Aerial shot of Riyadh.

LA family in Riyadh – relocation process explained

So, you’re moving to Saudi Arabia. Congratulations on your decision. Moving long distance is never easy. And as it usually is with international relocations, you must have a lot of questions about how the LA family in Riyadh can function. Luckily for you, we’re here to answer them. We’ll explain the whole relocation process you’ll have to go through before you find yourself in Saudi Arabia’s capital.

As you can expect, Riyadh is the wealthiest city in the Arab world, so it’s not a bad place to find yourself at all. However, moving here is a little bit more difficult task to organize as opposed to moving coast to coast. You’ll have to learn a little bit about visa requirements for your stay and about housing options here. So, without further due, let’s dive in.

What you can expect in Riyadh

  • Saudi Arabia is a diverse country. Almost a third of its residents are expats and the situation in the capital isn’t much different. 
  • Riyadh is considered to be a conservative city. Especially compared to a city like Jeddah is. You’ve got to make sure to respect their standards and beliefs when it comes to both clothing and socializing.
  • Saudia Arabia’s capital isn’t an immensely expensive place to live. However, accommodation and education for your children are two things that can get very pricey. 

It’s only natural if you feel a little bit anxious when moving to Riyadh as an expat. Saudi Arabia doesn’t have an industry for leisure tourism, so all the chances are that you haven’t been here ever before. But, you don’t have anything to worry about if you gather all the necessary information on time. You’ll get used to everything fairly quickly.

A skyscraper in Riyadh.
Riyadh is highly developed and wealthy place, so you don’t have to worry about missing on something.

What kind of visa you will need

Before you can enter the country legally, you need to get a visa. Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months after you receive a visa. Then, visit an embassy or consulate of Saudi Arabia that is nearest to you and apply for a residence visa. With it, you can live here indefinitely.

Additionally, you’ll need a residence permit to be able to work in this country. But, the trick here is that you have to find a job before you can get the visa. Your future boss should submit information for this permit and after that, you can continue your process. 

This is a great reason to visit the country before moving here with your family. You can explore your new work offices, and even find some interesting places to live in. Although tenant rights here aren’t that different from tenant rights in LA, you still should acquaint yourself with local procedures and rules.

Show respect for people and local customs

As our friends from Four Winds Saudi Arabia helped us understand, one of the most important aspects of moving to Saudi Arabia with your family is to respect local people and customs.

This is a very religious country and Riyadh is considered to be the center of Islam. That’s why there are some strange and odd laws here that you’ll have to obey. For instance, you’re not allowed to practice any religion other than Islam publicly.

Also, during Ramadan, expats aren’t allowed to eat, drink, smoke, or even chew gum in public places. All of these are practices that you need to do in order to avoid offending anybody and getting used to them can be a little bit tricky for a LA family in Riyadh.

Kids in Saudi Arabia saying hello to LA family in Riyadh.
As a LA family in Riyadh, it’s crucial for you to show respect for the locals and their religion.

Help your kids understand everything

Moving to a whole new country that is so different from the place we’re used to is difficult for everyone. And it can be especially hard on children. It’s very important to explain to them exactly what’s happening as this is the best way to prepare them for the next big relocation.

For them, leaving friends and classmates behind will probably be the biggest problem. Let them know that they’ll still be able to stay in touch online or via old-fashioned letters and postcards. Help them throw a goodbye party as this will mean the world to them at this point.

Find a reliable moving company

Organizing everything you need to for moving to Saudi Arabia is a big job. So, you’ll need some help to save both time and money. The best way to do this is to hire a good and reputable international moving company. Make a plan and define everything before you start searching for one.

Also, if you’re not happy with the accommodations you find when you first arrive, it’s okay to change your location and move to another residence. However, be sure to look for local crew’s guidance and help. Relocation in a foreign country can turn into a nightmare if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Prepare for the climate

Although LA isn’t a cold place, the climate in Saudi Arabia still is a whole other level as opposed to it. During the summer months, temperatures can get as high as 120°F. Spring and fall are a little bit more moderate but know that there’s hardly any rainfall in the country. 

Because of the laws, you won’t be able to wear anything that is too revealing so you’ll probably spend most of your summer days inside a house where AC is turned all the way up. However, after some time the human body adapts. So, you won’t have any problems with heat.

Desert in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is mostly desert, so make sure you’re prepared for high temperatures.

Explore Saudi Arabia in your free time

One thing we recommend every LA family in Riyadh to do is exploring. You’ll be able to see many different things that you aren’t used to. Deserts, although brutal places are equally amazing and beautiful sights to explore. There are also many ancient places and museums that you can visit. No matter how much free time you have, you’ll be able to fill it with doing something interesting here. That is for sure.

Family relocation explained

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