Landing a job in Saudi Arabia is one thing – but thinking about moving to the Kingdom and what to expect once you arrive is a whole other beast. When I first got a job offer to work as a nurse in Saudi Arabia I was ecstatic. Then came the, “Oh shit” moment where I panicked and wondered if the hard part of this journey would be when I landed in the Kingdom and didn’t know what to expect.
While things in Saudi Arabia can be confusing and don’t always go according to plan, below you’ll find a general idea of what to expect once you move to the Kingdom. As always, these steps can vary based on where you’re working.
If you’re planning on living in Saudi Arabia, don’t miss:
What to Expect Once You Move to Saudi Arabia to Work As a Nurse – Step by Step
Once you accept your new job and get all of your ducks in a row (you can read about that here), your company should be purchasing a flight for you to fly to Saudi Arabia. Once you get on your flight and land in Saudi, here are the general steps of what will happen next…
1. SOMEONE WILL GREET YOU AT THE AIRPORT
Ideally, you’ll be paired with a “buddy” who you will have the opportunity to contact before even leaving for Saudi. This buddy should be waiting for you at the airport when you arrive and you’ll get on a bus/in a car together to be dropped off where you live. Remember, you’re moving to a very conservative country so before touching down in Saudi Arabia make sure that your shoulders and knees are covered (an abaya and a hijab are optional and not required).
2. YOU’LL PURCHASE A SIM CARD AT THE AIRPORT
It’s necessary that you purchase a SIM card before leaving the airport. Your buddy can show you how to do this. I also recommend downloading the “mystc” app to easily load more data onto your phone each month. (Read this post for a list of other apps I recommend downloading).
3. YOU WILL GET YOUR PHOTO TAKEN AT THE AIRPORT
When you purchase your SIM card, you will also get your photo taken. This will be the photo used on your IQAMA (Saudi license).
4. DOWNLOAD TAWAKKALNA TO PUT YOUR SAUDI PHONE NUMBER IN
The Tawakkalna app is used to track COVID throughout the Kingdom and keep your vaccination status in one place. You can’t put your information in without first having a Saudi phone number. Once you get your phone number then you can finish putting your information in this app. This app is necessary because some places you go will ask for proof of vaccination and this is what you’ll show them.
5. GET YOUR FINGERPRINTS TAKEN
To register everything in the Kingdom, you’ll need to have your fingerprints taken (before you attempt to register through Absher). For me, this was done at work. Your employer should let you know what you need to do specifically.
5. AFTER YOU RECEIVE YOUR IQAMA, REGISTER THROUGH ABSHER
Your IQAMA is your official Saudi identification for living and working in the Kingdom. Once it arrives (it can take up to three months), the real fun begins because this means you can start traveling out of the country! But first, you’ll want to head to an Absher station to register (this can be found through the Absher app or know there are stations at the airport).
Absher is used for a multitude of things (like reporting crimes, applying for jobs, etc), but for exapts it’s where all of your documents will live. This app keeps track of your passport, Iqama (or official documentation in the Kingdom), and more.
6. APPLY FOR A MULTIPLE EXIT/RE-ENTRY VISA
This step will not apply to everyone as not everyones employers allow for a multiple exit/re-entry visa. I suggest asking ahead that way if yours does allow it you’e one step ahead. If not, learn how to apply for a single exit/re-entry visa so that you’re able to travel out of the country.
7. OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT
Once all of the above steps are completed, you are now ready to open a bank account! Unfortunately, this step isn’t always as straightforward as it should be. If you’re ready to open a bank account in Saudi Arabia, make sure to read this post for everything you need to know.
8. COMPLETE YOUR MUMARIS+ REGISTRATION
Once you’re settled into Saudi Arabia you need to make sure that you’re licensed as a nurse in the Kingdom. The way this is done is through your Mumaris+ account. You need to first have your IQAMA before registering and you also need to have a Saudi bank account in order to pay the registration fee. Once you have these two things this is really the last step you’ll take before you’re officially a nurse living and working in the Kingdom.
While it might seem overwhelming, just try to take these days and steps one at a time. You’ll get there, slowly but surely. And if I could give you one piece of advice throughout this entire process, it would be to approach each step with patience.
For a more personal look into what it’s like living and working in Saudi Arabia, don’t miss: