10 things an Expatriate should never do in Saudi Arabia

Nearly 1.76 million Indians, 1.32 million Pakistanis and 1.31 million Bangladeshis live in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Expatriates need to make themselves completely aware of certain things which they should never try to do while traveling or staying in the. Here is a list of certain things which every expatriate must know:

1-Carry your Iqama: The first and foremost thing for expatriates to know is to keep their passport and visa with them at all times. If you are a resident, you should keep your Iqama in your pocket all the time. Not carrying Iqama with you may lead to SR 3,000 fine and deportation.[irp]

2-Iqama is Renewed on Time: Make sure that your visa is not expired and your passport is valid for at least more than six months. If you are on Iqama, it is very important that you have a valid and renewed iqama all the time. Not renewing Iqama On-Time may lead to heavy fines.

3-Prayer Timing: Islam is the state religion of Saudi Arabia so everyone should respect Muslim prayers which are held 5 times a day. Every shop, business, and shopping mall Closes at Prayer Time.

4-Ramadan: Show special respect and consideration during the month of fasting, Ramadan. It is highly forbidden to drink, eat or smoke in public places from sunrise to sunset. If you are caught Eating or Drinking in Ramadan, you will be deported.

5-Final Exit: Before leaving Saudi Arabia, you must close all essential things which include work visa, bank accounts, credit cards and phone connection. We have explained what you have to do before and after final exit from Saudi Arabia.

6-Loss of Credit Card or ATM Card: Keep all your financial documents in safe which includes chequebooks, credit cards, etc. Otherwise, misuse of such important documents can create much trouble. If your ATM Card is lost, follow the proper procedure to report it to the bank.

7-Street Photography: Never try to take photographs of anyone without consent especially women and families. Taking pictures without consent is punishable by imprisonment in addition to SR 500,000 fine.

8-Dealing with Drugs: Do not carry drugs when traveling – Dealing with drugs in Saudi Arabia is like going on a suicide mission. We always suggest not carry anything into Saudi Arabia on behalf of others. You don’t know what it is but if it turns out to be drugs, the minimum punishment is execution or beading.

9-Third Eye is watching you: Never exchange or comment any unpleasant remarks related to Islam in Social Media. We have already reported a case of an Internet User who was Jailed for 10 Years in the same kind of offense.

10-Smoking in public buildings is illegal. In fact, if you are Smoking in Office building, it is a fairground to terminate you from the job. Smoking in public buildings can also lead to SR 5,000 fine.

11-Sexual Relationship out of Wed-Lock: All kind of sexual relations made outside marriage is highly punishable which can result in a fine, prosecution, custody and deportation and in some cases lashes and stone to death as well. There are is Punishment for Adultery and Homosexuality in Saudi Arabia.

12-Transfer of Sponsorship: Make yourself aware of the local laws and accept the regulations of the Kingdom then take every step accordingly. You should know that you need to transfer your sponsorship to start working anywhere.

13-Bouncing Cheque: Always be aware of your surroundings and never sign any kind of cheque unless you have sufficient balance to pay from your bank account. Issuing of a cheque without having enough balance in a bank account is a serious crime in the Kingdom. A Bounced Cheque may lead to criminal proceedings in Suadi Arabia.

14-Respect the Flag: Respect the flag of Saudi Arabia and other national symbols. It is better if you know the meaning of Saudi Flag and what it really means to them.

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Steve has vast experience in writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures.