Information on whether there have been changes to Saudi law requiring sponsorship for persons seeking a residence permit, on who is entitled to a residence permit, on the procedure to obtain a residence permit, on whether or not North Yemenis are still exempt from sponsorship requirements when seeking a residence permit, and on whether or not South Yemenis are also exempt when applying for a residence permit [SAU20628.E]

The following information was obtained in a telephone interview with an official at the Saudi embassy in Ottawa (5 May 1995). The official stated that there have been no changes in the law requiring a sponsor in order to acquire a residence permit. All applicants for a residence permit must have a sponsor, who is usually the applicant's employer. It is the responsibility of the employer/sponsor to obtain the residence permit. Anyone is eligible for a residence permit providing he or she has a sponsor. The sponsor is generally a Saudi citizen who can vet the applicant. In the case of a foreign worker, there is usually a three-month trial period before an employer would apply for a residence permit. A person with a residence permit can apply to sponsor an immediate family member, such as a spouse and/or dependent children. However, to sponsor a parent would require approval of the foreign affairs ministry. In addition, the sponsor would have to demonstrate that the parent(s) are totally dependent on the sponsor for support.

According to the official, no one is exempt from the sponsorship requirement, including North Yemenis and South Yemenis. North Yemenis may appear to be exempt because they can use visitors visas to visit members of their family who were themselves Saudi citizens. The duration of these visas is fixed at the discretion of the foreign affairs ministry.

This information could not be corroborated among the sources consulted by the DIRB.

This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Ottawa. 5 May 1995. Telephone interview with an official.