Close

Moving to Saudi Arabia with your family

Hello everybody,

When settling abroad with your spouse and children, the expatriation process requires an extensive preparation.

What are the considerations to take into account when moving to Saudi Arabia with your family? What challenges have you faced? How did your children adapt to their new environment?

What is your recipe for a successful family expatriation in Saudi Arabia?

Thank you in advance for sharing your experience,

Bhavna


Kindly note that this thread has been edited to focus on family expatriation

Another thesis

Hello,

1) please make sure that Husband is provided with IQAMA
2) please make sure that Husband is provided with IQAMA with the right job position. Some job position does not allow Family status. Also please make sure that company provides yellow Letter to process Family visa.
If the above conditions are not being met better to come back to India and get a job elsewhere in the Middle East or America or europe

Just visit and you automatically be experienced ..  later you will be the one among who will do the right up on question you posted.
hehehe ...

A word of advice... Stay where you are, or try somewhere else.

I would say family life in KSA will be extremely difficult especially at the beginning for many reasons, for example your kids will have no friends and making new friends is really difficult. if you can live in a compound maybe you will have some social life since the social life is almost zero here if you do not know any friends, also schools are very expensive also must take care of this point.

Every country has its own traditions and rules and must be respected and KSA is the same for example woman are not allowed to drive, must wear black abaya when going outside....these are things you must know about KSA.

at the end KSA has its own magic, once you got used to it you will love it and you will get used to the life style here.

Kingdom of saudi Arabia is the best place to live as expatriate , if your spouse has a job and has permanent residence permission  your bring your family very easily , there are no restrictions.As regard living , it is very easy adopt your self , the environment very friendly , you can enjoy your living if have attractive salary, as money play  great role in our life, without it you can't do thing. Saudi Arabia was rich in country you can , you can spend your time happily , you get what you need , if you are Muslim you can visit two holy mosques in Markka and Medina.

Well... Unfortunately, the experience will vary dramatically depending on the passport your family holds. Sad, but true! The way you're treated here depends heavily on your nationality!
Issues will vary depending on how big your family is, children's ages, and benefits you will have waiting for you.

Some of the things you must consider are:

1) You will need a driver or buy a car. If you decide the latter, beware that KSA kills more on the road than any other country.

2) Women shouldn't be by themselves. I've witnessed many times women walking by themselves and being harassed by passing drivers. Although nobody will dear touch a strange woman in public, it can be pretty upsetting for a newbie female westerner being harassed in a unfamiliar and quite strong sounding language such as Arabic!

3) If you have teens, given what we have available in the west for kids to do and entertain themselves, I would strongly advise you not to come! Your life dealing with an unhappy teen here will be magnified drastically! If your kids are little and preschool aged, no issues!

4) A happy wife always equates to a happier life! Make sure your wife establishes her women's circle as soon as possible, simply because they need it! If not... Welcome to hell!!

5) Even as a devout Muslim, you will soon discover that Muslims back home are likely to be better Muslims than Saudis. Of course this cannot be generalized, however as a convert myself, I used to be a better Muslim back home in Canada than here. I have pretty much given up on any religion as a whole and haven't been happier!

6) There are no cinemas, good parks, unrestricted outdoor activities, night clubs, nor bars. Only shopping, restaurants and coffee shops and Games' parlours to satisfy only and accessible to males. And wherever there are beaches, women cannot wear the typical bathing swimming attires we have in the west. This will surely bring about some interesting conversations (or gripping) on your wife's part. And understandably so!

Other than what I mentioned above, everything is ok!That's why this is my last year here (5th). Good luck to all who are considering this.

ginoexpatksa :

5) Even as a devout Muslim, you will soon discover that Muslims back home are likely to be better Muslims than Saudis. Of course this cannot be generalized, however as a convert myself, I used to be a better Muslim back home in Canada than here. I have pretty much given up on any religion as a whole and haven't been happier!

Great viewpoint, so what made you become "one of them" that you have given up ?

Honestly! Islam as a religion is deeply moving and beautiful, and one that I have found most peace and sense of truthfulness! Without getting in any deeper discussion on this, I believe the human factor spoils any religion. It is my personal view as well that Saudis despite having Medina and Kabba right here, fall far short of their beautiful professed faith... But to tell the truth, I've experienced the same parallels amongst all the different branches of Christianity I've been part of in my life.

