Top 10 Tips for Australians Moving to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Top 10 Tips for Australian Expats Moving to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – Moving from Australia to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) can be a significant cultural and lifestyle shift.

Whether you’re relocating for work, adventure, or any other reason, adjusting to life in KSA can be both an exciting and challenging experience.

To help you navigate this transition, here are the top 10 tips for Australian expats making the move:


  1. Respect Local Customs and Traditions: The culture in KSA is deeply rooted in Islamic traditions. It’s crucial to familiarise yourself with these customs to ensure respectful interactions. For instance, during the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. As a sign of respect, even non-Muslims should avoid eating or drinking in public during these times.
  2. Dress Conservatively: Women should wear an abaya (a black cloak) in public places. While in recent years, it’s not always mandatory, it’s still the norm in many areas. Men should avoid wearing shorts in public and opt for long trousers and shirts with sleeves.
  3. Gender Segregation: In many public spaces, there are separate areas for men and women, especially in restaurants, banks, and even some offices. Always be observant and enter the appropriate section.
  4. Learn Basic Arabic: While many in the business sector speak English, knowing essential Arabic phrases will enhance your day-to-day interactions and make daily tasks smoother.
  5. Avoid Public Displays of Affection: Holding hands, hugging, or kissing in public—even between married couples—can be frowned upon. It’s always best to be discreet and avoid drawing unnecessary attention.
  6. Alcohol and Pork are Prohibited: Saudi Arabia is a dry country, meaning alcohol is strictly forbidden. Possession, consumption, or trafficking of alcohol can lead to severe penalties. Similarly, pork is prohibited in Islam, and you won’t find it in local markets.
  7. Be Prepared for the Heat: Especially if you’re from the cooler parts of Australia, the desert heat of Saudi Arabia can be a shock. Drink plenty of water, wear light and breathable clothing, and try to avoid outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day.
  8. Secure an Iqama: An iqama is a residence permit that you’ll need to live and work in KSA. It’s essential for getting things done, from opening a bank account to accessing healthcare. Ensure your employer assists you in obtaining this as soon as possible.
  9. Driving and Transportation: If you plan to drive, be aware that traffic conditions can be vastly different from Australia. While women are now allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, many still opt to use drivers or rely on ride-hailing apps.
  10. Stay Connected: While the cultural shift might be significant, remember that in today’s digital age, staying connected to loved ones back in Australia is easier than ever. Schedule regular video calls, keep up with local news from home, and consider joining expat groups in Saudi Arabia to share experiences and tips.


In conclusion, an Australian moving to Saudi Arabia is undoubtedly a significant transition, but it also offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a rich and diverse culture.

By being respectful, open-minded, and prepared, you can make the most of your expatriate experience in the Kingdom.

Atlas Wealth Management is the leading provider of tax, financial advice and mortgages to Australian expats living in both Saudi Arabia as well as the rest of the Middle East region.

Working from our regional headquarters in Dubai, we’re able to offer local on the ground advice for Australian expats moving the region and helping them make the most of their time, both financially and personally.



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