search you can just refuse to, because they have no right, also they have no right to touch anyone, as if they have caught nothing on you publicly they can't do anything at all, mutawa maybe forceful but easier to fight off, but to a police officer might as well be respectful that is all to it, however many people smoke weed around this country and smuggle alot of it and ecstasy most quantity of drugs are weed and ecstasy getting inside saudi arabia that is hypocritical i believe maybe higher authoruties of saudi arabia uses drugs in secrecy.

Ahmed Samer.

muhammad abdullah javed on November 18, 2014:

Hi LeanMan. Thanks for a wonderful and realistic write. With all its goodness, be it KSA or UAE, things have gone to drains. I feel ashamed of their moral degradation, of course they may be in minority, but you know when a black spot appears, no matter how small it may be, on a white cloth it strikes our senses. Similar is the case here. With strict adherence of some of the Islamic principles they fall short of meeting the Islamic expectations. I have many relatives and friends over there, their narrations are sad. I just wonder how they can oppress people with exploitative laws in particular the labour laws?

I think in view of the huge natural resources and solid economy they should focus on scientific development of the nation and intellectual development of the individuals. As whole of the Arab countries they can't compete even with European country like Spain which is believed to be at the bottom of European industrialist nations. Else the persistence of present conditions will never help attain Allah's pleasure.

I feel sorry for men like you LeanMan. Being Muslim we should always think with a fair mind with a 'strict no' to emotive feelings. May Allah bless you all with His abundant mercy.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on October 27, 2014:

Hi Heavenly being,

I am sure that things will change eventually for women in Saudi Arabia but it may be a long time before they change all of the rules.

Heavenly Being on October 24, 2014:

Hi LeanMan

I see your message

yeah, its true, that many Saudi do that,,,its hypocrisy that exist in this country, were men can do every thing they want(must be outside saudi), but woman for small things, can be killed

the problem is from Islam, people don't know this..this is anti-woman religion..and free for man

for me almost nothing to be proud for saudi arabia, except that doesn't approve alcohol, and adultery, though big numbers of saudi men do these things, and no one care, or do to them anything

glad that you concern for woman, thought the change for woman situation need a very long time to go through

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on October 23, 2014:


The problem is that if you are working in Saudi your sponsor/employer fully controls your life. It is far easier to just put your head down and finish your contract and leave on good terms with all of your bonuses intact. You have less than a year to complete and you will probably find that if you were to take them to the labor court that it would take more than a year to solve the problems and you would still lose money. People have to realize that if they sign up for a contract in Saudi that they will almost certainly be unable to back out. If you did not want to return you should have stayed home during your vacation.

abdul majid on October 23, 2014:

I have signed contract for 2 year and I have completed 1 year and I have gone for vacation and came back from vacation.Know I am having some family problem and want to go back on exit but my company is forcing to finish contract. But I stop doing working. My employer sending mails that he take disciplinary action according to saudi law.

I want to know how to go on exit.

I want know if i want to break the contract how much penalty I have to pay according to saudi law.

My employer is asking some of 20 thousands for giving exit.

He told me that he will take my driving licence which is on my expenses.

Please give me the solution to come out from this problem.

I am very thankful

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on October 12, 2014:

Hi Heavenly Being ,

Thanks for taking the time to comment about your country. Most foreigners that go to Saudi Arabia fully accept the rules there and abide by them, of course there are those that will still seek out drink and women as that is their way - there are also many Saudis that do the same. You only have to see the bridge into Bahrain at the weekend to see how many Saudis are going across to chase girls and drink beer.

Most foreigners come there for one reason only - money! Saudi Arabia pays good wages without any tax.

Women's rights are the things that upset me the most there, I see women being treated in a vile way and there is no way for them to help themselves. I know women who have been raped and abused yet they are afraid to even inform the police as they know that it will not be the men that have abused them that will be punished but them!

Heavenly Being on October 11, 2014:

Hello Lean Man

I enjoy reading your experience as an expat in My country..Saudi Arabia

I am a Saudi woman who don't like Saudi Arabia!!! not even like Islam..I convert to another religion, and kept this secret!

any way, I understand for people here complaint about Saudi Arabia, and I am not defending Saudi Arabia at all!!!

what I don't understand, is why people coming to Saudi Arabia, and then complaint too much!!!

every one read, the rule, and hows is country is, if you decide to come here, and you knows about all this things..then don't complaint!!!

