What has changed?
It has been announced by the Saudi Ministry of the Interior that all Government departments and private companies must now follow the Islamic (or, Hijri) calendar.
Previously, employment and tourist visas were issued in accordance with the Western Gregorian calendar. Saudi Arabian passports and tax certificates included reference to both calendars.
However, moving forward it is only the Islamic calendar dates which will be recorded on official documents.
How will this affect you?
This will affect holders of Saudi visas or residence permits, since it is likely that expiration dates will be recorded using only the Hijri calendar, which consists of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days.
If you are at all unsure of how the new system works and when your visa will expire, we would advise checking the Islamic expiry date online to find the corresponding Western date.
Please note that the current Islamic year is 1433 AH, and runs from the 26th November 2011 to the 14th November 2012 (approximately).
English Language Restrictions
Assignees who are being transferred to Saudi Arabia should also note that new language restrictions have been imposed.
Staff who are employed by Government agencies or Private companies must now transact in Arabic only, including when receptionists answer a first call from an individual.
If you are unsure of how these changes may affect you, please feel free to contact us.