Saudi Tighten Their Guidelines On Work Permit Documents – SACB Attestation

At the end of December 2019, the Saudi Arabian Consulate in London made unannounced changes to the types of documents they were willing to attest. They've also made changes to the supporting information required to submit your documents to the SACB.

In this article

Previously, only academic certificates had to be verified by the SACB (Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau) before going to the Embassy, and experience letters and training certificates could be stamped directly at the Embassy. This has now changed, making it difficult for many to apply for positions in the Kingdom.

Which documents will the changes affect?

As attestation specialists, we regularly process documents for use in Saudi Arabia. The majority of these are non-academic training qualifications and awards, such as ACCA and NEBOSH to name just a few. The Saudi government however have never issued a list of qualification levels and types which must be verified by the SACB in the first instance, and we have determined which require this stage from years of experience in processing awards.

Any academic qualification, such as a Diploma, Degree or Masters must first go to the SACB via their online service for a verification stamp, before being attested. You can read about these full processes in our blog post here. Non-academic awards, such as vocational training qualifications, do not require this step.

Saudi Arabia will not accept any distance learning or online qualifications for attestation.

Previously, even though an ACCA qualification itself could not be processed, as these are conducted via distance-learning, an ACCA membership could previously be processed in its place. This would also avoid the need for the initial SACB attestation, as it is not classed as an academic qualification.

SACB Attestation Document List
How we previously handled qualification types for Saudi Arabia

Despite this, most employers in Saudi Arabia are happy to accept membership certificates for visa purposes. This is due to the membership only being obtainable once the award has been achieved.

Due to the changes implemented by the Embassy in December 2019, this is no longer possible. The Embassy are now refusing to attest any education awards, experience letters or memberships which have not been previously stamped by the SACB. However, the SACB website states:

“Experience letters, training certificates, membership and fellowship certificates will not be attested”

What does this mean for those applying for jobs in Saudi Arabia?

This has created a attestation grey-area, where both governmental departments have reached a stalemate in how these awards should be handled. These awards and document types are not viewed by the SACB as academic qualifications and therefore verifiable, but the Saudi Embassy are classing them as qualification documents which require verification.

Making it impossible for those wishing to relocate to Saudi Arabia with an experience-based award will naturally deter a lot of talent from the country’s employment market. Experience-based qualifications are becoming more popular and hold a lot of value alongside more traditional qualifications.

What can I do to get around this issue with SACB attestation?

Currently there is no work-around for this issue. We are keeping in close contact with the Saudi authorities and continuing to encourage discussions on how this can be resolved, and as soon as we have an update we will announce this on our blog.

What are the changes to the supporting information required for the SACB?

In order to submit a qualification verification request to the SACB, there are several files you must upload on their online portal in order to access this service. Previously, this included your official job offer or contract issued directly from your employer.

New changes have come into force which require your employer to verify the contract with the Saudi Arabian Chamber of Commerce in Riyadh. Your employer must make a request in writing to the SACB that your qualifications are verified by them. This request will be stamped and attested by the Chamber of Commerce in Saudi Arabia, which must then be e-mailed to you by your employer ready for your application.

“Attestation request letter from the employer in Saudi Arabia, addressed to the Saudi Arabian Cultural Attaché, attested from the chamber of commerce in Saudi Arabia for private sector employers (job offer or contract is not accepted). “
– SACB Website

Can I get help with these processes?

If you have applied for positions in Saudi Arabia and are facing problems having your documents accepted, get in touch. Simply visit our site and request a personalised quotation based on your requirements. You can also give us a call directly on +44 (0) 330 088 1142, send us a message via WhatsApp, use our live chat system, or e-mail us at sales@vitalconsular.com. Our friendly team of specialists are on hand to answer all of your queries.

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Melanie Clarke
Melanie is a Digital Marketer and TEFL Specialist at Vital Consular. Before taking up a Marketing role, she spent 3 years building up a rich knowledge of global legalisation processes on the operations team. When she's not working, Melanie enjoys attending music events and pursuing many creative interests including screen printing and merchandise design.
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