FAQs

Investing in Saudi Arabia

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    Why should investors choose Saudi Arabia?

    For many excellent reasons detailed in this website, including Saudia Arabia: strategic location; abundant natural resources, raw materials and energy; large market and easy access to the wider Middle East-North Africa (MENA) market; trained, committed workforce; advanced infrastructure; attractive incentives; and first-rate pre-investment support and aftercare.
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    What do foreign investors think of Saudi Arabia?

    A lot - Saudi Arabia is MENA's top destination for foreign direct investment, and is eighth in the world.
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    How easy is it to do business in Saudi Arabia?

    Very easy - according to the World Bank, Saudi Arabia is the best country in MENA, and the advanced rank among 181 countries worldwide, for overall ease of doing business.
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    Is investing in Saudi Arabia safe?

    Compared with elsewhere, very safe - Saudi Arabia has a stable political system, healthy public finances and the world's third most stable macroeconomic environment.

The Industrial Clusters program

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    What are its aims?

    Industrial Clusters is catalyzing the development of four industrial sectors (automotive, minerals and metal processing, solar energy, and plastics & packaging), aiming to diversify the economy and create and sustain high-quality jobs.
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    Why invest in Saudi Arabia Industrial Clusters?

    Because of their huge potential. Importantly they all use - and will make the most of - Saudi Arabia plentiful natural resources, raw materials and energy.

Visiting Saudi Arabia

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    What is the dialing code for Saudi Arabia?

    The international dialing code is +966. Area codes include 011 for Riyadh, 012 for Jeddah and 013 for Dammam.
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    Is Saudi Arabia easy to reach?

    Saudi Arabia has some of the best-connected airports in MENA. A total of 44.3 million passengers used Saudi airports in 2009, up from 29.8 million in 2001.
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    What are Saudi Arabia largest cities?

    The capital, Riyadh, is home to 5.3 million of KSA's 27.3 million people. Riyadh is followed by Jeddah (3.5 million people), Mecca (1.7 million), Medina (1.2 million), Dammam (903,000), Ta'if, Buraydah, Tabuk, Abha, Khamis Mushait and Khobar.
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    How can I obtain a visa for Saudi Arabia?

    You should obtain an entry visa through KSA's foreign diplomatic missions or appropriate entry point (go to 'consular services' at www.mofa.gov.sa and submit the electronic application form).
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    What is the Saudi currency?

    It's the Saudi Riyal (SAR), which is pegged to the US dollar and worth around $0.27 ($1 = SR3.75). The Riyal is subdivided into 100 Halalas.
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    What time is it in Saudi Arabia?

    KSA is GMT + 3 hours.
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    What languages are spoken?

    The official language is Arabic. English is often used in business and in some universities and colleges.
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    What are typical working hours?

    For the public sector, 7.30 am - 2.30 pm; for most of the private sector, 8.30am-12pm and 4.30pm - 7.30pm; and for banks, 8.30am - 4.30pm. The working week runs from Sunday to Thursday (and Saturday morning for some private sector companies). The weekend comprises Friday & Saturday.
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    Can I use credit cards in Saudi Arabia?

    Credit cards are accepted in most major hotels, restaurants and stores.
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    Can I use my ATM card?

    Yes, cash machines accept cards from all over the world, using systems such as Cirrus and Plus.
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    Where can I find out more?

    You could start by visiting:
    Saudi Arabia e-gate: www.saudi.gov.sa
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs: www.mofa.gov.sa
    Central Department of Statistics & Information: www.cdsi.gov.sa
    Saudi Tourism: www.sauditourism.com.sa/en/

Living in Saudi Arabia

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    Who are the expatriates in Sausi Arabia?

    Saudi Arabia community of 9.3 million expatriates includes people from Australia, Canada, Egypt, Germany, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, the UK and the US.
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    What does 'tax-free income' mean?

    No income tax is deducted in Saudi Arabia and there is no sales tax.
     
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    What can I buy in stores?

    Most items in North America and Europe are also available in KSA, apart from prohibited products such as alcohol, pork and pornography.
    Retail outlets include pharmacies (many pharmaceuticals can be obtained over the counter), designer boutiques, tailors' shops and electronics stores.
    Expatriates often enjoy jewellery shopping in the gold souqs and many leave KSA with a sizeable gold collection.
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    What about food?

    In Saudi Arabia expatriates can go on a culinary world tour. In addition to Middle Eastern cuisine (with dishes such as tabouleh, hummus, pitta and baba ghanoush), there is Italian, French, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Filipino, Mexican, Turkish and Indian. American chains include McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Dunkin' Donuts and Dairy Queen. In KSA alcohol and pork products are not permitted.
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    What English-language newspapers are available?

    There are three daily English-language papers: Arab News, Saudi Gazette and Riyadh Daily.
  •  
    What does the Saudi flag symbolize?

    The two crossed swords symbolize strength and justice, and the palm tree above, prosperity.

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