What to expect when moving to Saudi Arabia

Hello everyone,

Is there anything you wish you had known before moving to Saudi Arabia? For example, transportation, internet speeds, types of housing, aspects of the culture or social life.

In your opinion, what's the most important thing to know about Saudi Arabia?

When would you recommend someone should begin planning their move to Saudi Arabia?

What were the most helpful ways you found to get organised? For example, did you use a checklist, were there any particularly useful websites or apps?

What advice would you give to future expats preparing to move to Saudi Arabia?

Thank you for sharing your experience.



Me in Riyadh Industrial area. Life is something boring.Work ,eat & sleep that's it.No movement ,no public places to meet etc.Even expat friend are not available.

If you’re an expat thinking about moving to Saudi Arabia, here are few things to know before to move Saudi Arabia.

As you know Saudi Arabia is the biggest economy in the Middle East and every year many foreigners move to the country for business purposes.
But Saudi Arabia is a country governed by rather strict rules and observances and adjusting to its culture and lifestyle may take some time.However there are benefits for the many expats who live there, such as tax-free salaries, good housing and a low cost of living.If you’re an expat thinking about moving to Saudi Arabia, here are few things you should know.

1) The climate in Saudi Arabia is vastly different from what they may be used to in America or European countries.Here, the daytime temperatures can soar to almost 50 degrees Celsius during the peak of the summer season. This can take a toll on one’s health, especially for people who have always been used to colder temperatures. Being a desert region, there is barely any rain throughout the year, except for the Asir region in the southwest, which receives some rainfall. Since there are strict rules about how men and women should dress, one cannot simply dress as they please, except within the confines of their compound houses, which is where many foreigners live.

2) Those who want to enter the country must abide by several essential restrictions enforced by the Saudi Arabian government. These restrictions are usually established by religious law – for instance, it is forbidden to import pork products or alcohol into the country. Carrying religious material is also disallowed, as it may be seen as an attempt to spread a certain religion. There is also punishment stipulated for those who attempt to bring in synthetic or herbal drugs and weapons. It is advisable to carry along your doctor’s prescription if you are on any type of medication.

3) Women in Saudi Arabia are not permitted to drive. This is sometimes the most difficult change for expats. It is possible for women to take a taxi or have a personal driver to take them from place to place. Otherwise, a male relative must accompany them. Women must also abide by the rules regarding dress. They need to wear an abaya when out in public.

Women must wear their abayas even when in designated family sections at restaurants or events. This is a long robe-like covering worn over the clothes. Most women wear black abayas, but colors like dark grey or dark purple are also permitted. There are several shops that make and sell abayas, and it is quite easy to find out what fits and suits you well. It is also advisable to keep a scarf with you, in case you are asked to cover your head.

4) Restaurants have different sections for single men and families, each with separate entrances. The ‘singles’ section admits only men, whether single or not. Women are not permitted inside these areas. They can, however, go into the ‘families’ section, which also admits groups of women and families with or without children. Some shopping malls also actively discourage single men from entering on specific days or at specific times. Some shops are even designated as ‘family only’.

Since there are strict observances regarding the mixing of men and women, those who wish to host mixed public events need to first seek permission from the local government. There are established regulations about what separate facilities have to be created for women.

5) Saudi Arabia is an Islamic country, and shops and businesses are duty-bound to down their shutters during the prayer times, which take place five times a day at dawn, noon, afternoon, after sunset and after dusk. The exact timings of these prayers change according to the Islamic calendar and the time of the year. The call to prayer is sounded through loudspeakers, and this lets Muslims know that it is time to pray. Many shopkeepers switch off the lights to let people know that they should either leave or wait outside. The bigger stores usually allow people to continue with their shopping, but payments can only be made after the prayer time is over.

Nowadays, there are apps that indicate the prayer times, so you can be prepared.

