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Do you wish to study in Saudi Arabia? Do you have kids’ schooling in mind? Would you like to enrol, but don’t know how? Read below to find out what it takes to study in Saudi Arabia.

Being a student in Saudi Arabia comes with some formalities. Depending on your age, previous education, language abilities, religious beliefs, and income bracket, studying in Saudi Arabia can take many forms.

Saudi Arabia has vast and rapidly growing educational sector. With over 24 public universities, more than a dozen private universities, several technical/vocational colleges, and an endless number of language-training institutions, there is something for everybody.

The most common areas of study available are computer science, medicine & health, engineering, and pharmacology.

Elementary & Secondary Schooling

If you are an expat with a family, then one of the most important aspects of relocating is education for your children.

There are 3 main types of schools in Saudi Arabia; international schools, government schools, and sub-private schools.

All schools charge a tuition fee for expat students. The tuition fees range from international schools with high fees to sub-private and government schools that are relatively cheaper.


Government schools are for Saudi nationals only, while sub-private and international schools are open to expats. That being said, most sub-private education facilities are instructed in Arabic with a large English education incorporated. If your child does not speak Arabic then these schools won't be of much use. For English-speaking expats, international Schools are the best fit.

International schools are very costly but provide the best English-instructed education. You will find an array of schools to choose from, some specify in certain curricula while others are bi-lingual and teach courses in both English and Arabic. American, British, and Canadian Curriculum Schools are very common. With a simple online search, you will find dozens in all the major cities.

It's important to note that when negotiating a contract with your employer, it is wise to incorporate your kids' tuition into your salary package. It is common practice and you should definitely take advantage of that benefit. Also, if you have more than 1 child attending an international school, some may offer tuition reductions for additional children attending the same school.

Post -Secondary Education

This area of education can be a bit complicated for expats for several reasons. Firstly, a majority of post-secondary educational institutions are public government-funded bodies. This means that only Saudi nationals can attend. There have been a few exceptions made for expats from certain regions but this is quite rare. You would need to check with the Ministry of Education to ensure that you qualify to attend.

There is the option of private post-secondary institutions, which charge tuition fees. The tuitions fees are very expensive and the space available is very limited.

It's nice to know that as of late the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has opened its doors to international enrolment. They now admit students from all over the world. It is limited to post-graduate education, but nonetheless, it is the only institution currently in Saudi Arabia that is accepting global applicants.

Student visa

By now, you are probably aware that one cannot travel freely to Saudi Arabia. Hence, you will have to comply with existing regulations and, above all, be very patient. After having chosen your university or other higher education institution, you will have to apply for a student visa. Documents to be produced to apply for a student visa are the following:

  • Proof of your successful registration in a recognized university or higher education institution
  • An original birth certificate (original)
  • Relevant fees
  • A detailed medical certificate
  • An extract of your criminal record
  • Travel authorization, issued by your government if it applies in your home country

Student housing

You are likely to be given university campuses or student housing in Saudi Arabia. It is one of the perks while studying in Saudi Arabia. If you are not granted student housing, the university administration will thoroughly help you find suitable accommodations.

Useful links:

Saudi Arabia Ministry of Higher Education
4 ICU - List of universities in Saudi Arabia

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.