Insights into Saudi Arabia’s Evolving Laws & Regulations


Feb 1, 2024


New Opportunities for Foreign Talent and Investors

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is actively pursuing its ‘Vision 2030’ Initiative, which aims to transform its economy by diversifying away from oil and implementing comprehensive reforms in the commercial, social, and civil sectors. As part of this initiative, Saudi Arabia is making concerted efforts to attract skilled professionals and foreign investors who can contribute to its economic and social transformation. Recognizing the pivotal role these individuals play, the Kingdom has recently revamped its Premium Residency Program to provide a more appealing and flexible framework for obtaining Premium Residency.
Under the revised program, Saudi Arabia seeks to welcome world-renowned scientists, artists, talented professionals, and seasoned entrepreneurs with open arms. It offers them not just temporary visitor status, but the opportunity to become potential residents with access to a wide range of opportunities. The aim is to position Saudi Arabia as a magnet for global talent, where individuals in various fields can thrive and contribute to the country’s growth.
By offering an attractive and flexible Premium Residency program, Saudi Arabia is demonstrating its commitment to creating an environment that fosters innovation, creativity, and economic prosperity. This initiative aligns with the broader goals of the ‘Vision 2030’ Initiative, which seeks to establish a vibrant non-oil economy and drive social and civil reforms. Through these efforts, Saudi Arabia aims to position itself as an appealing destination for skilled professionals and foreign investors, ultimately fueling its economic and social transformation.

AMENDMENTS To Premium Residency Law

Several provisions of the Saudi Arabian Premium Residency Law, (the Law) have been amended vide Royal Decree No: M/84 dated 11/06/1445 H. which was published in the Official Gazette (Ummulqura) on 12 January 2024.
The short note covers major changes in the Law as well as highlights important provisions covering the Premium Residency benefits and privileges offered to talented individuals, investors and entrepreneurs:

KEY AMENDMENTS To The Premium Residency Law Include

  • The definition of family has been changed to add parents of the holder of Premium Residency who will enjoy the benefits and privileges applicable to Premium Residency Holder.

  • Besides the Premium Residency Holder, all of the family members could move in and out of the Kingdom without the requirements of an Exit Re-Entry visa.
  • The categories of Premium Residency have been changed to be either ‘Permanent’ or ‘Definite Period’. Previously, it used to be ‘unspecified period’ (usually until death of the person or cancellation for reasons as stated in Article 9 in the Law) or a one year period. The Economical and Development Affairs Council has been entrusted with the task of determining fee for each type of Premium Residency.
  • The provision “For the purpose of applying other statutory provisions, particularly tax provisions, the holder of a privileged residency permit shall be treated as a resident regardless of the period he spends outside the Kingdom during the year” has been deleted from the Law.
  • The provision “A privileged residency permit does not make its holder eligible for Saudi citizenship” has been deleted from the Law.


Premium Residency provides non-Saudi nationals several benefits and privileges, which include:

  1. Residence in the Kingdom with family (wife, children and parents) without paying expat levy;
  2. Ownership of real estate for residential, commercial, and industrial purposes, in areas excluding the cities of Al-Makkah Al-Mukarramah and Al-Medina Al Munawwara and border areas;
  3. Usufruct on real estate located in the cities of Makkah Al-Mukarramah and Al-Medina Al Munawwara for a period not exceeding 99 years, subject to certain requirements and conditions;
  4. The ability of Premium Residency Holders and family members taking up jobs in the private sector with the ability to change jobs without requiring change of sponsor; the family members too are entitled to this privilege;
  5. The Premium Residency Holder and the family members moving inside and outside of Saudi Arabia without the requirement of exit-reentry visas;
  6. The Premium Residency Holder accessing immigration desks designated for Saudis and GCC citizens at the Kingdom’s exit and entry points;
  7. Setting up business entities and undertaking commercial activities, in accordance with the Foreign Investment Law.


Premium Residency is available under the following categories

  • Investor Residency
  • Entrepreneur Residency
  • Real Estate Owner Residency
  • Special Talent Residency
  • Gifted Residency
  • Limited Duration and Unlimited Duration Premium Residency

Each of the above categories has specific eligibility criteria, requirements and conditions for obtaining the Premium Residency.

The ‘Investor Residency’ is available to individuals holding an investment license issued by the Ministry of Investment (MISA) and committing to invest at least SR. 7 Million during the first two years besides creating a minimum of (10) jobs.  The ‘Entrepreneurship Residency’ is available to individuals holding ‘entrepreneur license’ issued by Ministry of Investment (MISA) and who have obtained a minimum of SR.400,000.00 investment from an entity accredited by the MISA.

In regards to ‘Real Estate Owner Residency’, the desirous individual must own or usufruct residential real estate in the Kingdom whose value is not less than SR. Four Million and the property should not be under any financing arrangement or mortgage over the property.

The ‘Special Talent Residency’ is available to researchers, healthcare professionals, scientists and executives.  While researchers employed with white-listed entities with priority specializations earning monthly package of SR.14,000.00 could obtain such residency, the monthly wage criteria for healthcare professionals and scientists is SR.35,000.00 that increases to SR.80,000.00 in the case of executives.

The ‘Gifted Residency’, aimed to attract talent in sports, cultural and artistic fields, is available to individuals who have received exceptional awards or those who fulfill the eligibility criteria approved by the Ministry of Sports or Ministry of Culture.

The ‘Limited Duration and Unlimited Duration Premium Residency’ has been available to individuals who fulfill the primary criteria against an annual fee of SR.100,000.00 (with reduction of 2% per annum on cumulative basis if applying for more than one year.  One could obtain Premium Residency for Unlimited Duration against a fee of SR.800,000.00

The duration of Premium Residency differs for each class. While the ‘Investor Residency’ is stated to be permanent, the Entrepreneur Residency will be permanent for entrepreneurs who have obtained a minimum of SR.15 Million investment.   The ‘Real Estate Premium Residency’ shall be tied to the ownership of the property.  The duration for ‘Special Talent Residency’ as well as ‘Gifted Residency’ will be five years which could be renewed subject to the individuals continuing to meet the eligibility criteria and staying in the Kingdom for a period not less than 30 months during the five years period.

Besides eligibility requirements, all of the ‘Premium Residency’ applicants need to fulfill the following requirements.

  • A valid passport.
  • Proof of financial solvency.
  • Police report stating that the applicant is clear from criminal record.
  • Medical report proving absence of communicable diseases.

An earlier amendment to the Law on 27/05/1441 H. extended the benefits and privileges of the Premium Residency to the family members of the holder until its validity in case of death or loss of competency of the holder. However, if the membership is cancelled for any other reason, the benefits and privileges shall not be transferred to the family.

More details on privileges, requirements, criteria and conditions could be read at:

To stay aware of these updates, we encourage you to follow us on social media to be informed of when they are posted. If you wish to discuss any of these changes or any impact the New Law may have on you and your business, please reach out to us for assistance.

AlGhazzawi & Partners



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