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Saudi Arabia

Why Teach in Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. That being said, they're willing to pay top dollar for high-quality education. 

As a teacher in Saudi Arabia, you'll be offered a salary and living package that is comparable to that of the US. Teachers with families are welcome, teachers with advanced degrees are sought after and female teachers are especially in demand.

Teaching in Saudi Arabia is not for everyone, however. The country is not gay-friendly, is limiting for women, lacks a dating scene and has strict laws against alcohol consumption and purchase. 

However, if you are either a family or a single person who enjoys a life full of food, culture, sports, and religious studies- Saudi Arabia offers an experience unlike any other. 


Learn Arabic, get paid, save a crazy amount of money, and spend your weekends or holidays jet setting around the world with plenty of cash in your pocket.  When you need an ice cold beer or are dying to get on the dance floor, the Bahrain border is a common weekend getaway.

Qualifications to Teach in Saudi Arabia

The more experience you have, the brighter your future will look in Saudi Arabia.

Teachers here are offered high, tax-free salaries for those that qualify. A Teaching Degree will get you a good job, a Master's Degree will get your a great job, and a Ph.D. will open the doors to top-tier opportunities. 

Language School


Native Speaker: Required due to visa ability 

Bachelor’s Degree: Required

Master’s Degree: Flexible but Highly Recommended

TEFL Certificate, CELTA Degree or Equivalent: Required

Years of Experience: Required minimum 2 years

Criminal Background Check:  Required

Health Check: Required  




Native Speaker: Required

Bachelor’s Degree: Required- preferably related to education

Master’s Degree: Required- preferably related to education

TEFL Certificate, CELTA Degree or Equivalent: Flexible but Highly Recommended

Criminal Background Check: Required

Health Check:  Required

Heads Up: Your qualifications and certificates will need to be translated to Arabic once your hired- but your school will help you do that. You will go through 2 health checks: 1 in your country and 1 in Saudi Arabia. 

Language Schools vs Universities

When it comes to teaching positions in Saudia Arabia, the demand is higher than the supply. That's great news for you. 


Language schools and universities are the most common institutions seeking native English teachers, but you'll also find teaching jobs for companies that want to  prepare their employees to work abroad. We're mainly talking about oil companies who have alliances with foreign companies. These companies vastly differ on experience, where as language schools and universities offer pretty uniform experiences.


Language School


Paid vacations, 30 days + National Eid holiday+ Saudi National Day

Teacher training regarding classroom management and Islamic culture.

Renewable contracts

Housing and transportation provided

Flight ticket paid

Visa Assistance



Salary based on qualifications

Approximately 20- 30 students per classroom

Must strictly follow and contribute to the school's curriculum



30 days paid vacation in between contracts + 2 religious holidays

Health insurance

Flight ticket paid

Visa assistance

Salary based on qualification especially Master’s Degree or PhD

Housing and transportation provided



40-50 hours of work per week + open hours

Heavier workload

How to Find a Job in Saudi Arabia

Foreign teachers are very demanded to teach English in school and universities. Private school, language schools, and universities in Saudi Arabia are the places looking for young (20-50 years old due to visa restrictions), enthusiastic teachers. 

Compare salaries, locations, hours, and benefits of each teaching job by scrolling through teaching forums. 

These ads will have an email address for contact and you'll work directly with a hiring manager to set up you interviews. 

Where to look

Tefl Search

The Guardian Jobs

TEFL Jobs World

Serious Teachers

ESL Cafe

Recruitment agencies are great for first-time ESL teachers who want to move abroad.


They guide you through the process of selecting jobs, setting up interviews, advice on your visa- the whole deal. They basically hold your hand through each stage. 

Another benefit to working with a recruitment agency is that they have exclusive relationships with a large database of  schools and universities that seek for ESL teachers.


Where to look





Go directly to the source by checking out the job posting on University websites. These websites often post

 a brief description of the job, the requirements, package details, and a direct contact form. 

Where to look

*If you are a woman, job offers usually specify for the gender required for the position. In Saudi Arabia, men can only teach to men and women can only teach to women. 

Option 1: Job Ads at Teaching Abroad Websites and Forums
Option 2: Use a Recruitment Agency

Option 3: Applying directly to a University or College

Visas for Teachers in Saudi Arabia

The Employment Visa Process in Saudi Arabia seems complicated, but we can simplify it for you real quick.

Once you've been hired by a school in Saudi Arabia, you can begin the visa process in your home country.

The visa you're after is called the Employment Visa- and you must have it before entering Saudi Arabia.


The school that hired you will guide you through the process, help you arrange the paperwork, and pay each fee along the way. Expect this process to take 3 months or less.

Once you have your Employment Visa for Saudi Arabia, you can enter the country.


After your arrival, you have 90 days to get your Iqama, otherwise known as a residence permit. The Iqama takes about 1 week to be processed.


The last step is to apply for an Entry/ Exit permit so the you can travel to another country and come back without problems.

Easy, right? For a bit more detail on the documents needed and the exact steps to take to apply to teach in Saudi Arabia, keep reading.

