Citizenship

Is it possible to become a national of Saudi Arabia?

As a foreigner, you won’t be granted rights of citizenship in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s government is keen to protect the status quo and doesn’t want to compromise its cultural values or standard of living by allowing foreigners to become a permanent part of society. Your only route to becoming a naturalised citizen is by marriage to a national; even this, however, doesn’t guarantee citizenship, particularly for non-Muslims.

In exceptional circumstances only, the King might grant citizenship to a foreigner who has provided outstanding service to the state over a number of years. A generous employer might reward a loyal worker who has made a major contribution to the company over many years by providing him with a work and residence permit of indefinite duration. After your retirement, however, the employer would have to be a figure of considerable influence to maintain this gift and satisfy the labour authorities. In this case, you wouldn’t be a citizen, but merely be allowed to remain in the country indefinitely.

Children of foreigners born in Saudi Arabia don’t have rights of local citizenship and automatically assume the nationality of the parents. If one of the parents is a national of Saudi Arabia, the child will usually be granted local nationality and may later become a national of Saudi Arabia and obtain a local passport.

It’s recommended that you fully acquaint yourself with the implications of giving birth in Saudi Arabia. In many cases, the child isn’t affected, but any children that he has might not enjoy the same rights of nationality, citizenship, abode, etc. as his parents and grandparents.

This article is an extract from Living and Working in Gulf States & Saudi Arabia. Click here to get a copy now.

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Other comments

  • Stranger, 20 January 2010 Reply

    Disgusted

    As a muslim i am appalled by the saudi authorities attitude on this and i would love to live in saudi arabia and it would help me with my faith but these shameless people are too tribal.

    • AB 04 May 2012, 03:22

      Well.....

      Now everyone has their views. However, its funny how everyone seems to criticise Saudi when there are many ISLAMIC countries this way. Another thing is theres nothing wrong with not being able to gain a nationality, The Saudis are not doing anything wrong by simply making their nationality valuable. You all just sound bitter. However, for the people whos fathers are nationals but they aren't, they have a right to complain. The arabs that have always been there who dont have a nationality also have the right to complain, but for the rest of you i really dont see where your coming from

    • A 28 Oct 2012, 11:19

      Absurd

      I was a foreigner born and raised in Saudi Arabia for most of my life ( I moved back and forth a bit) and would LOVE to become a citizenship and go and visit. It's absurd that some one who lived there 10 YEARS up until they were 16 cannot receive their citizenship because there parents aren't from there. Although I am not Muslim I do consider Saudi Arabia my home.

    • ZY 31 Mar 2013, 07:00

      SAD

      I appeal to "The Government Of Saudi Arab" to give citizenship to us.

  • Mihmed, 28 October 2011 Reply

    Unbelievable

    I was born in KSA but they still won't give me the citizenship. This is why I will serve Canada any day over KSA. Canada has more Islam than KSA.

    Check your hearts. You are cruel people.

    • Habib-Uz-Zaman-Khan 20 Dec 2011, 10:35

      dont be dissoppointed

      friend this is not the end ... ur focus should only be to prosper muslim and islam. no matter where it is .! just help and prosper the islam .. ur my brother iam from Pakistan . we are the children of islam ............ ALLAH HU AKBER

    • unkownk 24 Dec 2011, 11:47

      nothing

      will i was trying the same to shift canada

    • Mubashir Javed 17 Jan 2012, 04:57

      Rights

      Arabs wants to keep their rite and these are their rights against non Arabs.If you spent alot of time over there it doesn't mean that you became an Arab.

  • Tamer, 06 February 2012 Reply

    Horrible

    I was in born stupid Saudi Arabia and can't have the citizenship. This is why you are so far behind civilized countries like Canada and the U.S. You know nothing of Islam and I wish the worst for you cowards.

    • BRenda 27 Feb 2012, 03:03

      Well

      this is a rule of saudi

    • Jose 13 May 2012, 02:23

      ME

      Each country has the right to set the rules they deem valid to one become a citizen of such country... By the way...this is not only the case in Saudi Arabia but also in all the countries of the GCC and many others in the world...s

  • Al Amoudi, 04 May 2012 Reply

    get over it

    Where in Islam does it say that you must obtain the Saudi nationality or you have the right to ???? You guys are making out as though you're not allowed to live, work and worship there !
    I'm a Saudi national and I'm glad that no tom Dick or harry can become a national. If anyone should be entitled, it should be the Yemeni ppl !
    I rest my case happy

    • Mohamad Al-zawahreh 14 Jun 2012, 06:19

      Yemini?

      Watch out, the sufyani comes from them!!!

      If anything, I would say that All muslimeen should have the right to live in Saudi Arabia because it will help grow the Economy and also all True muslimeen would agree on the laws, so there is no valid reason since Islam goes past any nationality and Mecca is the capital of Islam and all muslimeen want to live there, how will I hide from the Dajjal in Mecca when I am not allowed too live there and after he comes it'll be hard to go to medina or mecca by airplane since I live in Canada because he will probably take them all over.

      Because of this, If I were to think ahead and see safety in Mecca I wouldn't be allowed there due to a flawed law for the preservation of nationality.

    • A 28 Oct 2012, 11:24

      oh really

      The reason why people who are born and raised in Saudi Arabia want citizenship is because it would be nice to be able to go home without either a. marrying a Saudi or b. having a work permit. Don't you understand that I can NEVER go home? I rest my case.