Can foreigners buy a property in Saudi Arabia?

Can foreigners/expats buy a property or house in Saudi Arabia? This question arises in the minds of almost all the expatriates living in Saudi Arabia but only a few of them know the exact answers. Actually, the answer is not simple “Yes or No”.

There are some points in the answer to this question which needs further elaboration and explanation. As a general rule of law, yes an expat/foreigner can buy a property or house in  Saudi Arabia. But wait a minute, read till the end to unveil the hidden clauses of the rule.

It is said that every foreigner or expat can buy a property or house in Saudi Arabia either for business or residence purpose. Property here pertains to the land or already constructed building. However, there are some guidelines to follow.

319 5 Rules to determine if an Expatriate can own property in Saudi Arabia 00

  1. Suitable Profession

The profession on the Iqama of the foreigner/expat must be a suitable profession to buy a property or house in Saudi Arabia. So, what is a suitable profession? A suitable profession in this regard is only “Foreign Investor”.

In other words, if you are working as an employee, just forget to own a house in Saudi Arabia. Chairman of JCCI’s real estate committee Muhammad Al-Amir said foreigners in Saudi Arabia can buy properties only if the profession listed on their residence permit is a foreign investor.

Only investors who get SAGIA license can have a profession of “Foreign Investor” on their Iqama. 

  1. Inherited Property

Foreigners/Expats can own a property or house in Saudi Arabia if it is inherited to them. Many expatriates own property in Saudi Arabia as I think it was allowed earlier. Moreover, there are Saudis whose children could not get Saudi nationality so they are still treated, iqama holders. All these people can own property in Saudi Arabia as it is inherited to them.

  1. Property Linked to Waqf

They are not entitled to property rights if the property was linked to waqf and if the Supreme Council of Endowment has a supervisory role in it.

  1. Property in Makkah and Madina

Foreigners/expats cannot buy any property or house in the holy cities of Makkah and Madina. There has been so much discussion across the Shoura Board and Shoura persists that not giving permission to expatriates to own property in the Holy cities of Makkah and Madina is essential to maintain the Islamic interest.

However, foreigners have the right to lease property in Makkah and Madina for two years and this can be renewed for similar periods of time.

Saudis who buy land inside Makkah and Madina on behalf of foreigners or expats will be penalized according to Article 5 of the system with a fine that equals 25 percent of the total payments made to the seller and building expenses.

319 5 Rules to determine if an Expatriate can own property in Saudi Arabia

  1. Permission from the Ministry of Interior

Permission from the Ministry of Interior is required for a foreigner/expat to buy a property or house in Saudi Arabia. It takes around one month to get this permission from the Ministry of Interior. They don’t permit it unless that applicant has strong financial condition and business in which he is engaged.

Source: Arab News, Arab News 2

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