MENAPolicy Updates

Saudi Arabia Launches “Premium Residency” Program for Investors, Entrepreneurs, and Talents


Saudi Arabia today launched its Premium Residency suite of programs, which includes golden visa real estate investment, independent means, active investor, talent, and experience-based categories.

Interested parties can apply directly through the government’s online portal.

The Premium Residency program has six categories, each with different requirements and durations:

  • Business Investor
  • Property Investor
  • Entrepreneur
  • Privileged Residency
  • Established Talent
  • Exceptional Competence

All categories of applicants will reap the following benefits:

  • Residency in Saudi Arabia, including for parents, spouses, and children under the age of 25
  • Freedom to move between facilities (employers, projects, businesses, etc.)
  • Exemption from the financial fees normally imposed on expats and their companions
  • Freedom to enter and exit the Kingdom without a visa
  • Visitor visas available for relatives
  • Use of designated entry and exit lanes at ports and airports
  • Right – for main applicant, spouse, and children – to work in private sector establishments and move freely between them
  • Right to own real estate in KSA

Business Investor

This product targets those who wish to actively invest in a business in Saudi Arabia.

Special advantages

  • Immediate permanent premium residency.

Eligibility criteria

  • Obtain an investment license
  • Invest, over the course of no more than two years, at least SAR 7 million (US$1.9 million) in economic activities in Saudi Arabia.
  • Appoint at least ten employees in Saudi Arabia

Duration of stay

  • This visa leads to a direct permanent residency and is contingent on meeting the eligibility criteria within the first two years.

Property Investor

This visa targets those who wish to invest in residential real estate in Saudi Arabia.

Eligibility criteria

  • Acquiring residential real estate worth at least SAR 4 million (US$1.1 million)
  • The property may not be subject to a mortgage or other financing
  • The property must be an existing one rather than one that’s in development
  • The property must have its value assessed by accredited Saudi appraisers

Duration of stay

This visa remains valid for as long as the applicant maintains ownership of the property

Entrepreneur

This visa targets entrepreneurs and innovators who want to develop startups in Saudi Arabia while getting investments from accredited entities.

Special advantages

  • Ability to nominate two team members to obtain exceptional competence residency (see below) while exempting them from its requirements
  • Exemption from the scope of establishment for the first three years of operation
  • Direct permanent residency if qualifying in category 2 (see below)

Eligibility criteria

Category 1:

  • Obtain entrepreneurial license from the Ministry of Investment
  • Obtain investment round(s) from an approved entity in the amount of no less than SAR 400,000 (US$106,000)
  • Obtain a letter of recommendation from the investing party
  • Retain at least a 20% share in the company

Category 2:

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  • Obtain entrepreneurial license from the Ministry of Investment
  • Obtain investment round(s) from an approved entity in the amount of no less than SAR 15 million (US$4 million)
  • Obtain a letter of recommendation from the investing party
  • Retain at least a 10% share in the company
  • Create at least 10 jobs during the first year, and at least another 10 jobs during the second year

Duration of stay

  • Category 1: An initial 5-year residence permit, renewable once upon continuing to meet the eligibility criteria. This is contingent on physical presence for at least 30 months within the five-year period.
  • Category 2: Immediate permanent residency, conditional on the creation of at least 10 jobs in the first year and at least another 10 in the second.

Privileged Residency (Unlimited or Fixed Term)

This visa targets those who wish to settle in Saudi Arabia for either a limited period or indefinitely. The duration of the visa is contingent on the fee paid by the applicant.

Eligibility criteria

  • Proof of financial solvency and necessary means
  • Payment of corresponding fee

Duration of stay

  • Fixed-term: Individuals may choose to apply for a fixed-term residence permit with durations from one to five years, all renewable. The fee is SAR 100,000 (US$27,000) for the initial year, with a reduction of 2% per year after that.
  • Indefinite duration: Individuals who want to remain in KSA for an unlimited amount of time may opt to buy immediate permanent residency for SAR 800,000 (US$213,000)

Established Talent

This visa targets talents and specialists in the sports, cultural, and artistic fields.

Special advantages

  • This visa can become permanent after five years if the eligibility criteria continue to be met

Eligibility criteria

Path 1:

  • Be nominated for or awarded one of the specified awards
  • Meet certain minimum financial solvency thresholds (not specified)
  • Obtain a recommendation from the Ministries of Sports or Culture

Path 2:

  • Fulfill the list of minimum eligibility requirements (not specified) set by the Culture and Sports Ministries
  • Meet certain minimum financial solvency thresholds (not specified)
  • Obtain a recommendation from the Ministries of Sports or Culture

Duration of stay

  • Initially, this visa is valid for five years and is renewable as long as the applicant continues to meet the eligibility criteria and resides in KSA for 30 months during the first five years. The residence permit can subsequently become permanent.

Exceptional Competence

This visa targets experienced professionals in the fields of science, administration, or research.

Special advantages

  • Obtain permanent residency after the first five years if criteria continue to be met

Eligibility criteria

Researchers:

  • Employment contract with a specified entity
  • Monthly wage of no less than SAR 14,000
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • At least 3 years of work experience in the field
  • Meeting the “minimum points system” (not specified)
  • A letter of recommendation from the employer

Scientific and Health specialists:

  • Employment contract with a specified entity
  • Monthly wage of no less than SAR 35,000
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • At least 3 years of work experience in the field
  • Meeting the “minimum points system” (not specified)
  • A letter of recommendation from the employer

Executives:

  • Employment contract in a leadership position (first or second tier) in a specified entity
  • Monthly wage of no less than SAR 80,000
  • Letter of recommendation from the employer (tier 2 executives only)

Duration of stay

  • Initially, this visa is valid for five years and is renewable as long as the applicant continues to meet the eligibility criteria and resides in KSA for 30 months during the first five years. The residence permit can subsequently become permanent.

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