Launch of Permanent Residence Program

July 16, 2019 | Saudi Arabia

The government of Saudi Arabia has implemented the country’s first permanent residence program for foreign nationals by launching the Premium Residency Card (PRC) online application platform.

The Premium Residency Card, which was first announced three years ago, will allow eligible self-sponsored foreign nationals to gain a residence permit that is valid for up to one year and may be renewed an unlimited period of time.

In order to qualify, foreign nationals must prove that they have sufficient financial resources, a clean criminal record, and that they are free from contagious diseases. Foreign nationals applying from Saudi Arabia must hold legal status in the Kingdom and must settle all matters relating to their previous residence, including any contractual obligations.

If eligible, foreign nationals may apply for one of two categories of the PRC at the following costs:

  1. PRC for Limited Duration (up to one-year, renewable): SAR 100,00 (approximately USF 26, 667) per year; or
  2. PRC for Unlimited Duration: SAR 800,000 (approximately USD 213,334), paid once.

Since the program is new, it is not yet clear if those applying from Saudi Arabia will be issued an entry permit, and if so, what the terms and conditions surrounding the entry permit will be. Lastly, please note that foreign nationals who obtain a PRC must maintain valid medical insurance.

Benefits

Those who hold a PRC can travel without restrictions in and out of Saudi Arabia without obtaining a separate visa; however, they are not subject to freedom of movement within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and must comply with the entry regulations of each GCC Member State. Holders of a PRC may also sponsor residence and visitor visas for their spouses and immediate relatives and employment visas for domestic workers. Dependents of foreign nationals applying for PRC are exempt from government fees and from the dependents’ levy introduced by Saudi Arabia in July 2016.

Holders may work in the private sector and can change jobs. Please note, there are positions in Saudi Arabia that are restricted for Saudi Nationals. PRC holders are not allowed to work in these positions and their employers are not exempt from the fees applicable to the employment of foreign nationals.

Lastly, if a foreign national withdraws or cancels the PRC, they may stay in Saudi Arabia for up to 60 days unless otherwise approved by the President of the Premium Residency Center (discretionary approval process; approvals are not granted for longer than 180 days in total).