Saudi Arabia issues first batch of ‘premium’ residence visas for investors
Programme offers foreigners privileges that were previously not available to non-Saudis
Saudi Arabia issued its first batch of "premium" residence visas on Monday, for investors, doctors, engineers or financiers who wish to live in the kingdom.
The changes are part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s economic and social reform plans to diversify the economy and steer it away from its reliance on oil.
Saudi Arabia’s Premium Residency Centre said it had received thousands of applications through its online portal from inside and outside the country over the past few months.
“The kingdom welcomes everyone. Applying for a premium residency is available to anyone who meets the relevant conditions, whether they are residing in the kingdom or those wishing to come and settle here,” said the centre's chief executive, Bandar Al Ayed.
The programme offers foreign nationals and their families long-term visas and privileges that were previously not available to non-Saudis.
Applicants must be at least 21 years old, prove they are financially solvent, have no criminal record and have a clean bill of health.
They can choose between the permanent premium residency with a one-time fee of 800,000 Saudi riyals (Dh783,500), or a renewable premium residency with an annual fee of 100,000 riyals.
The centre said both visas will make it easy for applicants to obtain business licences, and give them the right to own private vehicles and real estate, including property in Makkah and Madinah.
“When an investor comes to the kingdom, they come to a country with great economic and investment potential, and major projects led by Vision 2030, which ensures that the kingdom will be a fertile ground for minds, talent, venture capital, and a land of innovation and futuristic industries,” Mr Al Ayed said.
Those working in the private sector will be able to move freely from company to company, except for professions and jobs that are restricted to Saudi citizens.
Furthermore, premium residency holders will be able to issue exit and entry visas, and obtain visit visas for relatives.
“Our country today is one of the most important destinations, whether for working or investing, or even for residing, in light of many advantages including the strategic location of the kingdom, rich history and diversity, advanced infrastructure and most importantly, its security and stability,” Mr Al Ayed said.
The Saudi Cabinet approved the residency programme last June.
Updated: November 12, 2019 08:48 AM