Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. How and when do I get paid?
A. Each employee will complete a daily time sheet, recording regular work hours, sick leave, vacation and/or overtime. Time sheets will be submitted routinely with employees being paid on a monthly basis to an account or accounts of the employee's choice.

2. I don’t like to carry a lot of cash—are ATMs available?
A. Yes, ATMs are common and located along main roads and in shopping establishments. As in the US, not every machine will accept your card, but many are linked to popular networks from the US.

3. How do I take time off?
A. The employee can request vacation time through the management chain using a Travel Request Authorization (TRA) form. TRA’s will be submitted by the employee for all travel outside the Kingdom. The weekend days in Saudi Arabia are Thursday and Friday of each week. Services for exit and re-entry visas for leaving and returning to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be available.

4. How do I get to and from work?
A. The company will provide transportation, using mostly American-made vehicles.

5. What is the typical work day like?
A. The typical work day will probably be unlike any you have experienced before. The work day will be nine hours, broken by meal and prayer breaks.

6. Will I be able to get my favorite foods, or will I be eating native meals?
A. Just about any kind or style of food is available in the Kingdom, except for prohibited
items like pork or alcohol. Restaurants ranging from Tony Roma’s, Applebee’s (3), Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, Hardees, KFC, Pizza Hut, Dominoes Pizza, Chili’s, Fuddruckers, McDonalds, and Starbucks (over 20), to the finest dining establishments are available. Supermarkets have a wide range of Western-style foods, plus more “exotic” fare from other parts of the world. You should take advantage of any opportunity to participate in a “Kapsa,” a traditional Saudi-style meal.

7. How do I dress for off-duty time?
A: You should wear long trousers and a shirt with sleeves, though shorts are fine for around the compound. Short sleeves are acceptable. T-shirts with obviously Western slogans, images, or flags should not be worn when going off the compound. Clothing that is suggestive or advertises alcohol or other banned items should not be worn. In Muslim culture, men do not wear gold jewelry, particularly necklaces, bracelets and earrings. You should not attract attention to yourself.

8. Is the work compound and housing compound secure?
A: The work compound and living compound will be access controlled by security forces.

9. What is the general security environment in Riyadh?
A: Environments by nature change. Since 2004 incidents involving westerners have been rare. However, you need to be aware that Saudi Arabia remains a dangerous part of the world due to the threat of terrorist attacks against Americans. Street crime is generally not a problem in Saudi Arabia. However, private Saudi citizens who perceive that a foreigner is not observing conservative standard of conduct may harass, pursue, or assault that person. Northrop Grumman Aviation Arabia (NGAA) closely monitors U.S. Department of State security warnings.

10. What are the conservative standards of conduct?
A: Islam pervades all aspects of life in Saudi Arabia and is the official religion of the country. Public display of non-Islamic religious articles such as crosses and Bibles is not permitted. The norms for public behavior in Saudi Arabia are very conservative. Religious police, known as Mutawwa, are charged with enforcing standards. Mutawwa are required to carry special identification and usually are accompanied by uniformed police. To ensure that conservative standards of conduct are observed, the Saudi religious police have confronted or arrested foreigners, including U.S. citizens, for improper dress or other alleged infractions, such as consumption of alcohol or association by a female with a male to whom she is not related. Cultural awareness training is provided during in-processing. Prayer call is conducted 5 times per day in accordance with published prayer schedules. During 20-30 minute prayer calls, shopping facilities, restaurants and related businesses are closed.

11. Is it safe to drive in Saudi Arabia?
A: You will encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. During your in-processing you will be presented a driver orientation briefing on the driving here. Driving in Saudi Arabia can be a stressful endeavor. Traffic accidents are a significant hazard in Saudi Arabia. Driving habits are generally poor. Driving in Saudi Arabia is much more of an adventurous undertaking than in the United States since Saudis drive considerably faster and more unpredictably than American drivers. One must learn to drive and make more effort to judge the intentions of other drivers and pedestrians.

12. Am I allowed to leave the residence compound and visit the city or must I remain on the compound at all times?
A: Persons are free to visit areas near their places of work. Many go golfing, hiking and horse riding for example.

13. Is it possible to have guests visit me where I will be living?
A: Yes. Housing compounds have set procedures for visitation of guests that must be followed in order to maintain compound security.

14. How many times will I be authorized to travel to the U.S.?
A: There is no restriction on the number of times an employee may travel to the U.S. Travel to the U.S. and other destinations is requested by the employee on a TRA and is generally approved provided the employee has vacation days available.


Around Saudi Arabia

Supermarket Fisalia Tower
Street scene
Images from around Saudi Arabia include a supermarket (top left), a typical street scene (bottom left) and the Fisalia Tower (right).