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flag Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia: Living

In this page: Communities of Expatriates | Ranking of Cities | Renting an Apartment | School System | Health System | Tourism and Culture | Individual and Civic Freedoms | Religion


Communities of Expatriates

The Number of Expatriates

Around 6.14 million expatriates are living in Saudi Arabia. The country has many expiates from China, Gulf Countries, Italy, France, Mexico, Japan, Lebanon and India.

Blogs For Expats
Hotel reservation websites
About Saudi Arabia culture
Immigration Authority
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Saudi Arabia
Transportation Companies For Moving/Removals
List of transportation companies

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Ranking of Cities

Cost of Living
According to the latest available edition of the Cost of Living Worldwide City Rankings Survey by Mercer, Riyadh and Jeddah are ranked 85th and 101st respectively out of 227 cities worldwide in terms of cost of living.
Quality of Life
According to the latest available edition of the Quality of Living Worldwide City Rankings Survey by Mercer, Riyadh and Jeddah are ranked 164th and 168th respectively out of 231 cities worldwide in terms of quality of living.
Hotel reservation websites
Quality of Living Worldwide City Rankings (Survey by Mercer)
Cost of Living Worldwide City Rankings (Survey by Mercer)

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Renting an Apartment

Average Lease Term
This could vary from 6 months to 2 years.
Average Rental Costs
A rental agreement or lease is signed which specifies rights and responsibilities. Since this is usually in Arabic, be sure to get the rental contract translated in English.

One may be required to pay a year's rent in advance. It is a normal practice to pay a lump sum deposit at the beginning of the rental agreement against any losses/damages to the property or against any default on rental payments. This is held by the letting agent or property owner and will be reimbursed at the end of rental period provided all is in order.

Hotel reservation websites

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School System

The Education System
General education in the Kingdom consists of six years of primary school and three years each of intermediate and high school. The Government provides free general and higher education, and financial help for male and female students in some areas of general education. University students receive financial help and free housing. In addition, meals, books, and transportation are provided at subsidised prices. Female students are provided with free transportation. For more details, visit: Ministry of Education, Saudi Arabia.
International Schools

There are a large number of international schools in all the main cities. For details, visit: The Saudi Network.

Hotel reservation websites
The Saudi Network

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Health System

The Healthcare System
Medical facilities in the Kingdom are generally of a high standard, but treatment is expensive. The Ministry of Health (MOH) is responsible for health care in the country, providing general and specialised hospital services. Participation of the private sector in country's health care is becoming increasingly important.
Also visit: Saudi Association for Health Informatics Conference
International Hospitals
Healthcare facilities of a high standard are available in most cities. While most towns are equipped with a basic health centre, serious cases need to be transfered by ambulance or by air to hospitals in a major city that might be some distance away.

For a list of recommended hospitals in the country, visit the website World Hospital Search.

Health System Insurance Body
Cooperative Health Insurance Council (CHIC)
Health Ministry
Ministry of Health (MOH)

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Tourism and Culture

Different Forms of Tourism


Mecca and Medina, the two holiest cities of Islam are the most important part of historical tourism in the country.  
Jeddah is home to numerous historical landmarks and buildings such as the Old Jeddah Wall and Gates, the old quarters and mosques.


Islam is the focus of Saudi Arabian culture, for which festivals and family events form an integral part of daily life.


Saudi Arabia is known for its desert landscapes and wildlife of the Asir, a range of coastal mountains and the only part of the Kingdom where there is significant wild vegetation. There are settlements of fishermen and weavers on Tarut Island, which is also the site of the oldest town on the peninsula.


- Al-Masjid al-Haram (The Holy Mosque), Mecca
- The Ka'ba and Black Stone, Mecca
- The Prophet's Mosque, Medina
- Floating Mosque of Jeddah


Though thermal energy is the main source of power in Saudi Arabia, there are no natural hot springs. However few hotels provide hot spring spas.
For more details, visit Trip Advisor.


Some prominent beaches are Durrat Al-Arus, Shums, Bait Albahar, Salhia and Al Nakeel.

Winter Sports
Outdoor Activities
Scuba diving, windsurfing, and sailing, golf, horse and camel racing are popular touristic attractions. The King's Camel Race which takes place in April or May during the national Heritage and Cultural Festival at Jenadriyah is a popular highlight of local cultural events.
Saudi Arabia offers both traditional open-air markets and modern air-conditioned shopping malls. The shops are closed on Fridays and during prayer times.

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Individual and Civic Freedoms

Civil Liberty
World Ranking of Freedom of the Press According to "Reporters sans Frontières", 2021 report : 170/180

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Islam is the official religion of Saudi Arabia. Most of the population is Sunni, including the ruling family. A Shia Muslim minority is also present.

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Latest Update: April 2024