The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has opened  Premium Residence scheme (Privilege Iqama), giving permanent resident (green card) status for foreigners and expats.  This scheme is dubbed as Golden visa, similar to gold card status issued by UAE.

 

This is the first time the Kingdom has launched the permanent residence scheme to attract businesses, foreign investment, talents and skills to Saudi Arabia under the 2030 vision. Riyadh is widening economic diversification efforts, the kingdom is broadening its investment base and boosting other non-oil income.

 

The Government has established Permanent residency center to review permanent resident applications.  The Premium Residency Center was established on May 14, 2019, in conjunction with the Royal decree, with the approval of the Council of Ministers, on the Premium Residency System. It is an independent administrative and financial agency, associated with the Economic Affairs and Development Council. The system coordinates with all sectors and state agencies to implement the Premium Residency System which is distinguished for those who wish to obtain a distinctive residence in Saudi Arabia, through its electronic services system, its various departments, and its direct contact with customers from everywhere.

  • Residence in the Kingdom with his/her family. The family includes dependents of a Premium Residency holder: spouses, and children (not exceeding 21 years of age).
  • There is no minimum period which the holder of a Premium Residency is required to spend in the Kingdom.
  • Visit visas for relatives. Relatives include fathers and mothers; grandfathers and grandmothers; children, grandchildren and their descendants; full brothers and sisters and their children; and any other relative whom the Center deems necessary to add.
  • Recruitment of domestic workers from abroad according to his/her needs.
  • Ownership of real estate for residential, commercial, and industrial purposes, in areas other than the cities of Mecca and Medina and border areas, in accordance with the Regulations.
  • Unrestricted rights on real property located in the cities of Mecca and Medina for a period not exceeding 99 years. Such right may be transferable to other parties.
  • Right to invest in the Kingdom’s Capital Market
  • Ownership of private means of transportation, and other movables the acquisition of which is permitted under the law in the Kingdom.
  • Working at private establishments with the ability to change jobs; this shall extend to family members. Professions and jobs limited to Saudis shall be excluded. This privilege shall not prejudice fees applicable to non-Saudis.
  • Exiting and entering the Kingdom anytime at his/her own accord.
  • Use of lanes designated for Saudis at the Kingdom’s exit and entry points.
  • Engagement in business activities, in accordance with the Foreign Investment Law.
  • No special taxes will be imposed on the holders of a Premium Residency and their family members, but they will be subject to the tax provisions applied in the Kingdom.

How much it costs?

The scheme is a fee based model, with 2 options

 

  • Unlimited validity – Pay SAR 800,000 (US$ 215,000) to get the permanent resident status.
  • Limited validity – Pay SAR 100,000 ($27,000) paid annually for one year validity. Renewable every year

 

Applications can be launched online:  https://saprc.gov.sa/

 

What you wont get?

 

  • The Permanent residence status in Saudi Arabia, does not grant free movement within the GCC region.
  • Premium Residency does not make its holder eligible for Saudi citizenship. No citizenship for foreigners
  • The Premium residency is NOT investor visa.  Investor’s Visa is linked to obtaining an investment license for a non-Saudi natural person according to the Foreign Investment Law, and stating the investor’s name as owner in the investment license. Investor visa holders are linked to sponsor, will not qualify for work permits and buying real estate.
  • Premium Residency can be terminated or revoked anytime is convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term not less than 60 days, or a fine not less than 100,000 riyals or its equivalent.

 

Income Taxes

Saudi Arabia is no longer a tax free country. There is no individual income tax scheme in Saudi Arabia. Income tax is not imposed on an individual’s earnings if they are derived only from employment in Saudi Arabia. Non-employment income is taxed as an entity or permanent establishment (PE). Refer to corporate tax rates.