Moving to Riyadh: Here Is What You Need to Do

Moving to Riyadh: Here Is What You Need to Do

Are you an expat about to embark on a new adventure in Riyadh? You probably have many questions about your pending move to Saudi Arabia’s capital and perhaps you aren’t all that sure where you should begin. ServiceMarket has compiled a to-do list for you so that your move can be as seamless as possible, with advice on everything from international moving companies in Riyadh to understanding the costs involved with international moves.

Who to inform about your relocation to Riyadh

Your bank

You will need to inform your bank about your move to Riyadh, especially if you intend to use your old debit/credit cards for the first few months in your new home. Many banks need notification that you will be using your card(s) outside of your home country, otherwise, they may suspect it has been stolen and will block the account. It is also worthwhile to check if they have a branch in Riyadh as this may save you the hassle of having to open a new bank account once you have arrived.

Your child’s school

There are a number of steps when planning the move with your child, the first of which will be to inform the school of your family’s impending move to Riyadh. You will need your child’s school to prepare an education portfolio for your child in advance so that you can start applying for schools in Riyadh. Your child will not be able to attend a public school in Saudi Arabia but there are plenty of private school options for you. However, space is often limited, so you should have a number of options available in case your child does not get into your first school of choice. There are two types of schools located in Saudi Arabia: embassy-governed schools and private international schools. The fees for all schools in Riyadh can be frighteningly high, so make sure you negotiate fees for schooling into your expat package. You should ask for your child’s new school for assistance in helping your children adjust to the new environment and the school coaches and counselors can step in to help ease your child’s concerns.

Your doctor

Informing all your doctors about your move to Riyadh is vital as you need to be physically fit and in good health in order to settle in Saudi Arabia. You will also need to get prescriptions for all your medications as you are not allowed to bring medicine into the Kingdom without a prescription from your doctor.

Your vet

Check what the rules are for bringing your pet into Saudi Arabia and make sure that your four-legged family member has had all of his vaccinations before moving him across.

Close accounts and pay off loans

Make sure that all your loans are paid off before you relocate. It is possible to keep your loan active from Saudi Arabia if it is an ongoing and long-term loan (such as a mortgage), but short-term loans need to be paid off as quickly as possible else you may find it difficult to get a loan in the future once you have returned to your home country.

After your loan is paid off, ensure that your account is closed or else you may be charged for keeping open an inactive account (unless you are planning on using your account from Riyadh).



Exploring cultural norms in a country such as Saudi Arabia is perhaps the most important part of your move to Riyadh. Saudi Arabia is governed by Sharia Law, and it is imperative that you and your family familiarize yourself with these laws so that you don’t end up in hot water. Despite Riyadh being one of Saudi Arabia’s largest and most diverse cities, you are still required to observe the rules and regulations that govern the capital. Be sure to be aware of all of these before you relocate as some of these rules also dictate what you can and cannot bring into the country with you.

Shipping companies

Choosing your shipping company to Riyadh is perhaps one of the most important decisions you will make. There are many fraudulent companies out there, so make sure you thoroughly research and vet the company you choose. Using platforms such as ServiceMarket ensures that the companies you look at have been vetted, have a good reputation, and have FIDI accreditation. Customer reviews are also readily available so that you can be sure about your decision.


Expats in Riyadh are most likely to live in residential compounds, which are self-contained neighborhoods. These will often have all the amenities that you may need, including sports facilities, shops, and schools. In these compounds, you will often find that the strict religious and dress code rules are relaxed and you can more or less experience the same freedoms that you did in your home country.


The next thing to check off the list is the documentation for your entire family. You will need degree certificates, police clearance certificates, valid passports, your marriage certificate, and your children’s birth certificates (with certified copies of each). You will also require a minimum of six passport-sized photographs of each of your family members. All of these are very important to have on hand when relocating to Riyadh as you or your family may not be able to get a visa to enter the country without them.

Budget and relocation packages

Moving is a costly process even if you are moving within the same city more so when it is an international move. Be sure to budget accordingly and negotiate for a relocation package with your company. At the very least, companies in Saudi Arabia are required to provide expat employees with a relocation package to either move all their items from their home country or allow them to buy new furniture for the household in Riyadh or offer fully furnished accommodation.

While moving to Riyadh is an exciting adventure, there are a number of administrative things that need to be sorted out beforehand, such as informing the relevant institutions and gathering all your documentation so there will be no problems when it comes to the actual move.

Choosing your international shipping moving company in Dubai is also an important task. Selecting the right international moving company in Dubai demands careful consideration. Utilizing platforms with pre-vetted moving companies reduces the risk of falling prey to fraudulent schemes, ensuring a smoother relocation experience from Dubai to Riyadh.

Lastly, research into the culture in Saudi Arabia, the potential neighborhoods and schools, and negotiating your relocation package is necessary so that you can make your move to Riyadh with some peace of mind.