Saudi Arabia recently unveiled new residency programs targeting skilled professionals and investors in a strategic move to diversify its economy away from fossil fuels.
The initiative, a key component of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 economic transformation plan, aims to create employment opportunities, facilitate knowledge transfers, and attract significant foreign direct investment.
Five New Premium Residency Programs
The Kingdom has introduced five premium residency programs, tailored specifically for professionals in diverse fields, including healthcare, sports, and real estate.
These programs promise unique benefits, allowing holders to settle in Saudi Arabia, conduct business, own real estate, and secure work permits for both themselves and their family members.
1. Entrepreneur Residency Program
The ‘Entrepreneur’ residency targets ambitious entrepreneurs and project owners aiming to launch and grow innovative startups in Saudi Arabia, contributing to the nation’s economic transformation. Divided into two categories, it offers fixed-term and permanent residency options based on investment, ownership, and job creation criteria.
Category 1: Applicants investing a minimum of SR400,000 and holding a 20% startup share receive a renewable five-year residency.
Category 2: A minimum SR15 million investment for permanent residency and creating at least 10 jobs in the first year and 10 or more in the second are required.
2. Real Estate Owner Residency Program
The ‘Real Estate Owner’ residency is tailored for affluent foreign property owners seeking to enjoy Saudi Arabia’s quality of life and capitalize on its burgeoning real estate market. Eligibility is tied to owning a residential property worth at least SR4 million, meeting specific criteria for property use, and undergoing appraisal by Taqeem authority.
3. Special Talent Residency Program
The ‘Special Talent’ residency attracts healthcare, science, and research professionals with unique skills. The five-year option requires healthcare/science professionals to earn a minimum of SR35,000 monthly, researchers SR14,000 monthly, and executives SR80,000 monthly. This program aims to enhance knowledge transfer and contribute to Saudi Arabia’s cultural landscape.
4. Gifted Residency Program
The ‘Gifted’ residency integrates skilled professionals into Saudi Arabia’s cultural and sports sectors. The five-year program includes two categories: nomination/approval by the Ministries of Culture and Sports or meeting predefined eligibility criteria set by the ministries.
5. Investor Residency Program
The ‘Investor’ residency targets investors seeking opportunities in Saudi Arabia’s thriving business landscape. Eligibility includes issuing investment licenses, presenting commercial registers, founding contracts, and a minimum SR7 million investment in Saudi economic activities. This program aims to generate high-impact returns across the economy.
Specific Requirements for Saudi Residency
To qualify for Saudi premium residency across all categories, applicants must meet the following general requirements:
- Possess a valid passport with accurate passport details.
- Successfully pass a medical examination.
- Hold regular residency status for those already residing in the Kingdom.
- Pay a one-time fee of SR4,000, applicable to all categories except limited-duration and unlimited-duration residencies.
- Submit various other relevant documents as specified by the authorities.
Benefits of Saudi Permanent Residency
Holders of Saudi premium residency will enjoy a range of privileges, including the ability to:
- Extend premium residency status to family members.
- Establish and operate businesses within the Kingdom.
- Conduct free-of-charge money transfers.
- Host and invite relatives, fostering family connections and social ties.
Attracting Global Talent
The new Saudi residency programs not only signify a commitment to economic diversification but also position the country as an attractive destination for global professionals and investors. The emphasis on sectors like healthcare, sports, and real estate showcases the Kingdom’s strategic approach to building a knowledge-based economy.
As Saudi Arabia advances its economic transformation, the implementation of these innovative residency programs is expected to play a pivotal role in shaping the future landscape of the Gulf region, fostering sustainable growth and global collaboration.