Saudi Arabia issued its first batch of “premium” residence visas on Monday, for investors, doctors, engineers or financiers who wish to live in the kingdom, The National reported.
The changes are part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s economic and social reform plans to diversify the economy and steer it away from its reliance on oil.
Saudi Arabia’s Premium Residency Centre said it had received thousands of applications through its online portal from inside and outside the country over the past few months.
“The kingdom welcomes everyone. Applying for a premium residency is available to anyone who meets the relevant conditions, whether they are residing in the kingdom or those wishing to come and settle here,” said the centre’s chief executive, Bandar Al Ayed.
The programme offers foreign nationals and their families long-term visas and privileges that were previously not available to non-Saudis.
Applicants must be at least 21 years old, prove they are financially solvent, have no criminal record and have a clean bill of health.
They can choose between the permanent premium residency with a one-time fee of 800,000 Saudi riyals (Dh783,500), or a renewable premium residency with an annual fee of 100,000 riyals, The National adds.
The centre said both visas will make it easy for applicants to obtain business licences, and give them the right to own private vehicles and real estate, including property in Makkah and Madinah.