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Saudi Arabia 'welcomes all' with $213k 'premium residency' for well-heeled foreigners Open in fullscreen

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Saudi Arabia 'welcomes all' with $213k 'premium residency' for well-heeled foreigners

Premium Residents will be allowed to obtain business licences and own property [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 November, 2019

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Saudi Arabia is offering 'Premium Residency' for foreigners to live in the kingdom, at a starting price of $26,000 per year....
Saudi authorities on Monday announced that 73 foreign nationals were granted "premium residency" in the kingdom, making the group the first to have met the criteria.

In a statement issued on Monday, Saudi Arabia's Premium Residency Center (SAPRC) said the group of 73 consists of nationals of 19 countries, some of whom already reside in the kingdom.

"The Kingdom welcomes everyone. Applying for a Premium Residency is available to anyone who meets the relevant conditions, whether they are residing in the Kingdom or those wishing to come and settle here," Premium Residency Center CEO, Bandar al-Ayed, said.

"Our country today is one of the most important destinations, whether for working or investing, or even for residing, in light of many advantages including the strategic location of the Kingdom, rich history and diversity, advanced infrastructure and most importantly, its security and stability."

Despite al-Ayed's welcoming message, he added that applicants for the scheme will need to be able to pay a one-time fee of SAR800,000 ($213,313) or an annual renewable Premium Residency costing SAR100,000 ($26,665).

The move comes as part of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's drive to open the kingdom up to the world by relaxing the country's conservative laws and attracting tourism and investment.

It follows Saudi Arabia's granting of tourist visas for the first time in September, allowing citizens from 49 countries to apply for online e-visas or visas on arrival.

Among those able to visit Saudi Arabia on a tourist visa are citizens of the United States, Australia, several European nations, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, China and Kazakhstan.

Read also: Visiting Saudi Arabia? 19 things that are illegal for tourists

To encourage arrivals, authorities also said in October that they would allow unmarried foreign couples to rent hotel rooms together.

Benefits

Premium Residents will be able to work in the kingdom and move without restriction between companies.

They will not, however, have access to roles reserved for Saudi citizens.

The scheme is being touted as a way of easing business licences, property and vehicle ownership for foreigners.

Those under the scheme will also be able to self-issue entry and exit visas, as well as apply for visas for visiting relatives.

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