Yes, I do complaint about Saudi too much, as woman here live is exactly like hell on earth, for men its much better, and in fact, I was planned to escape from this prison, but luckily, after convincing my father to study abroad, I am not their, don't even want to live their again, only may be few days to visit my family

as we saudi, we don't choose this country, but all forigner did choose to come here!!! I see this always as weird

as Saudi is my country, there is of course few things I like and proud about this country, like the fact that alcohol is forbiden, and adultery etc...but I don't like how woman have no right, and every one have forced to follow islam...the religion I hate the most

I feel annoyed when I read forigner complaint why alcohol is forbiden, pornography, girlfriend, boyfriend etc..they know the rules before they come..so why complaint?

but I feel more good, if forigner speak about woman rights, and how woman is heavily oppressed, and about religious freedom, rather than focusing about the misbehaviour things mentioned above!!

thats my opinion any way, not intending in offending any one here!


Tony (author) from At the Gemba on October 09, 2014:

It is not a country that you would visit for a holiday that is for sure Snakesmum!

Snakesmum on October 08, 2014:

Very interesting hub, and I didn't know you couldn't go to Mecca or Medina if you weren't a Muslim.

The society seems very restrictive, even if you are not a woman. I don't think KSA is a country I'll put on my bucket list. :-)

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on September 22, 2014:

Hi Singapore

All visas have to be applied for and processed prior to entry to Saudi if that is what you are asking.

Business visas are not specific to an area, you can travel anywhere within the kingdom, however you will need to be a Muslim if you want to go to Mecca or Medina.

Singapore techie on September 22, 2014:

Thanks LeanMan,

can a work visa or employment visa be applied even before entry into saudi?

On a business visa- suppose my work area is dammam. Can i travel outside Damman or go to Mecca or Medinah or any other parts of Saudi?

or the business visa is specific to an province?

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on September 21, 2014:

You can only get your Iqama if you are on a working visa and your sponsor must apply within 90 days of you arriving - this is normally treated as a probation period by the company.

Business visas are not really meant to be for "workers" but they are misused constantly by employers in Saudi to bring in workers short term of if they cannot get a work visa. The following hub will explain more; https://discover.hubpages.com/travel/Saudi-Arabia-

Note that on a business visa you may have problems with everything from opening and account or cashing a check to even getting a sim card for your phone as many will refuse without an Iqama.

Singapore Techie on September 21, 2014:

Thanks LeanMan for the quick response.

Do you know how long it would take to apply for a Iqama?

What are the restrictions of comming into Saudi Arabia in business visa apart from not being able to bring the family?

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on September 20, 2014:

Hi Singapore..

A commercial or business visa will not allow you to bring your family; you will need a work visa and then an Iqama if you want to bring them.

Your wife would also not be able to work legally as you may only work for your sponsor and that means you. They have relaxed the rules for the international schools so she could work as a school teacher in one of those but that is it!

If you want to find out more feel free to follow the links in the article above which will take you to a huge amount of info regarding Saudi.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on September 20, 2014:

Hi MartyO

I have not been back to the UK for 8 years but it used to depend on the number of days you were out of the country during the tax year as to whether you would have to pay tax. Which does mean that if you go to Saudi "now" that you would be liable for tax on everything that you earn up until the end of the tax year.. HOWEVER.. The reality is that the tax man does not what you do unless you tell him! SO unless you want to declare a lovely "tax free" wage from KSA it will only be your business!

As to where you live you will find that some areas such as Riyadh are far more strict than areas like Al-Khobar and Jeddah and the people also more friendly in the less strict areas. However just remember at all times that this is Saudi Arabia and you cannot do half the things that you would do back home and the penalties are severe!

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on September 20, 2014:

Hi Mehh,

If you have searched for it online there is not going to be anyone banging on your door; just relax! A few searches is not going to get a major man hunt underway, if it did they would be arresting every man in Saudi Arabia!

SingaporeTechie on September 20, 2014:

Hello there,

I am contemplating to move to Dharan, i have an offer from Aramco on contract basis however it is on Commercial visa. I currently reside in Singapore.

Can i move my family on commercial visa? what are the things to consider moving family here to Dharan?

Wife would like to take up work and son(4 years) would like to enroll him in a good montessori schools..

please advise.

MartyO on September 19, 2014:

Hi LeanMan,

Super informative hub you have here, a little advice if you please. The middle east has always intrigued & appealed to me, I have been offered an 8 month position as a engineer in a newly built hospital in the KSA. Not aware of location at present does this matter, also someone informed me that coming from the Northern Ireland (uk) to work in Saudi you must stay away for a certain length of time (100+ days?) or else face paying the higher tax when arriving back home. As I have a young family is their anyway of coming back every 5 - 6 weeks to see them without Mr Tax knowing. Can I set up a wages account there and have direct debits coming out? God bless you & thanks in advance.

