RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Premium Residency scheme took effect on Sunday, three years after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the program as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan.
The crown prince stressed in an interview with Al Arabia TV that the new system will not undermine citizens’ rights, rather it will serve their interests.
He affirmed that the Premium Residency will be an important source of revenues to boost the Saudi economy and will contribute to the creation of jobs for the public.
On Sunday, the Premium Residency Center began receiving applications for the new residency system through the electronic platform SAPRC (saprc.gov.sa).
On the platform, applicants can upload all the required documents and pay the necessary fees. The platform also provides an introduction to the system and the center, which offers two types of Saudi Premium Residency: Permanent Premium Residency with a one-time payment for life, and Premium Residency with a yearly financial fee and many privileges.
The initiative, approved last month by the Cabinet under King Salman’s chairmanship, gives those who wish to reside or invest in Saudi Arabia an attractive investment environment that will achieve economic growth and development.
The center is a financially and administratively independent entity associated with the Council of Economic and Development Affairs, which cooperates with government sectors to provide comprehensive services for those with Saudi Premium Residency and those wishing to obtain it.
The Permanent Premium Residency costs SR800,000 ($213,000) paid once, while the Premium Residency costs SR100,000 annually.
The Premium Residency is different from the Investor Residency in that the holder of the former is not associated with a sponsor, while the holder of the latter must have an investment establishment as a sponsor.
Analysts say the program will largely benefit wealthy individuals who have lived in Saudi Arabia for years without permanent residency or multinational companies seeking to do long-term business in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia is currently home to some 10 million overseas workers.
Expat workers are typically sponsored by a Saudi employer and are required to get visas to exit and enter the Kingdom.