What is the Saudi Premium Residency Scheme?
What is the Saudi Premium Residency Scheme?
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is working diligently to position itself as an economic powerhouse both in the Middle East and globally. In 2016, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced a plan to transform the nation's economy through Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 reform plan. Under this plan, Saudi Arabia hopes to reduce its economic dependence on oil and help retain billions of Saudi Riyals that are lost each year via international remittances. Part of this plan will require the country to attract new investors and business owners from around the world. To accomplish this, the Saudi government has introduced a new type of residency visa, know as the Premium Residency Scheme, that will give expatriate investors and business owners some of the same privileges as Saudi nationals.
What is the Premium Residency Scheme?
Enacted in 2019 by the Saudi government, the Premium Residency Scheme allows holders additional benefits beyond the standard Saudi Iqama residency visa. The premium residency visa grants individuals the right to live, invest, work, bank, and own property (commercial, industrial, and residential) and businesses in the Kingdom. In addition to economic privileges, the premium residency visa also allows free travel to and from the Kingdom and requires no sponsorship from a Saudi national.
There are two options when it comes to selecting a premium residency visa —
1. Permanent Residency (SP1)
The SP1 requires a fee of 800,000 SR (or $213,000 USD) and has no expiration.
2. 1-year Renewable Residency (SP2)
The SP2 is cheaper at 100,000 SR ($26,660 USD) but must be renewed annually.
For many people, the premium residency visa is out of reach due to the cost. There are other options available to those who can’t afford the fees of the premium residency visa.
● Saudi Iqama Visa - The Saudi Iqama visa remains available at a significantly lower cost (650 SR per year). However, this visa requires sponsorship, restricts travel without the sponsor’s permission, and doesn’t allow property or business ownership.
● Investor Visa - Also different from the premium residency visa is the Investor Visa. This visa does not grant residency but does allow individuals to invest in Saudi companies that provide investment sponsorship.
How to Get a Premium Residency Visa
The application process for both the SP1 and SP2 premium residency visa are controlled by the SAPRC (Saudi Arabia Procurement Regulatory Commission). While the SAPRC is an independent body, they work closely in association with the Saudi Council for Economic Affairs and Development.
● Step 1: Complete the Visa Application - The first step to applying for the premium residency visa is to complete your application on the SAPRC website.
● Step 2: Submit Documentation - Applicants will need to submit several documents (translated into Arabic) along with their application including, but not limited to:
○ Valid Passport
○ Clean Criminal Record
○ Health Report completed within the past 6 months (demonstrating that you are free from any contagious diseases)
○ Proof of valid, legal residency status (if applying from within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)
○ Proof of financial solvency. While there are no set requirements, you must be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the SAPRC that you can cover your living expenses in Saudi Arabia.
● Step 3: Pay Fees - Depending on which option (SP1 or SP2) that you selected, you will need to pay the appropriate fees.
● Step 4: Receive Approval - There are no published timeframes for approval. However, you should anticipate that the process will take several months.
● Step 5: Visit a Saudi Embassy or Consulate (Optional) - If you are applying for the premium residency visa from outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, you will need to visit your nearest embassy or consulate to obtain your visa. During your appointment, you will be required to bring physical copies of the documents that you submitted with your application.
Special note on Sponsorship: Family members who are dependents of the SP1 or SP2 visa holder will be covered under the approved visa. You will not need to apply separately or pay the fees for each member of your family. Also, SP1 and SP2 visa holders can sponsor travel visa for other non-dependent family members (grandparents, aunts, and uncles, etc.).
How can Sovereign PRO Partner Group help?
The application process for obtaining a Saudi premium residency visa can be complicated, especially for foreigners who are not proficient in Arabic and need support communicating with the authorising agency. Missing or insufficient documentation can result in delays or a rejected application. Having an expert on your side can help you avoid these challenges and streamline the application process. Sovereign PRO Partner Group have connections with key government agencies in Saudi Arabia and can guide you through the process of application for the Saudi Premium Residency visa and liaise with all parties involved on your behalf.
If you need assistance to apply for a Premium Residency Scheme in Saudi Arabia or company setup, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman, Qatar or Saudi Arabia, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at email@example.com or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.