Travel permits for Saudi workers - | Hudson McKenzie

Travel permits for Saudi workers

From Tuesday 15th September 2020, the Saudi government executed further relaxation to the travel restrictions imposed on the borders of Saudi Arabia because of the pandemic.

Both Saudi and Non-Saudi workers who have residence permits or permanent residency can now travel in and out of the UAE. To do this, they must request for an ‘exception permit’ and submit their applications via the Absher portal.   This will be granted to them subject to meeting the required conditions for the category they fall into.

Workers in private, public, or non-profit firms

Saudi employees on permanent contracts within public, private or non-profit business organisations can request for a permit subject to the following conditions collectively:

  • They are a permanent employee of the business, i.e on a permanent employment contract
  • They were working for the business prior to the pandemic and the closure of Saudi Arabia’s borders and
  • They cannot work from home or remotely

Employers applying for an exception permit on behalf of an employee must complete the following actions:

  1. Issue a letter containing the following information:
    i) Name of the employee
    ii) Job role and job description
    iii) Employment start date and
    iv) Reasons why the employee cannot work from home or remotely
  2. Obtain an attestation of the letter. This must be from one of Saudi Arabia’s embassies in the country where the firm is located
  3. Apply via Absher Platform. Employers must register an account and follow certain steps to apply for the permit. They will be required to attach the following documentation before submitting their application via the portal:
    i) The attested letter certified by a Saudi Arabian embassy
    ii) The employee’s employment contract and
    iii) An undertaking not to travel anywhere else apart from the country previously selected

The Saudi Arabian government has also formed a list of categories of workers and individuals who can apply for an exception permit via the Absher portal. Successful applicants will be granted permits by the General Directorate of Passports.

The following conditions and documentation required for each category are the following:

Category 1: Government officials

This applies to key government officials, such as government personnel, civil servants and those working for the military.


  • They cannot perform their duties remotely
  • Their duty (ies)is subject to a fixed deadline (s) that cannot be postponed and
  • Their participation is on a small scale

Required documentation

  • An authorised letter from the worker’s official in-charge
  • Proof the worker meets the eligibility criteria and
  • The appropriate details of the worker and their role, such as their name, their job role and description, the duration of their employment, their current location and so forth.

Category 2: Humanitarian cases

This applies to Saudi citizens who have humanitarian reasons for leaving Saudi Arabia. Typically, this is for reasons associated with either family reunification purposes or the death of a close relative outside of Saudi Arabia.

Required documentation

Applications based on family reunification with relatives outside of Saudi Arabia must provide proof of the following:

  • Relationship with the relative outside of Saudi Arabia
  • Residency in the country requested to travel to
  • Inability for the relative (s) to travel to Saudi Arabia and
  • The location where minor children are completing their education outside of Saudi Arabia. This must be validated by a consulate in the relevant country (if required).

Applications based on the death of a spouse or child outside of Saudi Arabia must show proof of the following:

  • The death certificate and
  • The relationship between the deceased and the applicant

Category 3: Permanent residency outside Saudi Arabia

This applies to individuals who have permanent residency in a country outside of Saudi Arabia. Individuals must provide proof of the following:

  • A residence permit for the country they seek to travel to
  • Residence in their selected country. This is either in the form of ownership of property or holding a leasehold interest in a property in that country. This can be proven by title deeds or contractual documentation showing their ownership or interests and
  • Travel to the country outside of Saudi Arabia for a period of 6 months or more per year for the past three consecutive years.

Should you have any questions regarding the above information or if you require legal assistance with your visa application, please get in touch with a legal professional at Hudson McKenzie via email at or by telephone +44(0) 20 3318 5794.