What is Azad/Free Visa? What are the risks associated with it?

Azad or Free Visa as the name suggests is a visa under which you are free to work in Saudi Arabia. Legally, there is no such visa like independent or Azad visa. I do not suggest anyone come to Saudi Arabia through this visa since it is illegal and lead to harsh punishment. The Saudi government has been taking strict action against those who are dealing with this visa. This is a normal visa as other job visas but under this visa, you illegally commit your Sponsor to not to work under his employment. In other ways, you are under his Sponsorship and work for someone else. In order to understand this article, it is better if you read the article published earlier, Sponsorship System in Saudi Arabia. This visa costs too much around 18,000 to 30,000 SAR this is why most of the people are unable to buy it. However, this is not the only way to come to Saudi Arabia; there are some other ways of coming to Saudi Arabia which is covered in an article published earlier. There are many risks associated with Azad/Free visa but to understand those risks, you need to understand the mechanism through which Azad/Free visa is bought.

Risks Associated with Azad/Free Visa: Every day, hundreds of people from all around the world especially South Asian countries and poor Arab Countries are coming to Saudi Arabia on Azad (Independent) Visa. I have already mentioned above that this visa costs too much which is why most of the people do not buy it. If you are with some general qualification or without qualification, it is not advisable to deal in Azad (Independent) visa. There are more chances that you will get a lower level job with a lower salary. It will take a long time to you to recover your cost and then to actually start saving. In that case, it is better to search job from your own country.

In order to search for Azad/Free visa, people adopt three different ways. There are many risks associated with whatever way you choose to buy azad/free visa. If you buy it locally from your home country, there are chances that you will lose your hard earned money with the agents. This is an illegal visa and obviously, he will not be giving you any receipt of the amount received by you. Even if he gives you a receipt, you will be reluctant to go to Police even in your home country as you are dealing illegal acts.

If some of your relatives buy it from Saudi Arabia, again he is in a huge risk. If authorities come to know about the fact that he is dealing with Azad/Free visa, he will be arrested and deported with immediate effect. You or he will lose hard earned money.

There is a risk that your profession on a visa will not be the same as your actual profession. For example, if the profession of your visa is Barber, no company will entertain you as they do not have any place for Barber in the company. In the books of government, if your profession on a visa is Barber, you are a barber irrespective of your actual profession. If you have a profession of a domestic worker, you would not be able to transfer your sponsorship after getting a job.

If the city of your sponsor is far away from the city would be living in, there is more fatigue. For example, if you want to live in Jeddah, the city of your Sponsor should be Jeddah or Makkah. Makkah is on one hour drive from Jeddah. Sometimes, you need to go to your Sponsor 3,4 times for getting Iqama (residence permit).

There is another risk that you would not be able to search for a job in Saudi Arabia. In that case, you will have to spend a tough time as the cost of living is expected to be higher than your home country.

Penalties on Employers for employing workers without transferring Sponsorship

If the employer was an expatriate resident, the fine is 5,000 S.R. or one-month imprisonment or both in addition to deportation. Gulf News has reported that a plan to ban the deported expatriates from one GCC country from entering on work visas in any other GCC country has been finalized. To know about the status of the implementation, click on this link “GCC Wide Ban on Deported Expatriates of GCC Countries

If the employer was a citizen;

  • the first instance fine is SR 5,000
  • Second instance fine is SR 10,000 or one-month imprisonment or both
  • Third instance fine is SR 20,000 or three months imprisonment or both.
  • Fines are multiplied according to the number of individuals involved.

For the latest updates, you can join our WhatsApp group.

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