✓ Saudi Visa Application Form

✓ A valid passport from the following countries (US, Ireland, Australia, UK, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa) with at 6 six months of remaining validity.

✓ One professional passport-size photo

✓ Criminal records

✓Employment contract signed by the company and the applicant

✓ Health certificate and health check report

✓ Copy of your Degrees (in case of both Bachelor and Master’s) and CELTA certificate (notarized by the educational institution and the Saudi embassy)

✓ Letter of invitation issued by your school in Saudi Arabia.


The visa for Saudi Arabia will be processed in your home country before you fly to Saudi Arabia. 

Here's how it will go...

Step 1: You're hired! Gather all of the above documents with the guidance of your school.

Step 2: Your school will apply for a Block Visa at the Ministry of Labor in Saudi Arabia. In other words, your school is applying to obtain the pre-approval to sponsor you- a foreigner.

Step 3: After the Block Visa is approved, your school will apply for a Visa Authorization Number through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Saudi Arabia.

Step 4: Once the school has the Block Visa approved and the Visa Authorization Number in hand, they'll send you to apply for an Employment Visa in your country of residence via the nearest Saudi Arabia embassy or consulate.


 Step 5: The embassy will process your paperwork and return your passport with your Saudi Visa. Now you're ready to go to Saudi Arabia!


Now that you have you're Employment Visa and have landed in Saudi Arabia, you have 90 days to apply for the Iqama.

Step 1: Medical testing

The Saudi government provides a list of approved medical centers where you can get your medical check completed. Even though you have already provided a health certificate during the initial Employment Visa process, a second medical check is required in order to apply for the Iqama. Your school will help you with this.

You can pick up the medical report after two days and a copy of the report will also be sent online to the Ministry of Interior for approval.

Step 2: Once the medical test is completed and approved, the school will officially submit your passport, two passport sized photographs, and the health insurance document to obtain the Iqama approved and printed.

Step 3: Time to collect your Iqama. Check the spelling of your name in English and make sure it matches with the Arabic one. In the case that names are misspelled or do not match, you have to return it and point the mistake out or it will be invalid.


A major benefit of working in Saudi Arabia is that schools often accept teachers with families. For that reason, we are going to discuss the documents and steps needed to apply for a Permanent Family Visa for Saudi Arabia

✓ Iqama (only the person hired to teach in Saudi Arabia)

✓ Marriage Certificate

✓ Birth Certificate

✓ Passport copies all of your family members applying for the visa

✓ A letter from the sponsor company

✓ Permanent family visa form

✓ The Saudi government (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Saudi Embassy) in your country of residence must approve all of the above documents.

This process takes place while you're in your country of residence, before you move to Saudi Arabia. Most commonly, you will go to Saudi Arabia before you family, receive your Iqama, and settle your family's documents and visa approvals. Once this is complete, your family can meet you in Saudi Arabia. 

Step 1: Go to the Saudi embassy or consulate in your country of residence to have your family's documents verified and attested.

Step 2: Once you arrive in Saudi Arabia and you have completed the Iqama process, then you can start to process Iqamas for your family.

An extra document needed to apply for your family's Iqama: A letter detailing your salary, housing and transportation arrangements that come with your job.

Step 4: The Permanent Family Visa form 

Fill it out and have it corroborated by your school and the Chamber of Commerce.

Step 5: Book an online appointment in the Ministry of Interior (MOI) website*.

Step 6: Once your appointment has been granted, you have to go to a Jawazat Office with all the required documents.

Step 7: As soon as the visa(s) is/are approved, you can send them to your family back in your country of residence.

Step 8: Your family will visit the nearest Saudi embassy or consulate to receive their 1-year visas in their passports. 

Step 9: After stamping the visa, your family has 3 months to travel to Saudi Arabia.

*For more information on how to book at the MOI website, visit here

Documents Required for a Work/Employment Visa in Saudi Arabia

Step-by-Step Employment Visa Process

Step-by-Step Iqama Process

Saudi Arabia Visa for Teachers 101

Documents required for a Permanent Family Visa

Step-by-Step Permanent Family Visa Application Process

What's Included in the Job


Most teaching contracts offer health insurance, accommodation, flights, transportation to work, and standard work weeks of about 25 teaching hours per week.

Your salary will depend on your level of education, years of experiences and if you work for a private school, language school or university. However, your salary is tax-free.  The benefits will depend on the job offer and the sponsor company.


Private/International School​​


Average Monthly Income: $2,600-$4,000 per month

Housing: Provided

Flights: Provided

Bonus Flights: Many schools will fly you home for vacation during your contract 

Medical Insurance: Provided by your school

Transportation: Typically, to and from school

Vacation Time: 30 days annually

Contract Duration: 1-2 Years


Language School


Average Monthly Income: $3,200-$4,000 per month

Housing: Provided

Flights: Provided

Medical Insurance: Provided by your school

Transportation: Provided to go and come from your work and home

Vacation Time: Annual vacation, National Eid holidays and Saudi National day

Contract Duration: 1 year


College or University


Average Monthly Income: $4,000+ per month

Housing: Provided

Flights: Provided

Medical Insurance: Provided by your school

Transportation: Provided to/from the campus and home

Vacation Time: Annual vacation, National Eid holidays and Saudi National day

Contract Duration: 1-2 years

Cost of Living in Saudi Arabia
via iExplore



As a teacher in Saudi Arabia, out-of-pocket cost of living is going to be lower than the figures we've got here when you consider the contributions your school makes towards your housing and transportation. Many teachers in Saudi Arabia will live in a housing compound that includes a pool and a gym, which is an additional cost-saving measure. 


