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Saudi Arabia: Procedure to renew a residence permit; whether a person must apply in person; rules specifically for Yemenis

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 25 March 2004
Citation / Document Symbol SAU42563.E
Reference 7
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Saudi Arabia: Procedure to renew a residence permit; whether a person must apply in person; rules specifically for Yemenis, 25 March 2004, SAU42563.E, available at: [accessed 18 February 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

According to the law firm of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen and Loewy PC, foreign nationals seeking to take up residence in Saudi Arabia are required to be sponsored by a Saudi employer (FDBL 19 June 2003). The exceptions to this rule are nationals from the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) (ibid.), which includes the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia (GCC-SG n.d.).

For non-GCC nationals, an application for residency is part of the employment permit application process and is granted by the Ministry of the Interior only after the Ministry of Labour approves an employment permit (FDBL 19 June 2003). Renewal of one's residency permit is carried out in conjunction with the extension of their work permit (Saudi Arabia n.d.). To renew a residency permit, the Saudi Directorate General for Passports requires an applicant to provide a completed and signed application form, signed and stamped by his or her employer, a valid passport, the expired residency permit, a valid work permit and a payment of SR 500 (CN$177.18 [ 19 March 2004]) (Saudi Arabia n.d.). A copy of the residency permit renewal application form is available from the Saudi Directorate General for Passports in Arabic at .

The Research Directorate did not find any references to special provisions for Yemeni nationals in applications for or renewals of residency permits among the sources consulted. Yemen is not a member of the GCC and therefore not eligible for the sponsorship exception (GCC-SG n.d.).

In November 2003, Saudi Arabia introduced new residency permits that are enhanced with a photo and a thumbprint, include all personal and employment information (Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington 14 Nov. 2003). In January 2004, Saudi Arabia was scheduled to begin issuing these permits to foreign workers who were renewing their residency permits (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen and Loewy PC (FDBL). 19 June 2003. "Country Brief: Saudi Arabia." [Accessed 19 Mar. 2004]

Gulf Cooperation Council-Secretariat General (GCC-SG). n.d. "Introduction." [Accessed 19 Mar. 2004]

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington. 14 November 2003. "Fingerprinting of Pilgrims to Begin in Shawwal." [Accessed 19 Mar. 2004]

Saudi Arabia. n.d. Directorate General of Passports. "Non-Saudi Procedures." [Accessed 19 Mar. 2004] 19 March 2004. "Universal Currency Converter Results." [Accessed 19 Mar. 2004]

Additional Sources Consulted

The Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Ottawa was unable to respond to inquiries within time constraints.

Internet sites, including: Bank of Canada, Dialog, Embassy of Saudi Arabia, London,, Gulf Wire Digest, Shaml Newsletter, UNDP

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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