MEHH on September 17, 2014:

Hi leanman! I just wanted to ask if I will be arrested/deported if I watched porn? Basically, I didn't watch porn, I just search for pictures or gifs something like that. But now, I am really scared because I didn't know that pornography isn't allowed here in KSA. This issue regarding to the pornography thing really keeps bugging me. Anyway I'm only 16 and I am scared if someone will knock on my door and turns out it's a police. Please help me LeanMan :( I arrived here in KSA with my mom last April 2014. I know we are new but I should've searched for the laws first. :( I really am scared and I really have phobia now. Whenever we go out or someone uses doorbells in the apartment, I always get startled/nervous. Ughhh! This is so hard. :( I still want to live tho. LOL!

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on August 30, 2014:

I have never been to tabouk Stef, however please ensure that you are very careful when you take any domestic position in Saudi Arabia. Make sure your family know exactly where you are going and who with.

stef on August 29, 2014:

i want to ask if tabouk saudi arabia is it a good place? because i will work there as a domestic helper and i will be there by september 2014.. and i have lots of thoughts about living of saudi arabia especially domestic helper in the house... im hoping u can answer my question thank u and god bless...

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on August 24, 2014:

Hi HappyDay,

You can bring your husband and your children with you on a dependent visa (As long as the father of the children agrees). You will have to process the visa once you have your Iqama which you will have after 3 months. Processing their visa is usually quite quick and will take all of the paperwork that you used for your own visa so make sure you have it all.

HappyDay on August 20, 2014:

Hello Leanman,

I am considering taking a position as a western woman and Muslim, and I want to bring my family (spouse) and children. Most iqama information talks about spouse. If the position is verified by the Saudi Embassy as eligible for dependents, then can the female worker bring her spouse and children? My employer says yes, but my other half of the question is that do you get the work visa for them and bring them with you when you go, or do you have to go on your own and then bring them afterward on the Iqama? Thanks in advance for clarifications.

Mad Max on August 06, 2014:

i work and live in Saudi. Illiteracy is the biggest disease . i keep asking myself will this ever change in 1000 years to come, and the answer is NO,,,,KSA is here to stay how it is if not even more strict, i respect their way of life,,just have to wait my time and go party back home with anything i can get my hands on :-)

Gabby on July 23, 2014:

Thank you so much my friend!

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on July 22, 2014:

Hi Gabby,

The rules/laws in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries are very clear - A woman is not allowed to be alone with any man who is not her husband or direct blood relative (Father, son, brother). Hence why they are segregated in public places. While most police and other people will turn a blind eye to a woman in the back of a car with a driver there are those that will at times seek to use the rules to their advantage.

This is such an issue that there was a Saudi cleric that issued a decree a few years ago that women should breast feed their drivers to make them their sons and thus be allowed in the car with them! Search it on the internet, you will find it easy enough.

As to providing a direct quote I neither speak Arabic nor am I an expert on the Koran. Shariah law is based directly on the Koran and the various interpretations of it. However feel free to test their laws and argue their validity but don't be surprised if you find yourself locked up, lashed and deported as a prostitute. When in their country follow their rules to the letter or you will find yourself in some serious problems, Saudi Arabia is not a place to go and argue about their culture or their religion, it will not be tolerated at all.

gabby on July 22, 2014:

Hi mr LM, can you please furnish me or quote to me the exact provision of shariah law in saudi prohibiting non married couple on board a private car or a taxi?

Meheraj on July 17, 2014:

Thanks bro

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on July 16, 2014:

Hi Meheraj

Read the article above and follow the links to the other hubs here about Saudi and you will find out just everything you will need to know about working in Saudi Arabia. If you want to know about the company search on LinkedIn or even Facebook and see if you can find others that work there.

Meheraj on July 16, 2014:


I got a job in jeddah .The company name is Al Baik.I want know about their lifestyle.Company will renew my visa or I have to do myself?can I wear jeans t shirt ?

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on July 06, 2014:

Hi Senju,

When you are working in Saudi just do your work and keep your head down if you do not want to draw attention to yourself... Most people go there to earn the money and that means following their rules and respecting their traditions not chasing girls and getting drunk. Follow the rules and you will have no problems working in Saudi Arabia.

senju-in-Japan on July 06, 2014:

Hello Leanman,

I am a US Citizen and will be going to Saudi Arabia. I will be under contract with Hitachi coming from Japan. I will be staying at Jazan city which looks to be very close to Yemen border. I will basically have no security as I am there to help create a new infrastructure (new city) out in the desert (1 hour drive I hear). I feel a bit uneasy but work is work! Any advice to try to stay a low profile?

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on June 20, 2014:

HI Doubleminded,

I don't know the company that you mention so will not be able to tell you anything that you have not already found out checking online.

Many people come into the country on visas that state positions other than those for which they have been hired, these rarely get changed in my experience but there is no need to get too hung up on this. As long as it is not a labor/driver visa then you are really not going to have anything to worry about anyway.

If you don't travel on your Visa to Saudi Arabia then you are not going to be in any trouble; they will not come find you. You also should not have any problems getting another visa at a later date.