Your cost of living will mostly depend on your lifestyle and favorite free time activities. And how could we forget... the tax-free salary and prohibition of alcohol are going t be huge money savers for you!


Regardless, let's give you an idea of what prices are like in Saudi Arabia. (Prices are in USD, this is information has been taken from numbeo.com )


$587.23 per month without rent

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre: $524.61  

Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre: $334.34

Jeddah (Jiddah)


$623.62 per month without rent

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre: $447.70

Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre: $314.49

Ad Dammam

$607.55 per month without rent

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre: $353.05

Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre: $262.32

Al Khobar


$615.50 per month without rent

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre: $427.86 

Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre: $374.79

Day to Day Expenses

Milk (1 liter): $1.18

Chicken Breast (1kg): $5.02

Loaf of Fresh White Bread: $0.75  

Coke/Pepsi (0.33-liter bottle): $0.45

Average Restaurant Meal: $4.80

McDonald’s Combo Meal: $5.60 

One-Way Ticket (Local Transport): $0.53

Taxi (1km): $2

Gasoline (1 liter): $0.21

Cinema, International Release: $13.33

The Low Down on Saudi Arabia

Language: Arabic

Currency: Saudi Arabia Riyal; (SAR rate here)

Type of Government: Unitary Islamic absolute Monarchy

Crime: Low! Check out the data here.

Safety Concerns: Traffic accidents

Street Food: Shawarmas are popular. But there are plenty of dishes to try that start at $1

Public Transportation: Taxis and private car are the most common. Inter-city bus and railway. Taxis in Saudi Arabia must be booked in advance.

What's it like Living in...


Riyadh is where the money's at. Surrounded by desert, this capital city serves as the center of Saudi Arabia's commercial industry. With a revolving door of international business, English is in high demand which makes it a great place to teach. Riyadh features a fascinating blend both ancient and modern architecture, along with a varied topography with deserts right next to the city. However, be aware that the culture here is stricter than other cities around the Saudi Kingdom. As this city is the gem of Saudi Arabia, the government keeps a close eye to ensure that customs are being followed. You'll likely spend your free time playing tennis, shopping, or spending time at home. This can be an asset if you want to save some money!


Jeddah (Jiddah)


Located in the Red Coast, Jeddah is the second largest city in Saudi Arabia; it is also one of the most touristic. The culture here, although still modest in comparison to the western world, can be considered a bit more open minded and friendly. It is a cosmopolitan city drawing an international flux of tourists. Even though alcohol is prohibited in the entire country, Jeddah's nightlife is about as exciting as it gets.

In Jeddah, expats typically live in compounds that boast a luxury lifestyle within and apparently, offer a life that isn't very different from Western culture. You're more likely to find parties and spaces to socialize without problems, whether your male or female.

Ad Dammam


Thanks to oil production, Ad Dammam has become the fastest growing city in the country. With that comes a blend of middle eastern customs and Western luxuries. Ad Dammam is home to the ARAMCO compound, with plenty of activities for foreigners and people from around the world. This compound makes it easy for foreigners to meet, create a sense of community and make new friends. It's easy to see that the influence of the west has made Ad Dammam a more easygoing city.


Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen when you visit this coastal city with plenty of beaches! You've certainly got options for entertainment outside of the ARAMCO.  Another great thing about living in Ad Dammam is theKing Fahd Causeway which connects Ad Dammam to Bahrain. A weekend in Bahrain, a country with less strict customs, is a welcomed opportunity when you're craving a little bit of freedom in the form of nightclubs and movie theaters.


Al Khobar


Located in the Greater Dammam, Al Khobar offers a different lifestyle than Riyadh and the rest. The Greater Dammam is formed by the cities Al Khobar, Dhahran and Ad Dammam. Al Khobar has also commercial ties with ARAMCO and it's just 20 min away from Ad Dammam. However, Al Khobar has many lifestyle centers and shopping malls. It's also famous for the Corniche of Al Khobar which has local and international chain of restaurants, cafes, shop and more. So if shopping is one of your favorite things, Al Khobar is the ideal city for you! If you're not a big shopper, than Al Khobar might seem a bit underwheming. 

What's to Love about Saudi Arabia?

Salaries are tax-free- perfect opportunity to save money.


Beaches and deserts for entertainment


Schools accept and support teachers with families 

Great location to country-hop and explore

Very low crime rate

What's to Dislike about Saudi Arabia?

Women are limited in their freedoms.


Women must wear a black Abaya, traditional clothes and cannot drive.

Men and women can't interact in public unless they are spouses or blood-related.

It is illegal to produce, import, or consume alcohol.

Driving is a crazy experience. Traffic accidents are very common.

via happytellus.com