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New Expat fees in Saudi Arabia

Tarek Jairwdeh

Author: Tarek Jairwdeh
Senior Lawyer.

Guiding Principle
Saudi Arabia decided to introduce an “expat levy” from July 1, 2017, with charges of up to SR800 per worker by 2020.

In line with the Cabinet decision approving the program of fiscal offset 2020 the General Directorate of Passports, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and the National Information Center, gradually started implementing, the enforcement of fees on all dependents and companions of expatriates working in the private sector. , The fees shall be paid annually and as of July 1, 2017, can be settled through SADAD payment banking system, by all means of banking.

From next year, the levy on expat workers again will be gradually revised upwards, providing an additional impetus for employers to hire more Saudis.

Even for companies where the number of expatriates does not exceed the number of Saudi or GCC employees, the fee will no longer be waived, but will be charged at a discounted rate.

The General Directorate of Passports confirmed that in case of collecting of financial fees and implementing the services required for expatriates who are subject to the above-mentioned decision, the following points should be observed:

  1. Targeted categories:
  2. The dependents and companions of expatriates working in the private sector.

    • Dependents are: wife, male sons under 18, and daughters
    • Companions are: male sons above 18 years old, wife and/or wives (from two to four), father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, home workers and any expatriate whose name is registered in the system as sponsored by the expatriate worker, according to the Cabinet’s decision.
  3. Those previously exempted from fees in the Iqama (residence permit) system, are to be exempted from the currently-imposed fees.
  4. Payments should take place in advance through SADAD bank system and are nonrefundable. The Cabinet’s decision includes any dependent or companion of a worker in the private sector, applicable on all nationalities. The decision is applicable on newly born children but with fees also to be levied retroactive from the date of registering a earlier born child who will not be exempted from fees for the period during which his/her name was not yet registered. However, this is effective from the date of imposing the decision on July 1, 2017. The fees will be levied annually in advance against any dependent or companion of an expatriate worker in the private sector at issuing or renewing an Iqama identity or when issuing an exit and re-entry visa or when issuing a final exit visa as per the following regulation:
  • In 2017: Dependents of expats will each incur a monthly fee of SR100, from July onwards;
  • In 2018: Dependents of expats will each incur a monthly fee of SR200, from July onwards. For companies where the number of foreign employees is equal to or lower than the number of Saudis, a monthly fee of SR300 will apply from January 2018 onwards. For companies where the number of foreign employees exceeds the number of Saudis, a monthly fee of SR400 will apply also from January 2018 onwards.
  • In 2019: Dependents of expats will each incur a monthly fee of SR300, from July onwards. For companies where the number of foreign employees is equal to or lower than the number of Saudis, a monthly fee of SR500 will apply from January onwards. For companies where the number of foreign employees exceeds the number of Saudis, a monthly fee of SR600 will apply from January onwards.
  • In 2020: Dependents of expats will each incur a monthly fee of SR400, from July onwards. For companies where the number of foreign employees is equal to or lower than the number of Saudis, a monthly fee of SR700 will apply from January 2018 onwards. For companies where the number of foreign employees exceeds the number of Saudis, a monthly fee of SR800 will apply from January onwards.
  • The General Directorate of Passports explained the steps to receive fees on passport services provided for residents affected by the decision, as follows:

    I. Issuing or renewing of resident identity
    Starting from July 1, 2017 the issuance or renewal of a resident ID for an expatriate working in the private sector, affected by the decision, for a dependent and/or companion, requires the following:

    • Payment of fees as prescribed by the regulation through SADAD payment system for government payment system provided by all means of banking;
    • Payment of fees for each companion or dependent of an expatriate worker at SR 100, per month, starting from the first of July 2017, SR 200, per month, on the first day of July 2018, in accordance with the validity of Resident ID, taking into consideration the overlap of it with dates occurred in the Cabinet decision on collecting fees.

    II. Issuance of exit and re-entry visa
    When applying for the issuance of an exit and re-entry visa for an expatriate worker included in the decision or a dependent and/or companion, after the date of application of the decision (the following is required:

    • Payment of the prescribed visa fees for the service (according to the required visa period) through SADAD payment systems for government payments provided through all banking means;
    • Payment of fees for each dependent and/or companion of an expatriate worker at (SR 100) per month, starting from the first day of July 2017.SR 200 per month, starting from the first day of July 2018, in accordance with the validity period of the resident ID. Always taking into consideration the overlap of the dates stated in the decision of the Cabinet upon receipt of the fees.

    III. Issuing a final exit visa
    The issuance of a final exit visa service for an expatriate worker affected by the decision, a dependent and/or a companion of him/her, after the date of application of the decision, requires payment of the fees owed to the expatriate worker. This as of the first day of the month of July 2017 until the date of application for implementation of issuance of the final exit visa, taking into account the overlap of the validity period with the dates stated in the decision of the Cabinet upon receipt of the fees.

    In case the validity of the final exit visa exceeds the validity period of the Resident ID, the validity of the visa shall be added to the periods due for payment of the fees.

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