Saudi Arabia has introduced five new categories of premium residencies aimed at attracting exceptional talents, including executives, talents, investors, entrepreneurs, and property owners.

The premium residency allows the holder to grant residency to family members, conduct business activities, and exempts them from the expatriate levy for themselves and their dependents.

It also includes visa-free travel to and from the Kingdom, property ownership, easy transitions between establishments without fees, and the ability to host and invite relatives.

According to the Saudi Arabia Gazette, approximately five years ago, Saudi Arabia introduced the premium residency system with only two categories: a permanent residency costing a total of SR800,000 ($213,000) and another for one year, renewable, at SR100,000 ($26,000).

The five new categories, bringing the total to seven: special talent, gifted, investor, entrepreneur, and real estate owner, in addition to the previous two categories (limited duration and unlimited duration).

This introduction of new categories aligns with Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 goals, aiming to attract the required talents to accelerate economic growth.

Saudi Arabia has seen a consistent increase in direct foreign investment over the past six years, taking it from SR27bn in 2017 to SR122bn last year.

This program is expected to further boost the goal of increasing the contribution of foreign direct investment to the GDP from 3.8% to 5.7%.

For the special talent residency, there are two pathways: one for health and scientific talents and researchers, and another for executives, each with specific salary and experience requirements.

For the gifted residency, candidates must either be nominated for or win specified exceptional awards, or meet minimum eligibility criteria set by the ministries of Sports or Culture, along with financial solvency requirements.

For the investor residency, criteria include issuing investment licenses, presenting a commercial register and founding contract, and a minimum investment of SR7m in economic activities in Saudi Arabia.

Entrepreneur residency is divided into two categories, each with its investment and ownership requirements, and recommendations from the investing entity.

Real estate owner residency requires ownership or benefit from real estate assets worth at least SR4m in Saudi Arabia, along with other criteria.

The limited duration residency requires minimum financial solvency with an annual fee of SR100,000, while the unlimited duration residency requires a one-time payment of SR800,000.

General application requirements for all categories include a valid passport, passing a medical examination, regular residency (for residents in the Kingdom), and a one-time fee of SR4,000, except for the limited duration and unlimited duration residencies.