Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sending money from Saudi Arabia

Working in Saudi Arabia is a challenge, as all expatriates would agree. Being away from your home country is itself a big emotional pain =(( But, as mentioned in this blog earlier, all that would be worth it when you get your pay check every month :) It would be no exaggeration to say that the happiest day for an expatriate working in Saudi Arabia is the day he sends money home :D
Sending money home is quite easy. There are several banks and exchange centers to choose from. But since money doesn't grow on the palm trees of Saudi Arabia, you have to choose carefully where from you send your hard-earned wage :-B
Most expatriates working in Saudi Arabia prefer to use tele-transfer, which is known by various names depending on your bank. The commission charged by banks is slightly more (usually in the range of SR 25 for each transaction). A few others also prefer to purchase a Demand Draft, to be sent home via normal post. Of course, the bank charges in this case are far lesser. In any case, the bottom line is that you must have a bank account first to send your back home. But it is not necessary that you must send your money from the same bank where your account is :-?
There is almost no restriction on the amount of money you send home. However, when it crosses SR10000, you will usually be asked to produce your salary certificate to the bank. This is usually a one-time verification process, i.e., you need not produce this every time you send money home. Also, if it is the first time you are sending money home from a particular bank or exchange center, you will be asked to submit a photocopy of your passport, with the official seal of your sponsor. This is a precaution to prevent money laundering.

A useful tip for you. Remember that the exchange rate varies every day and also between one exchange center / bank to the other within the same city :-O It may only be a marginal difference, but when the amount you send is more, the difference cannot be ignored. In fact, it is usual for expatriates working in Saudi Arabia to find out from 2 or 3 banks or exchange centers the current exchange rate before choosing from the most attractive one ;)


siamang1 said...

Hi Expatguru,

Your views on working in Saudi Arabia has been an eye opener !!! I am sure they are always pros and cons to every issue. By the way, I wish to seek your advise as I will be posted to work in Jeddah by my Singaporean company. Q1, how much is sufficient for our (my family of 3) monthly expenses excluding housing, transportation, education and medical? Q2, it is safe to go out of our compound with my family for dinner or shopping? Q3, will working in Jeddah be really that boring?

Thank you in advance for your kind advise.

Expatguru said...

Hello Siamang1,

Thanks for your appreciation and comments. To answer your questions,

a) This depends completely on the type of lifestyle you wish to live, so giving a figure would be misleading as it varies from person to person

b) Safety for your family
c) Working in Jeddah

Please go through the following links which would answer your queries

I would suggest you to go through the archives in this blog by clicking on the desired month in the calendar given on the right hand side of this page. Wishing you good luck in your new career in Saudi Arabia.

TADA said...

Hi Expatguru !

I had my wife on residence visa last year with me in saudi. we went on vaccation on Oct-07. Since my spouse health was not fine i come back alone from the vacation. In the mean time my Iqama on Nov-07got expire and i renew it before its expiry by deleting my spouse name from my Iqama as she was not well to travel in short notice. Subsequetly now in Jan-08. i call my spouse on visit visa. please tell me how can i convert this visit visa in resedince visa. and have her status updated in my Iqama.

Expatguru said...


Your wife's visa has already expired. You have to apply for a fresh visa for her. I am not sure whether you can convert the visit visa into a permanent one. Please take the help of a professional agent for this.