Tattoo's In Riyadh?

Hi everyone,

I've just signed a contract to work at the King Faisal hospital in Riyadh.
Just wondering if anyone on this site knows what the rules are about visible tattoos on lower arms e.g. wrist to elbow
-are they allowed to be uncovered at work?
-what about when out in public?
I'm from New Zealand so I understand the rules will be a lot different then what I'm used to
I'm been trying to find out on the internet but getting a lot of conflicting information, I don't think they would cause offence but I'd rather get a heads up first before find out the hard way.

it wouldn't be a offense or a crime but you will be bothered a lot by it from questioning , some people or the religious guys will more likely to ask you on what is that or where did you get it(in the case of my friend a police asked him if it's new or was done here in saudi) all you have to do is to say that it's a old tatoo and you got it before you come here. so when outside i think it's better if you could make a way to cover it up and not expose it in public(wear a long sleeves maybe or there is certain protection that is only wore on the sleeve you can wear it with a shirt.) but here in jeddah tatoo is pretty common already but riyadh is a different place so i assume you will be bothered by questions..

Awesome, Thanks Ralph for the advice

i hope you dont have a cross !!!!!i work in another hospital someone was sent home had tatoos , lip , tongue and he knew what else . despite being a good worker ! respect their culture cover up. thats not to say they dont have tatoos , they just conceal with clothing. dont even discuss and show them.good luck

true , good advice . here in riyadh , a lady was stopped by religious police for wear a uk flag head scarf because it has a cross!!scary

hello friends,

I believe you are confused about two separate issues, let me address them one by one.

If a lady was stopped for wearing union jack as a head scarf, it was not because it had a cross on it and that has something to do with Christianity,  it is because the whole point of a lady  covering her head is to 'avoid the un wanted attention' and a 'neutral' head cover should 'blend' in the surroundings and protect a women by 'camouflaging'  her. By wearing a bright Blue red and white union Jack flag, the authorities think she is doing the contrary.

Anti tattoo feeling has nothing to do with Islam ( , in fact it is more controversial in the west, there have been a lot of documented cases in the USA Canada and the UK where people were denied jobs, visas and promotions because of it. It is like racial discrimination where a job offer was turned down when the employer found that the candidate was 'other than white' … gangs.html

Lets conclude, a tattoo is probably less controversial in Saudi Arabia in comparison  to the 'civilized west' it may raise a few eyebrows but I have yet to see a case of 'discrimination' against an expatriate on the grounds of having a body tattoo!

Well said Riaz.i strongly agree
But let me clear and briefly state the issue .
Though I have been asked by many regarding the tattoos whether you have a full sleeve / only a sailors anchor on shoulder/a butterfly on the neck.Its doesn't matter until you show off , one of my friends do have a sleeve but it's didnt caused any stirr , though recently he has been advised to cover it up by the religious police.

And lastly "faymoyo1" it doesn't even matter if you have a cross or even a metal band satanic skull.If you want to prevent the awkward talk with the police explaining the tattoos, just cover them up in public .As simple as that.

I've ben told by my company all tattoos have to be covered. 

What's your tattoo of?  Any chance it's a tribal one? Maybe you can justify it as a Kiwi/Cultural thing?

Hey all
I totally agree with riaz.
Moreover, I work in king faisal and many people has tattoos, some of them don't cover it up. Some have piercings as well and I didn't hear they have been asked to be taken out!

Good luck!

I also have tattoo  I am a Chef can I work with tatto

Hello wwkumarass88,

Welcome to  :cheers:

Thank you for sharing this information with us, but please note that this topic is quite old.

I invite you to check the latest threads on the Riyadh forum, where you might help some other people.


Cheryl team.

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