The immigration process in Saudi Arabia can be complex for companies hiring expats. There are different considerations to keep in mind when deciding on the method most suitable, such as the company’s Saudization rating, the company’s industry and employee forecasting. However, for most companies, the block visa is a suitable option for those wanting to hire multiple expats.
Companies planning to hire expats on a long-term basis require authorisation from the Ministry of Labour and Social Development (MLSD). The MLSD issues companies block visas which allows them a quota of foreign expats they can hire. In this article we break down the process of block visas, the processing timeline and the validity.
The process for applying for a block visa is as follows:
The processing time for a block visa and visa authorisation vary, but generally take several weeks to obtain.
Companies need to factor in additional time to gather all the required documents from the concerned parties to be able to complete the application process.
The medical check-up certificate should be available within three days, depending on the physician.
The medical insurance should be available within five days, depending on the insurance company.
The work permit and Iqama generally take three to ten working days to process and the exit/re-entry permit is usually obtainable within two working days.
The work entry visa is valid for 90 days. The work permit and the Iqama is valid for one year
The block visa is valid for the one year before the company will have to apply for a new one.