Saudi Premium Residency: An Overview

By Mohammed Ameen

Updated on:

Saudi Premium Residency

Premium Residency

Saudi Arabia’s Premium Residency program, colloquially known as the Saudi Green Card, marks a significant shift in the country’s approach to attracting global talent and investment. This initiative aligns with the Vision 2030 reform plan, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which aims to diversify the Saudi economy beyond its traditional oil dependence.

Types of Premium Residencies

The program offers two main types of residencies: a permanent residency for SAR 800,000 ($213,000) and a one-year renewable residency for SAR 100,000 ($26,000). These residencies allow expatriates to live, work, and own businesses and property in Saudi Arabia without a sponsor, which is a notable change from the iqama residency system that requires a sponsor and regular permit renewals based on employment status and government migration policies.

New Categories of Premium Residencies

Recently, Saudi Arabia has introduced five new categories of Premium Residencies, expanding the scope to attract diverse talents and investors. These categories include:

  1. Special Talent Premium Residency: Targeting executives and professionals in healthcare, science, and research.
  2. Gifted Premium Residency: Focused on experts in culture and sports industries.
  3. Investor Premium Residency: Aimed at individuals interested in Saudi business opportunities.
  4. Entrepreneur Premium Residency: For entrepreneurs and project owners.
  5. Real Estate Owner Residency: Designed for property owners in Saudi Arabia.

Benefits and Privileges

These new residencies extend several benefits, such as the ability to recruit workers, own businesses and property, and means of transportation. They also facilitate visa-free travel to and from Saudi Arabia, property ownership, and easier transitions between establishments without fees. Furthermore, these residencies do not confer citizenship but grant many rights similar to those enjoyed by Saudi nationals. However, restrictions still apply in certain occupations and economic sectors for non-Saudis.

Strategic Impact on the Saudi Economy

The enhancement of the Premium Residency program is a strategic move expected to significantly boost foreign direct investment in line with Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation goals. This initiative reflects the Kingdom’s ambition to become a global hub for talent, investment, and entrepreneurship, enhancing its economic position and intensifying competition with other regional centers.