How Saudis treat American Citizens in Saudi Arabia – Experience

Amina Qureshi Raja: As a Non-Saudi living in Saudi Arabia, and Alhamdulillah not as a 3rd class citizen but an American citizen, I always felt that EVERYTHING is based on your passport.

The first time my husband went to open an account he waited in the queue like any normal person. He was holding his Iqama. At the window, the guy saw that he is a U.S. citizen, he came out shook his hand and asked him why he stood in the queue for so long?

He didn't have to, he should have told them that he is holding a U.S. passport.My husband was taken to a personal banker, had coffee and sweets too Alhamdulillah. 

It is not a rare sight that a young Saudi officer is texting and playing on their phones while people are standing in a queue.

I'm talking because, I know exactly what it is to go thru customs, as a MUSLIM / American / French / Pakistani / We have traveled a lot Alhamdulillah and even lived in Saudi Arabia for some time. And guess what?

The only place on the globe where I have seen and experienced completely unprofessional is sadly Saudi Arabia. I'm not saying EVERY SINGLE time but most of the time. And I have entered that country many times.

At the airport, they see you coming “brown” lady, as you get closer and they feel you are not from India/Pakistan then they see your passport and Subhan Allah, as, by magic wand, the guy sits up straight, smiles at you, says hello to the kids, he becomes polite immediately.

But when you look in the queue, with all those people coming from 3rd world countries, it breaks your heart. Don't take me wrong, I LOVE Saudi Arabia, we pray Allah S.W.T, we return there one day to live, but again, I'm just giving you my honest Opinion.

Don't forget USA / Canada's many universities run on Saudi students very lavish funds. But immigration officer isn't directly affected by them so he doesn't care about their nationality.

Hind AQ Johannsen: I think it's relevant to mention that Saudis often watch American television and therefore feel more connected to the culture.

I see the same thing with locals who are fond of Indian movies, they relate better to Indians because they have prior knowledge of their culture and have a base to fall back on during introductions.

This is not to provide a rebuttal to the fact that third world citizens tend to be treated more poorly. Saudis often conduct themselves towards others the way they imagine the other person's previous standard and expectations are which explains low or lack of salaries.

I experience that aspect a Saudi woman myself. If I don't wear my headscarf I'm scolded, while an expat woman isn't approached as often for the same reasons.

Amina: This is not an article, written by me on the website, these were some statements made in answer to a question or comment. I believe almost 2 years ago.

First, I would like to apologize to whoever got offended by any of what I have written back then. Trust me this was not attended to being published in this manner. Anyway, I can't remember the exact situation and you will have to forgive me.

English is not my first language, and I had no intention to offend anyone. I was just sharing my personal experience, and no not a Native American but I surely am a second-generation French-born of Pakistani descent. 

I don’t want anyone to take the wrong idea about my comments. I was just sharing my opinion and the reality of what I HAVE personally experienced there. 

Anyways I just wanted to apologize, MY INTENTIONS were not to put anyone down, I love you all for the sake of Allah, and please forgive me, if anything I said hurt you.

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Steve has been living in Saudi Arabia since 2013 and writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures since then.