If you've decided to move to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia make sure you carry your own Checklist for all the things you should and shouldn't be doing here. In this era, Saudi Arabia is one of the top ten most successful and respected countries of the World and all of that hasn’t come easy. It took years! There are important laws and regulations that standardized their religious morals and teachings and if you are planning to move to the Kingdom of Saudi don't let my intro paragraph change your mind. Like in every country you visit, it takes time to adapt to the rules and regulations of the country but with time you lose homesickness and everything turns out well. To save you a lot of the trouble I've compiled a Quick Checklist for all the Do's and Don’ts that you should be observing soon after you land on their grounds. Some things you must make sure of before you depart from your country just to show that you know well of the possible outcomes if found offensive in any case. A whole lot of the wrong type of actions and crimes can cause you to be found guilty which can be treated by imprisonment etc. To start of the Checklist the first thing you must observe are the Do's.
What to do in Saudi Arabia?
- When you meet someone on the grounds of Saudi Arabia make you sure you greet them with Asalam-O-Alikum (peace be upon you) while shaking their hand and if you have been welcomed by Asalam-O-Alikum you reply with Walikum-Asalam (and peace be with you).
- When you enter a holy place such as mosques or living rooms etc. make sure that you take off your shoes until or unless you are asked not to do so.
- Make sure that you observe your hosts keeping this as a common practice. Make sure that you address the people by Mr. followed by their Family Name. Other respectable names that can be used are Sheikh, Haji etc.
- A common problem many people who migrate in have to face is when it comes to communication. It is advisable to learn Arabic and it will help you greatly and if not, make sure that you can learn a few notable gestures and phrases that are used for welcoming and used as a part of etiquettes. Saudis are very keen about how they dress and how they appear when In front of others. Keep this is mind.
- Make sure you do not appear in shorts ever whether man or woman. You can only do so while swimming or while playing sports.
- Make sure that while you are residing in Saudi Arabia you become a defensive driver. This becomes extremely important here. Procedure in case of Road Accident is explained in this link.
- Other than that, make sure you remain modest and humble. Accept invitations for dinners and gatherings. If you are invited for Qahwa or tea as a noble gesture drinks two cups, no more and no less. We have explained the “Etiquettes of drinking Arabic Qahwa” in this link. After you are done, while returning your cup to the host make sure you place your hand on top of it as this will give him the idea that you will not drink more.
What not to do in Saudi Arabia?
Now it's time to highlight out the Don’ts and I personally think this list will be a bit longer than the previous one.
- In Saudi Arabia, one cannot do everything he wants to do freely. He is bound by the laws and regulations that if not followed will cause him to be deported, imprisoned or on worst case scenarios treated by death sentences.
- One major problem faced by Foreigners is the whether they can drink alcohol (liquor) or not. Drinking alcohol (liquor) is illegal in the country and thus if found drunk they will be imprisoned by the police or other authorities in charge.
- Smoking however isn't illegal but it is avoided especially during Ramadan. If someone is caught drinking or eating during Ramadan especially during daylight hours they are brought into custody. If drinking isn't a lot then there is no way in heck doing drugs will be allowed? You are not allowed to start your liquor business by any means.
- If you are moving to Saudi Arabia, make sure that you carry your Iqama and your passport with you at all times since you do not know well people and authorities might question you for it. If you are found without Iqama, you will have to face penalties which may lead to deportation. Please read into this link “Fines for not Carrying Iqama”
- This is one country where women cannot be on the driving seat. LITERALLY. Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive, shake hands or show their affection to opposite nature in public. Women in fact are not allowed to mingle around in social gatherings and thus most Saudi Men avoid bringing their wives along.
- Speaking of a lot of things that you shouldn't be doing in Saudi Arabia make sure you avoid talking about Politics and Religion on the top of the list. You would not want to be caught in a discussion where you express your views and opinions to someone you merely know. Avoid such talks and gatherings. You do not know how the other person may take it as.
I've provided you with a basic checklist of all the things you should and shouldn't be doing in Saudi Arabia. However there is much more that you must go through but that can be taken care when you reach on their land. I hope I've delivered what I wished to. Happy Travelling Everyone!
- Tips by MOI for Saudi Nationals
- Tips for Expats coming for Vacation to Saudi Arabia
- Tips on conversing with Saudi Girls
- Tips on Conversing with an American Citizen
- Tips for Living in Saudi Arabia