Monday, June 11, 2007

Changing your visa profession

As mentioned in my earlier post i.e., Types of Visas , every work visa is associated with a profession. For example, a sponsor would like to hire an engineer but probably does not have enough engineer visas with him. The normal procedure for the sponsor would have been to apply to the Saudi Government's labor ministry and get the required number of visas corresponding to the professionals he wishes to hire. However, getting a new visa these days is almost next to impossible due to pressure of Saudization from the government.

The result is quite predictable! The sponsor will try to bring you into the kingdom with whatever visa available with him. Of course, it is not necessary that you have to work in the same profession as what is mentioned in your visa. But please be cautioned that you will be severely affected when it comes to benefits, such as bringing your family into the kingdom. This has already been covered in
earlier but it is worth mentioning here once more because it is quite a herculean task to have your profession changed. Some sponsors bring candidates on visit visas with a verbal promise that it will soon be converted into a work visa after arrival into the kingdom. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Only a written instruction from the governor's office will change a person's visit visa to a work visa. Rest assured that this is almost next to impossible, :-O Working in Saudi Arabia is a rewarding experience provided you take adequate precautions and be extremely careful, particularly about the type of visa and the profession mentioned in your visa before you set foot into the kingdom.


sanil said...

Dear guru,

As per correct information from you I have joined one new company in KSA without any NOC. thnak u very much.please advice me further. My profession in the visa is F&B consultant(entitled for family visa).I have a Bcom degree certificate attested by Saudi embassy.Is there any legal problems to get family visa with different visa profession and qualification certificate


Expatguru said...


Glad to know that you found my blog useful for your career change. I don't understand what "F&B" means but since you have your degree certificate already attested by the Saudi embassy, I do not foresee any problems.

eric said...

Dear Sir,

Good day! I have new questions for you: 1. What if a Saudi company employer doesn't provide NOC? Is this practice normal? 2. What if I needed an NOC from my previous employer upon my transfer to a different company? Lastly, do you think it's okay for a Saudi employer to make use of an engineering visa for me (i am an engineering graduate from phils.) but I am to be hired as "secretary" (which is according to you is currently banned for expats)in Saudi?

I really am happy to find your blog as this is very useful for all those interested to land a job in Saudi Arabia.

Thanks and more power!

Expatguru said...


You cannot force an employer to give you an NOC. I never said that secretaries are banned for expatriates in the kingdom. What I said was that the profession of Secretary "in the iqama" is banned for expatriates. This means that if your iqama profession says secretary, it would not be renewed and a new visa as a secretary would not be issued. If you are working as a secretary and have some other profession in your iqama, strictly it is illegal but then so are a majority of people working in the kingdom having different professions from that mentioned in their iqamas. I have stated a legal position, which means that if and when there is a raid by the labor office, your sponsor (and hence you) are in for trouble.

Javeed said...

Dear Expat Guru,

I went through all your forums and found it very useful. Since your forum dates couple of years back I wish to ask is there any change in law here.

I am here in Saudi with a transferable Iqama through agent. I have come here on a Mason's Visa. My agent and the sponsor promise me they will change the profession on my Iqama from Mason to Mechanical Engineer (I have my BE degree certificate attested at Kharjia, Jeddah).

The agent now promises he will do the transfer in 15days for a minimal fees. After going through your blog I am confused as to what to do now.

Stay here as per agent's and sponsor's promise and wait or just go back to India rather suffer with a Mason's visa.

Please help me.

Thanks a lot for all your informative blogs.

Expatguru said...


Please fill in your query in the form using the link in the top right corner of this blog. I charge a nominal fee for my consultancy, which would get you a detailed, personalized and confidential reply by email.

Leira said...

Hello. I am a nurse planing to apply a visit visa for my husband who is also a nurse. He has worked before in a private hospital in the same city that I am right now. Can he re apply to that hospital and change his visa to work visa? THANK you.

Expatguru said...


Please fill in your query in the form using the link in the top right corner of this blog. I charge a nominal fee for my consultancy, which would get you a detailed, personalized and confidential reply by email.

Prabhunath Gupta said...

I had applied in Mumbai for the post of Accountant in Saudi Arabia. And I am Selected by travel agencies But they provide me 3 months work visit visa and says work visit visa converted into work visa on arrival in KSA. what I do? please guide me. My email id is

Prabhunath Gupta said...

One this is I am graduate from Mathemetics (B.Sc.Mathemetics) But I have experience from Accountant field. Can any problem in KSA. If this reason. Please advice me on