Expat problems when living in KSA

There are several expat problems when living in KSA that are common. Usually, they have something to do with getting used to the ways and traditions. Arabic countries and people take their religion, traditions, and beliefs very seriously and they completely dictate the way they live, dress, behave. Basically, they build their lives around them. The Arabic language is unique and its letters are nothing like the alphabet we all know. When it comes to food, they use certain spices that the rest of the world might not be familiar with. They do not eat pork and are not big consumers of any other meat. So, if you decide to come and live in KSA, make sure that you hire one of the best relocation companies in Jeddah. This way, you will eliminate potential language, and tradition barriers and you can dedicate yourself to adjusting to your new, beautiful surroundings. 

A new language is one of the most common expat problems when living in KSA

As already mentioned, The Arabic language and its letters are very unique. The Arabic language is like no other and, at first, it can sound rough and impossible to understand. But, nothing is impossible. So, just be committed and determined to learn it. This will, of course, be much easier if you spend time with the locals. This way absorb the language from them. If, however, you are still in the process of making new acquaintances, you can always enroll in a language school or learn it online. Knowing the language, of the country you live in, will significantly make your life easier. You will be able to communicate with people wherever you go and this way eliminate any possible misunderstandings. And, considering the fact that KSA is traditionally very different, misunderstandings are something you definitely want to avoid. You do not want to accidentally insult anyone and be impolite. 

Pages in Arabic with a rosary
Speaking, reading, and writing the language of the country you live in will make your life there much easier.

The very important and interesting Salah

Another one, of the most common expat problems when living in KSA, is getting used to the fact that they pray 5 times a day. Most of the people in KSA are Muslims and their tradition is to pray 5 times a day. Performing these prayers is a tradition known as Salah. No matter where they are when the praying time comes, they are leaving whatever they are doing and they are dedicating themselves to their prayer. These 5 prayers are called Fajr is at dawn, Dhuhr is after midday, Asr is in the afternoon, Maghrib at sunset, Isha at nighttime. Muslims are performing their prayers facing Mecca. So, once you hear the Imam singing in the mosque, and people around you getting on their knees and starting to pray, don’t panic and be disrespectful, simply continue with what you have been doing.

A Muslim man praying
Muslims are very religious and they never miss their 5 Salah times.

Food and Fashion in KSA is beautiful but needs some getting used to

So, once you have safely been relocated by the company that offers logistics services international and you are all settled in, it is time to explore your new home. What better way to do that, than through food and fashion. Arabic food and fashion are very different, comparing to other countries in the world. Getting used to completely new food is one of the most common expat problems when living in KSA. In Muslim culture, as per Quran their holy book, you can’t eat pork. But, even though they can eat other meats, most Arabic dishes are vegetarian. As for fashion, most people, wear traditional Arabic clothes. Women wear hijab and men wear thobe. Nevertheless, you will be able to see people dressed in western style as well. And, you are in no obligation to dress traditionally, but you can’t walk the streets half-naked.

Man and woman wearing hijab who can help you understand and avoid expat problems when living in KSA
A man in KSA usually wears a thobe and women wear some version of a hijab, depending on their preferences and choices.

Documents that expats must have in KSA

If you are an expat in KSA, Jeddah, that means that you are on, residence visa,  Iqama. To get Iqama, you have applied for it and submitted the requested documents by the embassy of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Once your visa has been approved and was added to your passport, you were good to go. Now that you are in KSA, you must carry your passport with you at all times. Since you are not a citizen and do not have a KSA ID, your passport is the only document proving that you are here legally.

If, however, you are an expat, who is here not only to live and explore but also to work, the situation of the documents changes. In this case, you must send a request for your employment visa to the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Labor. Once you get this visa, then you have to request your Iqama. You request Iqama from the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Labor. You are in a legal obligation to carry Iqama everywhere with you, to prove that you have a legal right to live and work in KSA. So, the list of documents that you need with you at all times is:

  • Passport
  • Residence Visa AKA Iqama, that if you don’t have with you, at all times, can be one of expat problems when living in KSA
  • Employment Visa if you are working in KSA

Sum up of the things that can represent expat problems when living in KSA

So, to sum up, all the things that can represent, this way or another, expat problems when living in KSA. As you can see, there are many pros and cons to it. You are obliged, by law, to always have your passport, Iqama, and employment Visa with you. This is the only way to prove that you are in KSA legally. Learn Arabic as soon as possible. This will make your life a lot easier here. When it comes to food and fashion, be open-minded. Try new spices and wear something different. You might like it. And last but not the least, respect their Salah times. They are sacred to them. Good luck.

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