Leave your EGO behind and you'll do fine.

it depends on where are you going to stay.
Jeddah City is great.
anyways if you need and help you may call me at ***

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When i planned of working here, i never really think of any regards as you have now.  all i think about is to work and earn. Although my father, who is also a long time expat here told me about the country, still, it never occurred to me the same concern you have now. 

as for my own opinion,  i was never really a go to the mall guy, i am a home body, i would choose to stay at home and take the chance of resting whenever i can, since the work in the middle east doesn't stop, it goes on and on. so people who are planning to move here should be expecting the same, " work never stops" or "work is never ending" event.

i am a home body, so if anyone of the people planning to move, they need to expect and understand that "not all of your family members can do what they wanna do. specially if you are a girl, you can't just go out and have fun." you need a guardian to do that.

since middle east is a cultured countries, people who are planning to move here, should also respect the rules and laws. you don't want to go here and end up in the jail later on, right?

since middle east is comprises of Islamic countries, there are laws that sometimes, hard to comprehend, but this should not be the basis, once you came here, their laws is also applicable to you, don't be sad about it, however, all the people need to do is to respect their religion, traditions, laws. they should never compare their own with that of the middle east.  its different, but they are both the same in logic. to do good, and to punish those who are at fault.

you ask for our opinion about the important things that people need to know prior to moving here, well, in my humble opinion, it should be the other way around, instead of knowing things for them to get prepared, people should be asking themselves if they are planning to move here. 
1. can they face the life here, and are they ready to look away about the things they used to do when they weren't here yet, like social, night lives, etc. ? 
2. are they ready to face the realities of life, like being mature enough to cope up with everything that surrounds them, like culture, traditions, religion, work, and stressful days in work?
3. are they ready to look away and start a new?
4. do they have the will and strength to face anything that will come their way.
5. do they have the courage to do it?
6. what are their purpose of moving here?

i asked myself the same questions when i planned to move, and my answer is yes.
do i have a preparation, nah, although our gov't prepares us about the place, but still best to know the country, once you are here. you will not like it at first, but eventually, you'll learn to cope up with everything.

you set up yourselves first, then, plan.

you will learn to organize yourselves, here, you will learn to adapt to their ways of living.

organizing yourselves while you are not here, is like, buying an ice and not putting on a bucket, and travelling 100 kilometers while your ice pack is only at back of your open pick up truck, by then when you arrived, gone and melted to water. organize when you are here so you can have your alternatives.

as an advise, if you are not ready to move here, don't dare to do that. it takes mature, courageous  men and women to move here. if you set up mind for a purpose of just working and less fun, then, proceed, if you are the type of person who's boredoms often knocks on your door, you will be disappointed. if you are the kind who can easily leave your old selves behind, then go, if you are not, don't. if you are moving with your family, it is necessary to let them know that they need to sacrifice and leave the lives they knew, but if they can't, don't let them go with you, you will just deprive them of the life they want, and you are taking the best things in their lives, just move alone, and go home when it is time for you to go.

if you are prepared to move, but having doubt of what you are going to expect, it still best to talk to expats too, they can tell you what you need to know, with no BS. why?
they already experienced the life.

and to all, good luck.
you need to set your mind, " this is for the benefit of my family" that should be your purpose.

Hi Priscilla : It depend whether you are single or with family, man or woman, expect lack of social life, for women they have to ware scarf and difficult to go out alone, depend on which place in Saudia the weather is different but most parts hot hot hot and humidity in some places, if you have specific question I will be glade to answer.


    I won't recommend anyone to come here in Saudi Arabia. You can come if your only concern is money. Here is nothing, this is just like a prison. no freedom, no entertainments nothing. You can't able to go outside without wearing apaya. Climate is nothing but HOT HOT HOT... Uffffff..... I won't come back here ever in my life. I won't recommend this country to anyone, even to my enemies.

U need to look at everything in a positive view. 
Negativity will breed negativity.

Life in Saudi for me is beautiful .
The atmosphere here is completely peaceful

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