All You Need To Know About Expat Life in Dammam

Dammam is the fifth-largest and fastest-growing city in Saudi Arabia. It is the administrative center for the oil industry of KSA and is home to the Persian Gulf’s largest port. While the initial culture shock of strict adherence to Islam and Sharia is something you can easily get used to, it will take a while to navigate living in Dammam. That is why our team at Four Winds Saudi Arabia will show you all you need to know about expat life in Dammam so that you, too, can adjust to living in this majestic city.

All you need to know about job opportunities in Dammam

As we said, the petrol industry is highly developed in Dammam, so it does not surprise that the job market relies heavily on the petrochemical industry. However, you can still find a job if you are not in this industry. That is if you haven’t found one and contacted movers and packers Dammam to move there.  The average salary is around 132 179 SAR in Dammam, but that varies greatly from occupation to occupation. For example, highly skilled or educated workers, like medical and engineering professionals, are greatly sought after. In 2022, there are more than 10 000 job postings for Dammam metropolitan area. However, because of Saudization (employers are required by law to prioritize hiring Saudi Arabian before foreigners), finding a job and life as an expat in Dammam has become a bit more difficult.

Angle view of a man in a uniform in front of a futuristic-looking machine
Engineers in the petroleum industry are not only sought after but are high paying as well

Of course, since you will have to obtain a working visa to work and live in Dammam, applying online for jobs is the only way to find one. Of course, employers usually look for specific skills that can set you apart. Make sure you highlight that in your resume and cover letter. This is because you will need a job offer to get a work visa. Secondly, your employers have to in a way explain why they hired an expat for the job instead of someone from Saudi Arabia. All you need to know about expat life in Dammam rests on you finding a job first. We recommend that you make a CV built around your specific skillset and in the language required by the job, which could be English and Arabic.

Getting a visa as an expat in Dammam

After you’ve found your dream job in Dammam, the next stage is applying for a visa. At this stage, you still don’t need to search for relocation services Saudi Arabia, because a job offer doesn’t necessarily mean you will get a visa. There are three different visas or work permits you can apply for. Two are for a short period of time, from 30-90 days. The third way is the Iqama residency permit for expats that work and live in Saudi Arabia. You must know that life as an expat in Dammam is impossible if you don’t get the necessary Iqama. The procedure for the former two is less complicated. However, you can’t overstay your welcome or risk harsh fines and sentences.

If you plan on living and working as an expat in Dammam, you will have to get an Iqama

Iqama, the residency permit may be more complicated to obtain, and the rules are more strict. Once you secure a job, you will have to apply for it through your employer. They will then contact the Ministry of Labor and Social Security to submit a formal request. If their sponsorship for Iqama is approved, your employer will receive a Visa number and Power of attorney at the Ministry. Your employer has to submit that formal application within 90 days of your arrival in Saudi Arabia. If you fail to obtain an Iqama but still continue to live and work in Saudi Arabia, you will risk hefty fines, imprisonment, and even deportation.

A woman reading all you need to know about expat life in Dammam
Make sure you read about the visa and Iqama requirements and this article on all you need to know about expat life in Dammam.

Firstly, if you don’t carry your Iqama with you at all times, you may end up paying a fine. That is one of the most important things to know about expat life in Dammam. And that’s not all, you risk going to jail also. Once you obtain your Iqama, you will see all the necessary information, like your name, date of birth, job position and employer, issuance date, and validity date.

Some details you need to know about life in Dammam as an expat

The cost of living for one person in Dammamis around 2 606 SAR as of November 2022. Of course, those costs are without rent which in Dammam is anywhere between 1 000 and 8 000 SAR. What you need to know about expat life in Dammam is that you can’t buy property. You will have to rent out your home. Living in compounds built by large companies is an essential part of expat life in Dammam. If your employer doesn’t provide you with accommodation, then searching online for an apartment is the best and only option. There are all sorts of furnished and unfurnished apartments you can find. If you opt for an unfurnished home, shipping companies in Dammam specialize in international furniture shipping. That is a great way to bring something from home to help you combat the initial culture shock.

Dammam in Saudi Arabia in the 50s
Dammam has amazing architecture, which becomes even more impressive when you realize that in the 1950s, it had a little over 20 000 residents

Lastly, the culture is Saudi Arabia is definitely something you must experience. Learning Arabic is not necessary for your life in Dammam as an expat, but it is highly recommended. Family values, Islam and Sharia Law, are something that Saudi Arabia is generally known for. However, people are always taken aback by the marvelous architecture and overall politeness of Saudi Arabians. All you need to know about expat life in Dammam will help you adjust more easily and make this an adventure to remember. Of course, it is up to you to decide whether or not this adventure is for you. One thing is for sure, moving abroad is a chance many people regret not taking.

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