Mr. Doubleminded on June 19, 2014:

Hi LeanMan,

Your compilation of rules and experiences is commendable and very much appreciated. LeanMan I have few queries with me and would appreciate if you could advise me..I have a job offer for Saudi (work location till date...unknown) and company's name is Azmeel Contracting company which as per site reviews is found to be a decent company. Now I would appreciate if you could share your views about this company(if you happen to know this name). And second area of concern is whether to rely on company's word that they take full responsibility of changing my visa category from lower category i.e., technician to Engineer (as per the post designated). Lastly what happens if after having a valid visa I dont travel.

AmeriCan on June 16, 2014:

Excellent advice, very much appreciated. Thank you!

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on June 16, 2014:


I think carrying a weapon such as that could be a problem with regards to the airlines. As to Saudi I have known people go armed with pistols and my wife had a similar "toy" to the one you described that she carried, but I bought that from a friend within Saudi.

Men are not to be trusted in Saudi Arabia if you are a woman, not at all! I would carry a weapon and ask that you have a driver assigned for you rather than using a taxi. A company such as Aramco should be able to find you a driver that can be trusted. Aramco is one of the better companies to work for and you should be ok with them there in Saudi.

As a woman there do not go anywhere alone with any man!

As to driving it is still a NO, even in the eastern provinces. Manal Al Sharif the woman that was jailed for driving and raised the issue to an international level was actually fired from Aramco over that incident and her continued support for women's rights to drive. So don't do it!

AmeriCan on June 14, 2014:

I recently purchased excellent taser/flashlights with a great pin wrist strap that disarms the taser should an attacker be able to grab it from you (preventing it being used against you). Do you think I could bring one or two into the country in order to protect myself? I, as a Nordic looking very middle aged woman who is interviewing for a position for Saudi Aramco, would be working off compound. As a single I’m concerned. I had a taxi driver that I asked my hotel concierge in Dubai to personally select as “safe” make improper suggestions to me while I was trapped in his taxi. Luckily my frosty response got the message across. However, I would be working at a lavish (unnamed) public institution where 1) I’m concerned about the work environment, if a colleague corners me in private 2) getting to and from work, based upon the previous taxi experience I’m concerned. Someone said here that women are able to drive in the eastern areas where Saudi Aramco is. Perhaps I could lease a car and drive myself? Do the larger corporations offer any protection for their women workers? Does their name hold weight? Would the lavish institution’s name and reputation offer a sort of built in protection? Also, I’d like to have the taser for my home as well. Do you think I could bring one in luggage without incident? I’m very well traveled, but very cautious from many years of experience fending off trouble elsewhere. (I always dress conservatively and already have an abaya ready to wear should I be offered, and accept the position.)

I do plan to accept the position, if offered. I want to ward off any trouble.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on June 06, 2014:

Hi Pzycho,

Revenge is never sweet, live your life and do your very best - leave him to whatever happens in his life.

Pzycho on June 06, 2014:

سلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاتة

I want to complain my husband, he is commiting adultery.

We are married and have 1 child, my parents took me and my son from my husband because he is irresponsible.

My parents wants us to be divorce, and my husband doesn't respect my parents and he is bringing woman to his house and doing not halal things

What should i do to capture him and his woman in our house, i am now living with my parents and my son

I am legally married and my husband woman is a christian

I just need some advise to my problem

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on June 05, 2014:

Hi HeadedEast,

Prices for villas on some of the bigger western compounds do indeed exceed 100k, but you can find much less than this but of course the standard may fall accordingly. You will be able to find for less than 50k but it will likely be an apartment or similar. Compound accommodation can be very hard to find in Saudi, I called over 20 compounds in Jeddah a few years back and found only one vacancy coming up. This link will help; https://wanderwisdom.com/travel-destinations/Expat...

https://toughnickel.com/finding-job/Being-an-Expat... will help you with many of your other questions also.

There are many different types of compounds and they often contain many different nationalities (but not Saudis). The bigger ones with the better facilities are usually the most expensive but there are many smaller compounds that you will only find by driving around or asking when you get there. It is always worth asking your employer for any recommendations as they may have contacts within one of the compounds to help you find a place.

I lived off compound for several years and had no real problems, however as a woman you may find that very restrictive as you will not be able to easily travel anywhere alone so you will on the main be stuck in your home. But it is much cheaper; I rented a 4 bed, very large apartment in a nice area for just 32k. Some people rent apartments for less than 10k - 2 bed in "ok" areas. Many apartment owners refused to rent to me saying that westerners were not allowed to live off compound, however I did but I only knew one other that did the same.

If you want to contact me just click the "Leanman" icon at the top right and you will be taken to my profile and you can email me from there.

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