My advice to new expats working or dependent is to bring books to read, series/movies to watch or anything to pass time. In KSA, the culture and environment is very different. You can't just go out when you want to, and you can't wear anything you want (for ladies. Coz they require abaya here)

Best thing to do is to expand your acquaintances. That way, you won't feel bored or homesick.

Good thing here is you have all your time with your family. You can discover a lot of things with your son/daughter or spouse because most of your time will be spent with them. :)

Family life means a lot to me. KSA gives u enough time to spend with family. I think this is one of the few countries that can give good quality time to the family. I have witnessed  different budding milestones of my kids, that i would miss if i was working in other country due to work pressure. i spend lot of quality time with my kids and wife since i have less options outside. my wife was a working female earlier, now enjoys upbringing the kids. There are few disadvantages like the mobility of the women, eve teasing and behaviour changes. It depends on how we manage. Once if u look into the saudis, they themselves are frustated over the division of the sects, so it hardly makes any concern to us. Women are supposed to wear the abhaya... this will take few days to come over. Try to live in decent locality, i am sure u wouldnt find any harassment. I dont know if there are any countries free of women harassment. I beleive friends are the extended family and i make a lot of friends any place i go. Try to make friends as early as possible, i have seen people living here for decades and generations and still foul mouth the place. Its simple to understand, if u like then live, if not leave. The time has gone where the employers would hold on to people except the low level jobs. Its an opportunity to learn and understand a new culture and spend quality time with ur family. Its a tax free income, low cost of living and almost no cost petrol.

I had wonderful experience in repartraition twice as I changed jobs from private to govt sector.
One thing every body should understand do not compare peaches with oranges.
KSA has its own tradition and culture which we all should know before coming here.Believe me they are moderinizing at much quicker pace though.
All of us know staying here makes our purse heavier and at much greater pace than anywhere else do why worry.
Best advise for moving contact your friend ,family acquintance colleague any one ready to help before coming ,during stay and settling period.
Be patient that you are not thought living till your iqama is ready.Also outing here is only shopping ,shopping and more shopping.This may keep ur wife happy but not your purse.Try use weekends boring long oned by meeting people.
I had problem for my kids schooling so plan move gor children at time of school admission.Be ready for high fees for international schools.

ginoexpatksa :

Honestly! Islam as a religion is deeply moving and beautiful, and one that I have found most peace and sense of truthfulness! Without getting in any deeper discussion on this, I believe the human factor spoils any religion. It is my personal view as well that Saudis despite having Medina and Kabba right here, fall far short of their beautiful professed faith... But to tell the truth, I've experienced the same parallels amongst all the different branches of Christianity I've been part of in my life.

Amen!

It is good to work and stay with your family in Saudi Arabia.  However, moving  your family in your place of work would give sudden culture shock specially to your children. At school, where they will stay with fellow expatriate children. For a time, but in the long run they will adjust and find friends among their classmates.
For a wife, it would be a lot of sacrifices because if you're not working and just a plain housewife, you will stay everyday at home. Your husband and children will see you only after office and school hours.  You can always apply for a work as teacher, medical secretary or at call centres.  Many banks and other establishments employ women and thereby adjusting your stay in Saudi Arabia will be enjoyable.

Me and my family feel happy and easily.specially at sunset time we go to desert and babies are play with sand and eachother.one excellent their police is much cooperative and very humble.we feel so happy and easy here bcoz me belive follow rule in which country work.I love Saudi Arabia so nice living place.

Wow! Mr. Khan, you almost make me fell like staying for another ten years!  Hmmm... No.. Not really!!! Actually... Not at all!! You're the first person I've heard describe KSA as "So nice to live here!" -- And from your last name, I would gather you might be Pakistani! If that is so... I am not only surprised, but utterly shocked!!
It's really nice nice to hear it has worked out for you! The Pakistanis I know, who by the way have built this country, and continue to do so here for very cheap would disagree with you!

I believe in truth here is 15million foreigners work in this country if not satisfied than why stay here its a question

That's not the point! The point is that in my five years living here, I had never hear anyone say the way you said! I was just making a light remark! You are right... That's why I am leaving! Can't be happy here! Just can't handle the hypocrisy, the killer driving, the injustice, the inequality and lack of any proper orderly process of doing things! It doesn't exist here!
All the best!

I suggest to choose another country to work at. life here is very complicated. I lost my health and my total life since i was born in saudi arabia. I was hit by a car while i was in the pavement and i have traumatic brain injury and i take 40 tablets aday to be able to think.

waelinaim :

I suggest to choose another country to work at. life here is very complicated. I lost my health and my total life since i was born in saudi arabia. I was hit by a car while i was in the pavement and i have traumatic brain injury and i take 40 tablets aday to be able to think.

you got 99 problems...

muhammad hafeez khan STEP OUT PLEASE

You will enjoy your stay in saudi arabia once you are comfortable with theit culture. The Saudi people are very nice and loving therefore there is nothing to worry I have been in this country for nearly 22 years without my family and I feel secured and the Saudi people are like family to me .

Enjoy your stay and you can do the best shopping you want.

khobar and dammam are good cities, not the same as riyadh and jeddah where you meet a close minded people

waelinaim :

khobar and dammam are good cities, not the same as riyadh and jeddah where you meet a close minded people

Excusez Moi

Close minded ? Jeddah? 

Joke of the day :)

in jeddah a mix of somalians and atheopi with second grade saudi cause nasty life style in most of jeddah areas , still better than riyadh where people are rude cause desert life had effected their behavior.

u my friend are oblivious and haven't interacted in Jeddah.

using Somalis and Ethiopians to judge a city is like saying South Region is bad because of all the Yemenis.

Stop discriminating, that's what Saudis do and not expats.

this is their country we are here make little more money , we have to make some adjustments ;we have to accept their compulsions ;

for eample....during one of my vacations to my home country....at airport immigration check i told a immigration officer that how much time it takes for an expat to pass through immigration and special counters for 'gcc' nationals  and single line for other expats...i questioned why you dont give us such treatment at home country.

he gave me this lesson :
he very politely said , they have such compulsions, we dont have such compulsions , so it is not allowed here , from here we make them feel they are safe and their rights are protected.

saudi arabia is rich but people still longway to go in social and psychological development ,government is good and smart and their policies are good , that is why though you are not a muslim, being a islamic state they gave you oppurtunity to work and make better money than at home ;

be a roman when you are in rome

learn to enjoy your stay;
:)

I have now been in Jeddah just over a week.

So far so good.

This is the longest I have been away from my wife and kids. Our plan is for me to assess the liveability  of Jeddah outside a compound, and if acceptable, my wife and children move over towards the end of 2016. When we are all together again in Jeddah we would then move into a compound.

My employer will be supporting me through visa applications, accommodation and schooling. I am very greatful for this assistance.

The symantics of achieving the end goal could be frustrating, visa documentation etc. but something we are willing to work through to take advantage of this rare opportunity we have been given.

Any helpful information from this feed would be greatly appreciated.

Regards

Welcome to Jeddah... I hope that u enjoy it here in Jeddah... And if i can be of any assistant to u... Please let me know.

hi, i am glad to hear that you liked Jeddah.
living in a compound is much better for a family coz your family will feel more free and your kids can meet friends easier there.
good luck.

Dear Bhavna,

I do not think it is a good idea for relocating to Saudi Arabia because of the expenses that are going to be implemented for visa etc...

I have been here since 28 years and I like the culture and people of this country, but now that the new rules which will be implemented money wise will incur a big cost for your husband.

Regards
Brian

Am I thinking to bring my family on visit visa any suggestions?

tell your people not to bring seseme seeds...if you are indian or Pakistani...because they are part of their spices used in food;it is banned item attracts penal punishment;
ask them to check on arrival immigration stamp and number are entered in the passports;sometimes they don't, you must have them for return;

New topic

Moving to Saudi Arabia

Find tips from professionals about moving to Saudi Arabia

Travel insurance in Saudi Arabia

Enjoy stress-free travel to Saudi Arabia

Flights to Saudi Arabia

Find the best prices for your flight tickets to Saudi Arabia

2 million members!

Watch later